The Republican Plan On Taxes Is to Declare That the Deficit Is Whatever They Say It Is

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Republicans are getting ready to pass a humongous $1.5 trillion tax cut. But Senate rules require tax bills to either pass with 60 votes or else be deficit neutral. Obviously Republicans aren’t going to get any Democratic votes for cutting taxes on the rich, so that means they need to avoid increasing the deficit. But if you cut $1.5 trillion in revenue, how is that possible? Easy peasy:

There is a growing willingness within the GOP to embrace controversial, optimistic estimates of how much economic growth their tax plan would create. Those upbeat estimates, often rejected by nonpartisan economists, would supplant the traditional forecasts offered by official scorekeepers at the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, helping lawmakers argue that the plan would not increase the national debt.

Why bother? Even the most optimistic supply-sider couldn’t come up with a way of making a $1.5 trillion tax cut literally 100 percent self-funding. The only way to get there is to simply plug the numbers you need into a spreadsheet and declare, “That’s it. That’s our estimate.” If they’re going down this road, that’s what they might as well do.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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