Republicans have taken a universally accepted need for tax reform (simpler, fairer) and used it to rally the country around their plans for tax cuts. Every proposed tax reform over the past seven years (I count five) has aimed to “broaden the base. Lower the rates. Be revenue neutral.”
The new Republican principle is “Broaden the base. Lower the rates. Increase our deficits.”
Defenders of large unpaid-for tax cuts argue that we cannot bring down the deficit without higher growth. Tax cuts, however, have never generated enough growth to pay for themselves.
After President Reagan cut income taxes, he later raised other taxes in response to rising deficits. His successor, George H.W. Bush, did the same. The ratio of debt to GDP (currently 77 percent) is now more than twice what it was in 1981.
Meanwhile, taxes collected as a percentage of GDP are lower today than in 1981 (17.3 percent vs. 19.1 percent). The party that shut down the government in 2011 by refusing to raise the debt ceiling now no longer believes deficits matter.
Republicans want to greatly increase defense and infrastructure spending while our country is also dealing with several natural disasters. And their plan is to lower revenues? We all want and deserve a simpler, fairer tax code. However, the Republican plan is a very, big roll of the dice.
Darrel Miller, Danvers