01/12/2018

The Budget Betrayal That Would Destroy The 2018 Legislative Agenda

Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review

Believe it or not, GOP leaders don’t enjoy being in control of Congress. Although they like the increased power and pay-for-play inherent in being the majority party, they have a maniacal fear of responsibility on policy issues. That is because, unlike Democrats, GOP leaders don’t really believe in their campaign promises and are too scared to implement them. Which is why they always hide behind the filibuster as a reason for not fulfilling promises. And that is exactly why Mitch McConnell is now plotting to neutralize the one tool they have to pass good legislation with 51 votes.

The only good thing Congress has done the entire first year of Trump’s presidency is pass the tax bill. One would think that after seeing booming economic news, including Walmart raising wages, as a result of the tax cut, they would seek to expand, not eliminate, the process that afforded them such an auspicious outcome and the ability to circumvent the filibuster. Instead, they are considering doing away with the FY 2018 budget resolution altogether, which would have the effect of scrapping budget reconciliation for this year — the only tool in their arsenal to pass a solid health care reform, a welfare fix, or spending cuts.

Yesterday, Politico reported that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are considering abandoning a formal budget resolution this year, a move that was roundly criticized by Republicans when Democrats were in charge in 2009 and abdicated their responsibility to pass a budget. The entire point of working off a continuing resolution from the FY 2017 since last October was to take the ensuing weeks to craft a full-year budget that reflects Republican policy priorities, includes GOP spending priorities, and offers the vehicle of budget reconciliation to pass a major policy reform this year without the filibusters.

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Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

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