By Bruce Lachney

What is it about economics that seems to be linked to dementia? For years republicans have been lambasting the previous administration about running up the nation debt, yet, as soon as an election cycle is over and conservatives own congress deficits are a wonderful thing.

Today, tax cuts are being disguised as tax reform. Beyond the deception is the fact that any tax cut is really deficit spending…that is…we are printing money to pay for the tax cut. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores it at 1.7 Trillion (yes, that's Trillion with a capital T) dollars. And what about the argument that, through Dynamic Scoring, economic growth will cover the tax cut. It's non-sense. Both the CBO and every creditable economist realizes House and Senate numbers are fake; smoke and mirrors to fudge the books.

It is a profligate cycle. Beyond the wastefulness is the ever increasing capacity for delusion, that somehow we can make the numbers fit because they are our numbers…not the other guys. This leads to incredulity among the population. Numbers fronted by an independent and non-partisan organization like the Congressional Budget Office become fodder for the president and congress that attack the math…not because the math isn't true but because it's not our math!

What ever happened to the balanced budget discussion? It is in vogue only when a party is not in power; a convenient ruse to excite a base.

The Tea Party, formed in 2009, set the tone for reduction of government spending; that reckless government spending was dangerous to long term democratic sustainability. This message was high jacked, contorted and absorbed into the republican establishment to be a proxy for other party priorities: antipathy to inequity claims, angst about illegal immigration and yes, tax cuts (not tax reform.)

The real problem here is that sound economic theory is being ignored for one party's political agenda. The present tax cut is “wish list,” politics. The economist magazine calls it, “boardroom capitalism.” This approach to economic thinking is based on the idea that all economics is, and government for that matter, is a mindset that everything is a deal; a series of shrewd, cagey and elusive tactics to grab more than the other guy. Unfortunately, the byproduct of this conviction is a ruinous path of collateral damage of those unlucky enough not to be in the inner circle of dealmakers…which includes just about everyone outside of Wall Street or the belt way. It is the predator-prey theory of economic gaming; ignoring sound economic models for proxy agendas and good-old boy good deals.

I have little in common with the Tea Party fold, as most have been absorbed into the collective; using the guise of economics to adjust society to their social perception. However, I do understand the dangers of international equity flight and GDP debt to equity ratio distortions. It is time we start talking again about severe deficit spending, how a catastrophic tax cut could exacerbate the issue, and how economic dementia percolates up when it becomes convenient.

 

Bruce Lachney is an Eatonville-area resident and farmer.