Trump’s tax proposal is easy to understand as long as you separate the facts from the promotional advertising.

The facts:

– The tax plan transfers several trillion dollars from the federal government to the richest Americans.

– Since there is no serious attempt to close tax loopholes or raise revenue, this is a massive exercise in deficit creation.

The advertising:

– This is a stimulus package to create jobs and bring prosperity.  In particular, this is going to bring back the good old days to Trump’s core supporters.

This statement is asserted without proof, because in fact it has no historical validity.   Upper-income tax cuts are not effective stimulants, and the money gets pocketed.  For Trump supporters this is even more problematical, because–as many have pointed out–the good jobs they lost are not coming back.  (Nonetheless, successful retraining programs for Appalachia are targeted for cuts in Trump’s budget.)

– The tax cuts will not cause a deficit, because economic growth will generate additional tax revenue.

This too is asserted without any quantitative justification, because there isn’t any–the math just doesn’t work.  The growth rates to make that happen aren’t even close to real. The shortfall will be real and will starve government’s ability to deliver services.

It also needs to be mentioned that this deficit is occurring at exactly the wrong point in the business cycle.  Governments need to run deficits when the economy is collapsing (as when Obama took over), so as to stop the vicious cycle of loss of demand causing loss of jobs causing even more loss of demand.   The economy now is in generally good shape, working toward statistically full employment.  Deficits now are inflationary, leading to speculation, higher interest rates, and the possibility of another bubble and crash.


So this isn’t really a stimulus package at all–it’s just a tax cut for the rich and a convenient excuse.  Or to put it a little differently, it’s a payback to the donors who realized that in the age of Citizens United, it is cheaper to buy the Republican party than to pay taxes.

Trump himself may very well believe what he is saying, but he has shown remarkable ability believe that anything good for Donald Trump is by definition the salvation of the USA.

Our So-Called Press

There is one subject on which Trump is quite right.   His response to any protest is always “That was an issue for the election.   If you didn’t like it you had your chance.”

If we had a real press in this country, they would recognize the irony of it.   In the two weeks leading up to the election none of the real issues faced by the country were covered.   The only thing in the news was the nonsense about Hillary Clinton’s emails–a joke compared to the daily behavior of Trump’s administration.

Everything Trump has done was known but ignored.   With no coverage, voters assumed he wasn’t serious, even his deliberate hiding of tax returns was somehow not serious.  And on the subject of Hillary Clinton’s emails they all missed the big story—the FBI was deliberately throwing the election, and no one even whimpered.

After the election, when the big push to create a horserace was done, some of the press has developed a conscience.    But as Trump has aptly pointed out, it’s too late.

This election has exposed the emptiness of a lot of our mythology.  One obvious example is the “checks and balances” in government that are supposed to protect against tyranny.  However, the scariest of all is the hollowness of our “independent free press”.  The only press we have is an ongoing form of entertainment called “news.”  Nothing other than ratings governs its content.

This election was a referendum on democracy; that much was always clear.   The alt-right was there from the beginning.  The FBI was committing electoral fraud.  But none of that was important enough to make the news when it mattered.