The House Republican budget is based on a flawed ideology and the discredited idea of trickle down economics, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said Tuesday. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled the GOP’s budget this morning, revealing that, like last year, it targets steep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and includes more than $3 trillion in tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
Ryan claims the budget will be revenue neutral and put a significant dent in the nation’s deficit, but Van Hollen dismissed it as an unserious plan that doesn’t come close to getting Democrats to the table for compromise. Republicans, Van Hollen said, are hamstrung by their loyalty to anti-tax activist Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge and their belief in the discredited theory of trickle down economics:
VAN HOLLEN: This is a totally ideological budget. You have to remember that 98 percent of Republicans in the House have signed this pledge to Grover Norquist that says they will not support closing one tax loophole, not one penny from closing one tax loophole, for the purpose of deficit reduction. Well if you’re not going to take one penny from getting rid of oil and gas subsidies or closing tax loopholes for deficit reduction, by definition, you’re not going to take a balanced approach, you’re not looking at both sides of the budget equation.
So, I think it is based on ideology, and again, the underlying ideology here is this discredited theory of trickle down economics, the notion that by providing these windfall tax breaks for the wealthiest in this country, somehow that will just trickle down and lift the middle class. The reality is the only people it’s lifting up is the yachts, not the regular boats that are out there.
Ryan and his colleagues continue to cling to the belief that providing enormous tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations will spur economic growth, and this plan is no different. That belief, however, ignores reality. Providing a huge tax break to the wealthy in the form of the Bush tax cuts did nothing to spur economic growth or job creation, and as Center for American Progress economist Adam Hersh noted today, the GOP’s massive tax cuts for businesses under both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush failed to boost business investment.
And yet, the GOP is back with another budget that cuts vital safety net programs for the middle class and the poor to pay for massive tax cuts for the rich, and yet again, the party claims such policies will boost job growth and speed the economic recovery. The reality, however, is that the Republican Party’s trickle-down policies don’t work and never have.