Already convinced that Senator John Thune’s tax talk is bunk is Rapid City businessman and Republican blogger John Tsitrian. He sees through the temporary tricks that send working-class class taxes back up in a few years. Tsitrian also sees no proof of Thune’s promises that his Trumpy tax cuts will create jobs or that we need to dig ourselves deeper into debt to stimulate the labor market:
As to the Senator’s promise that the bill will create “2700 new full time jobs for South Dakota workers,” I’d like to know what the heck he’s talking about. We have more jobs than workers as it is. As an employer in this state who is in full contact with the situation every day, I know that we have a serious labor shortage in South Dakota. Our dairy industry is seeking workers from Puerto Rico, and our persistent problem with a shortage of construction workers is an ongoing challenge. And don’t even tell me about the situation on my home turf, the tourism industry. Tax cut or no tax cut, how does South Dakota create jobs when we can’t fill the ones we have? More to the specific point, though, Thune’s contention about job growth is pie-in-the-sky. Job growth was weak after George W. Bush’s national tax cuts. Same goes for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s in his state during the past few years. I have yet to see a connection between business tax cuts and job creation, at least during economic expansions like the one we’re in now. I challenge Thune and his supporters to find some evidence backing up that claim [John Tsitrian, “South Dakota Senator John Thune’s Bait-and-Switch on Tax Cuts,” The Constant Commoner, 2017.11.18].
The national unemployment rate is 4.1%, lower than it has been for most of the last 50 years. Unemployment in South Dakota in September was 3.1%, with some 13,900 South Dakotans actively looking for work. How many of those South Dakota job-seekers do you think Donald Trump and his family will hire with the millions they’ll save?
As usual, Tsitrian’s links are instructive. Among those links, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities points out that jobs grew faster after Clinton and Obama tax increases than after Bush II’s 2001 tax cuts. CBPP notes that tax cuts for corporations and the rich—and such top-end cuts are the thrust of the plan Thune is touting—do not trickle down.
Tsitrian is one of the majority of Americans whom Thune and his party are failing to convince on tax reform. Conservative David Frum, who wants to cut corporate rates while tightening collections, says Republicans are losing the tax reform battle because, instead of patiently and openly crafting good law and consensus, they are rushing like corporate raiders:
…what is heading toward [the White House] is not the kind of reform that can command broad political support, and thus stand the test of possible electoral defeat in 2018 and 2020. It’s a scandalous expression of upper-class and Sunbelt chauvinism that will melt away within weeks of the next Democratic electoral success. Even if it becomes law, as still seems improbable in the face of the plan’s terrible poll numbers, what firm would venture a long-term investment based on tax changes so likely unsustainable?
Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s old rule of thumb for bills before the Senate—“They pass 70-30, or they fail”—no longer applies. Seventy-vote majorities no longer exist in this hyperpartisan era. The Affordable Care Act passed with only 60 votes. But the spirit of the rule lingers. By refusing to hold hearings and forestalling Congressional Budget Office scoring, Republicans have moved fast. But they have not convinced the public mind, to recycle an antique but still meaningful phrase. They may win a vote. They have not won the argument. What they are doing will not last, and will therefore not deliver any of the promised benefits. It’s the equivalent of a 1980s-style corporate raid, that will yield a hasty and morally dubious windfall for a few insiders while damaging the longer-term economic health of the larger enterprise [David Frum, “Republicans Are Throwing Away Their Shot at Tax Reform,” The Atlantic, 2017.11.20].
Come back to your senses, Senator Thune. Ditch your rudderless President and get back to the empirical evidence and sensible policy that people in your own party, like John Tsitrian, should be preaching.