Opinion: Pence Admits to Trump’s Failing and Fraudulent Economic Policies

In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Trump celebrated the putative success of the economy he claims to have built, doing so in historic terms:  “I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been,” he boasted.

And yet, at the same time, budget deficits and the national debt continue to surge, revealing that Trump’s policies are not designed to fuel an economy for the long haul but rather that currently the U.S. economy is running on a sugar high, showing the potential to crash at any moment.

While the stock market is performing at record levels, the national debt has also surged to record levels, surpassing $23 trillion for the first time in history and promising only to bloat more.  Over the first four months of 2020 fiscal year, the deficit is outpacing last’s year deficit expansion by 25% in the same time frame. Over the past 12 months, the deficit has expanded $1.1 trillion.

Bess Levin, writing for Vanity Fair, gives perspective to the horror of Trump’s sugar-high economy when she writes, “Incredibly, this is all happening against the backdrop of the longest economic expansion on record and the lowest jobless rate in 50 years, conditions that typically cause the budget deficit to shrink.”

Trump promised, of course, that the enormously generous tax cuts he bestowed on corporate America and the wealthiest Americans would spur a growth that would cover the cost of tax cuts and more, spreading prosperity to all Americans. (Of course, let’s not forget he campaigned on the promise he would, in fact, eliminate the debt entirely, which at the time stood at approximately $19 trillion.)

Yet while the GDP grew 2.9% in 2018, growth slowed to 2.3% in 2019 as the debt and deficit swelled to historic proportions.

Days after Trump’s State of the Union peacocking, Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump’s deficit expansion in an interview with CNBC.

Here are a few of his responses which not only recycle the stale—because failed—narratives of trickle-down economics and of tax cuts paying for themselves, but also grossly distort history, falsely claimly Trump inherited an economy in decay, as opposed to one of the most steadily expanding economies in history the Obama administration engineered. Pence prevaricated as follows:

“The president came into office and he said, ‘First and foremost, we have to restore growth.’”

“Deficits and debt are right in line, but it is first about getting this economy moving again and we really do believe the trajectory of this economy.”

“Once we get this economy rolling, we’re going to work real hard, not just to get President Donald Trump four more years in the White House, but we’re going to make sure we have a Republican Senate and a Republican House to keep America growing and to deal with those long-term fiscal challenges.”

The big lie here, of course, is Pence’s insistence that Obama did not have the economy rolling, that Trump needed to get it moving again.

Politifact reported, for example, having looked at the economic measures Trump invokes, that “the trend lines continued almost seamlessly from the second half of Obama’s presidency into the first three years of Trump’s tenure. Trump’s claim that he turned around a failing economy is wrong.”

Obama ran deficits and increased the debt doing the arduous work of pulling the nation’s economy out of a deep recession. Trump has been over-stimulating an economy that was already healthy, throwing money at the wealthiest while failing to invest in real growth for America, deceiving Americans it will trickle down.

Of course, the World Bank rejected the efficacy of trickle-down economics back in 2015, debunking it as a myth. The International Monetary Fund actually lambasted it as a joke.

Pence’s insistence on recycling this failed myth is basically an admission of Trump’s fraudulent mismanagement of the U.S. economy to the detriment of American lives.

Pence asserted that Trump sees “the real long-term solution to the fiscal challenges in Washington, D.C., is making sure the budget of every American is growing.”

And yet poverty and homelessness are in fact what is growing in America, while Trump seeks to make healthcare less accessible and affordable for the American majority.

And let’s not forget how growing deficits impact Americans’ economic well-being.

The ballooning deficit resulting from the Trump tax-cuts, for example, cultivated a fertile context for Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to loudly renew their insistence that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are necessary to address the out-of-control deficit their own policies immediately exacerbated. Far from benefiting Americans, these tax cuts, which were supposedly to trickle down, just keep cutting Americans and increasing economic precarity, not prosperity.

Trump himself recently confirmed read more

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Kansas' Republican legislators are all but admitting their precious trickle down experiment was not only a failure, it is a scam. In fact, although not quite stating "our only economic policy is a scam to enrich corporations and the wealthy," just admitting they have to raise taxes to plug gaping revenue holes and more recently, that income inequality is a problem in America, is just as good.

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GOP Trickle Down Has 70% of Americans Near Financial Calamity

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GOP’s First Step To Inflict Kansas Economic Woes On America

There is nothing as evil, mean-spirited, and pathetic as a mature adult who sees firsthand that something is inherently dangerous to other human beings and should be prevented at all costs, and yet wishes they could do the same thing.

Last year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, like all Republicans, witnessed the complete economic devastation Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and the Republican legislature wrought on the state budget, schools, government, and social programs and told Brownback that “this is exactly what we want to do here in Washington, but we can’t yet until we control Congress.”

