December 13, 2018

The Tax Cuts Were a Failure... In Most Ways

“A tax cut has a big first-order effect: the people whose taxes are reduced have more money, and the government has less. Since both of these — more inequality and higher deficits — are generally regarded as bad things, Republicans habitually dismiss them, and instead focus on second-order effects they predict will happen. The supply-side economic theory favored by most Republicans holds that rich people are exquisitely sensitive to tax rates, and their willingness to work or invest rises and falls dramatically in response even to small changes in tax rates.

This is why Republicans predicted upper-bracket tax hikes, like those passed under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, would massively depress economic activity and raise less revenue than standard forecasts predicted. (It didn’t.) It is also why they predicted tax cuts passed by George W. Bush, and Republican governments in states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana would yield far more revenue than predicted. (It didn’t.) They maintained the same belief about President Trump’s corporate tax cuts. The conviction is so strong that even the most moderate Republicans insist higher growth would cause revenue to rise rather than fall is response to the tax cuts.

In the ten months that have passed since Trump signed the tax cuts into law, the second-order effects have been undetectable. Nothing bad has happened to the economy; on the other hand, nothing especially good has happened, either. Growth and wages have tracked at about the same pace as before Trump took office. Republicans built a messaging campaign around one quarter of 4 percent growth, which they treated as unprecedented and now permanent development, ignoring the fact that the economy produced several such quarters under the Obama administration.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."

" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."

"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."

A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.

"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."

"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"

"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"

Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."

"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."

"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."

"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."

"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."