Friday, December 1, 2017

Something Rotten

Paul Krugman on the GOP tax bill:

…this whole process involves a level of bad faith we haven’t seen in U.S. politics since the days when defenders of slavery physically assaulted their political foes on the Senate floor.

There are two further things worth pointing out about this moral rot.

First, it is not, at a fundamental level, a story about Donald Trump, bad as he is: The rot pervades the whole Republican Party. Some details of the legislation do look custom-designed to benefit the Trump family, but both the broad outlines and the fraudulence of the sales effort would have been pretty much the same under any Republican president.

Second, the rot is wide as well as deep.

I’m not just talking about Republican politicians, although the tax debate should dispel any remaining illusions about their motives: Just about every G.O.P. member of Congress, including the sainted John McCain, is willing to put partisan loyalty above principle, voting for what they have to know is terrible and irresponsible legislation. The point, however, is that the epidemic of bad faith extends well beyond elected or appointed officials.

It was remarkable, for example, to see a group of Republican-leaning economists with serious professional credentials put out an open letter clearly intended to lend aid and comfort to Mnuchinesque promises of miraculous growth. True, they didn’t explicitly claim that tax cuts would pay for themselves. But they didn’t clearly state that they wouldn’t, either, leaving Mnuchin free to claim — as they have to have known he would — that the letter vindicated his position.

The Republicans are so desperate to pass something — anything — that they will ram this through without knowing what’s in it.  And in its present form, the deficit will hit $1 trillion by 2026.  There’s a last-minute rush to try to prevent that from happening, but dollars to donuts, the bill will remain in roughly its present form and screw over the people who voted these jokers into office.

But what do they care?  By the time the shit hits the fan they will either be dead or lobbying — same thing — and the fundamental damage will be done, all for the sake of having something to brag about on Fox and Friends.