Before even being sworn in just five days ago to control Congress, Republicans took the first major step necessary to repeat, exactly, what Brownback did to Kansas’ economy. Something several high-ranking Kansas Republicans complained will “bankrupt the state in less than two years.” It is also something the proponents of Brownback’s devastation admitted openly was for the sole purpose of “chopping the government down to size” by starving it of revenue. Remember, Mitch McConnell pledged to the Koch brothers last June that if they bought Republicans control of Congress, the GOP would “go after the federal government; all of it.” Anti-government champion Grover Norquist must be cheering wildly and trickle down god Laffer is celebrating that Congressional Republicans are embracing his trickle down scam to decimate America based on his Kansas trickle down model.

Brownback brought Laffer to Kansas to prove to Republicans that by using what is known as “dynamic scoring,” the state could take a healthy budget surplus and add in a billion or so dollars for give the tax cuts for the rich and the state would be awash in revenue and a job creation boom. The results are that Kansas’ credit has been downgraded several times, the state is hemorrhaging revenue, and the state’s schools are broke. In two courts have ruled against Brownback’s education cuts he made to partially fund the tax cuts for the rich. The details of Brownback’s trickle down disaster have been reported here, here, and here for a rough idea of the economic ruin Congressional Republicans are about to wreak on America by using Laffer’s failed “dynamic scoring” to justify trickle down tax cuts for the rich.

Dynamic scoring is a conservative economists’ scam that predicts the magical impact of trickle down fiscal policy changes by forecasting the beneficial economic reactions to incentives for the wealthy created by slashing their taxes and domestic programs. Before this week, when the Congressional Budget Office published a piece of tax or spending cuts “score,” it offered an official price tag to make it perfectly clear what a tax cutting or spending proposal will cost, how much it will affect the deficit or cost the government, how much it will reduce revenue, and how it adversely affects unemployment. Any American with a memory could tell the CBO exactly what trickle down tax cuts do to increase the deficit, adversely affect the economy, or failed to create jobs for thirty years, but that entails acknowledging reality; something Republicans are ill-inclined to accept.

Republicans, particularly math-challenged Paul Ryan, absolutely hated the way the CBO has calculated its scores on tax cuts for the rich using real data and real mathematics. Likely because, until this week, all non-partisan economists disagree with Republicans’ magic and lies that trickle down tax cuts for the rich create millions of jobs and increase government revenue. For the past three years the CBO used real mathematics to score Paul Ryan’s outrageous tax cuts in the Path To Prosperity budget as killing jobs and blowing up the deficit due to the loss in revenue inherent in Bush-like unfunded tax cuts. According to the CBO and real economists, Ryan’s math in projecting that slashing taxes for the so-called “job creators” was off-the rails errant, a guaranteed recipe for economic disaster, and an unsustainable deficit driver now and long into the future.

So Republicans being Republicans, they changed the Congressional Budget Office rules to fit their magical concept that slashing revenue streams with unfunded tax cuts for the rich will automatically produce more federal revenue and create millions of jobs. Something that has not happened in 30-plus years of trickle down “magic.”

Republicans insist, and passed a new rule on the day they were sworn in directing the CBO to verify, that epic tax cuts for the wealthy will produce incredible trickle down economic growth, create millions of jobs, generate mountains of federal revenue, and will not cost anything; ten years of Bush tax cuts for the rich belie the “trickle down” magic. What makes the Republican directive that the CBO use faulty dynamic scoring to approve tax cuts for the rich more despicable is a provision banning the CBO from scoring anything proposed by Democrats; particularly any measure remotely related to “economic stimulus such as infrastructure improvements that really create jobs and increase revenue.”

America is finally done clawing its way out of the economic morass caused by “trickle down” tax cuts enacted by Bush-Republicans and is on the road to a healthy recovery; with an increase in taxes for the richest Americans. The country is enjoying a four-plus year monthly job growth, increased revenue is paying down the debt and deficit, and GDP growth is leading the entire world. In fact, a similar situation is under way in California where voters approved a small tax increase and the state is rapidly paying down a crushing Republican-created deficit, creating jobs, and investing in infrastructure, healthcare, and education. Contrast California or the nation’s economy with Kansas that embraced magical “trickle down” tax cuts due to Laffer’s ‘dynamic scoring’ scam and it is beyond comprehension that Republicans intend on following through with what Mitch McConnell promised economic failure Sam Brownback even as Kansas’ economy was dying; “we want to do exactly the same thing here in Washington.”

The only hope for America’s economic salvation is Barack Obama who may not be a noted economist, or a mathematical genius, but he has witnessed 30 years of trickle down failure including the devastation in Kansas and he has shown no reluctance to use his veto pen. If any American is too stupid to understand that trickle down economics is failed economics, they can simply look at what economic havoc Brownback and Laffer have wrought on Kansas. Then they can anticipate the Koch brothers’ vision for a nation too broke to fund education, retirement accounts, homeless shelters, healthcare, road repair, or maintain crucial infrastructure because that is, as McConnell said, “exactly what  Republicans will do in Washington;” go after the federal government, all of it.