January 31, 2016

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Tax Cuts Don’t Motivate The Republican Base Anymore.

Yesterday, in discussing the lower- and middle-class workers who have been increasingly displaced by automation and trade, I wrote that both parties are simply reiterating longstanding policy preferences that are far more geared to the desires of their respective elites, than to the difficulties these people encounter in their every day lives. In another column soon, I’ll talk about why the standard Democratic economic package is not making more inroads with this group. But today, I’m going to talk about why what the Republicans have been offering — tax cuts and deregulation — falls so flat.

I’ve been urging Republicans to find an agenda beyond tax cuts for a while, with no notable success. Mostly I’ve focused on the budget logic, which is simply this: we’ve run out of our ability to cut taxes without substantial cuts to entitlements, and the collapse of Bush’s Social Security reform illustrated that Republicans have absolutely no stomach for cutting entitlements.

But that’s boring fiscal nannying, easy for both parties to ignore as long as debt markets are still willing to lend the government money. So today let me point out why the political logic fails as completely as the budget math — why the Trump voters, and indeed, Trump-hating social conservatives like Rod Dreher, are not much moved by Republican promises to get those marginal tax rates down even further.

To do so, I want to go back to a time when tax cuts did work politically, a period which starts with Ronald Reagan.

I’d still like my taxes cut, but I don’t think I’m part of the demographic she’s describing.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.