With the 2016 election less than 90 days away, it’s important to focus on factual issues rather than personal attacks. This is something that Donald Trump (or his supporters) do not seem to understand. Unsavory as Trump may be, the truth is that his unfitness for the White House is about more than just his snide mouth. Consider his economic ‘policies’ and those whom he would work with if elected to the highest office in the United States.
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is aware that Trump’s ideas are refuted by actual history. On August 12th, a revised analysis of Trump’s would-be economic policy focused on the tax cuts created in part by advisers Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffner, both of whom were instrumental in the development of policies used in the state of Kansas, which is now on the brink of bankruptcy. Author Michael Mazarov, who worked with Laffner to develop the plan, now states that “our goal, and one shared by Brownback, is to make Kansas the 10th state without an income tax.” While this appears to be a noble goal, the result was anything but impressive. Mazarov admits that “Private sector employment in Kansas has risen 3.5 percent, compared to 7.6 percent nationally…the state’s economy has grown less than half as fast as the national economy…Kansas’ share of newly opened business establishments in the United States has actually declined slightly rather than increased.” In addition, he notes that personal revenue has fallen, that the government may not have the funds needed to implement social programs, and that “Kansas’ bond rating has been downgraded twice — in 2014, and most recently on July 26, 2016.”
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is not the only website noting Kansas’ economic decline. Politicus.usa, which describes itself as a “corporate free political news and analysis”, contends that the state does not have the money to stave off bankruptcy within the next two years. This entity focuses on the work of Stephen Moore, Trump’s other adviser, claiming that “Moore was caught red-handed deliberately using incorrect statistics to convince readers that Brownback’s tax cuts create jobs… the editorial board of The Kansas City Star caught Moore’s lies and published annotated corrections to his false assertions.”
Louisiana’s experiences are also relevant here. Last March, the Washington Post reported that the state faced a “budget shortfall” of massive proportions: “Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion — almost $650 per person — just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months.” The cause? Former governor Jindal’s tax breaks and business subsidies. Designed to bring in corporations and support “trickle-down” spending, these policies combined with a drop in fossil fuel prices to nearly bankrupt the state. Jindal’s impetus? He didn’t want to raise taxes before he ran for the presidency, thereby alienating Republican voters who believe in the absurd “trickle-down” theory. As the coffers here and in Kansas show, this economic proposition should be considered thoroughly discredited.
There is an old joke about a third marriage being the triumph of hope over experience. Claiming that “Anything less creates a disincentive for a strong national work ethic”, Trump, who has actually been married three times, would like to follow in the footsteps of governors Brownback and Jindal in using trickle-down theory to structure the tax code. OnTheIssues.org further quotes Donald Trump as wanting to cut taxes to the tune of 10 trillion dollars. That’s right. In addition, Trump wants to delete estate taxes, carried interest, death taxes, and corporate taxes.
Without tax money to run the government, how does Trump intend to do so? Well, apparently there are areas that can be similarly slashed. In a 2015 interview with “Meet the Press”, Trump conversed with Mike Todd:
Q: Are you going to get rid of entire departments?
TRUMP: I would get rid of some. For example, the Department of Education. I would certainly get rid of a lot of it. I want local education. We could save a fortune with Environmental Protection–
Q: What is another agency you’d get rid of?
TRUMP: Even in the military, I’m going to build a military that’s much stronger than it is right now. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less.
Q: So you believe you can spend less money on defense than we do today?
TRUMP: I think we can make our defense much stronger and spend somewhat less money.
How will Trump do this? One can try to find out by going to the “Donald J Trump for President” site. Interestingly enough, however, there is no way to enter the site without joining the mailing list. After doing so, one is then prompted for a donation. Again, there is no way to enter the site without giving money. This is an interesting comment on both Trump’s plans for the economy. But hey – it’s not taxation without representation, since one doesn’t have to give money if one isn’t interested in finding information. Apparently, a well-informed populace isn’t necessary in Donald J. Trump’s America.
Trump’s willingness to depend on discredited ideas isn’t really news, as is shown by his support from the Ku Klux Klan. Another old joke comes to mind here, this one about the press: “if it bleeds, it leads.” Trump has based his entire campaign on his version of the bon mot, the sound bite, and the ability to rouse the masses with Hitler’s favorite technique, the Big Lie (didn’t Obama and Clinton create ISIS?) When Brainyquote cites him as saying “People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me,” it’s obvious that no proof is needed, all disavowals to the contrary. Information and planning, to Trump, are unnecessary; the lessons of history are not important. In less than ninety days, the world will find out if this country agrees.