Republican hopeful Donald Trump boasts about the sweeping changes he’ll usher into government’s status quo, but his policies tell a far different story. The economic plan unveiled by Trump during a major speech in Michigan on Monday recycles a repeatedly disproven tax plan that lavishes huge tax cuts on the rich under the premise that the wealth will trickle down to the working class and poor and stimulate the economy.
It’s a carbon copy of the tax plan former Reagan budget director David Stockman once described as a Trojan Horse, sold to average voters as a boon while the real benefits accrue to the top one percent.
These same tax policies have already contributed significantly to the growing chasm in our nation’s wealth and income distribution. And they have failed time and again to ignite the economic growth that trickle-down supporters tout. We’ve seen this both nationally and here in the Midwest, where states like Wisconsin and Kansas, which have implemented similar tax policies, have watched revenues fall, budget deficits rise, and economies slow. By contrast, states like Minnesota and California, which raised taxes on the wealthy, are enjoying flush budgets, more public investment, and some of the fastest economic growth in the country.
Doubling down on trickle down, as Trump proposes for the country, will do nothing to lift the economy, but only provide a windfall for those at the very top. His proposal to eliminate the estate tax would help only the top 0.2 percent of taxpayers, since the first $5.45 million of estates can currently be transferred to heirs tax free. Yet Trump says his estate tax plan will help average working stiffs. What nonsense. This is a man who will, literally, say anything.
And as with everything else the man utters, Trump’s numbers don’t add up. In his Michigan speech this week, Trump called simultaneously for huge tax cuts and a major federal spending initiative to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The country needs more investment in infrastructure to be sure. We don’t dispute that part of Trump’s plan. But we already know the effect of tax cuts combined with increased government spending: skyrocketing deficits.
And yet Trump has the gall to attack President Obama for exploding the nation’s debt, when our current president has done more to reduce the size of the federal deficit than any president in history. While that may not jive with Republican talking points, those over-used GOP arguments don’t jive with reality. In fact, President Obama came into office with a $1.4 trillion deficit and has managed to cut that by two-thirds during his term.
Trump’s policies would reverse that trend and send deficits back through the roof. That’s not a prediction. As history demonstrates, it’s a guarantee.
Albert Einstein once said doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result was the definition of insanity. Yet Republicans still cling to their trickle-down tax policy despite overwhelming evidence of repeated failure. Trump is just the latest peddler of this economic snake oil. No matter how he tries to dress up his economic plan as groundbreaking, it’s the same old, tired song and dance.