Quick Takes: The GOP Senate’s ‘Flood-Up’ Tax Cut Bill

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* As I write, the Senate is debating the Republican tax cut bill. By now you may have seen lots of graphs about how its benefits are distributed. But I like this one from the Economic Policy Institute because it adds a representation of the number of Americans who will benefit.

“Trickle-down” is a lie. This is all about “flood-up.”

* Even using the voodoo economics of dynamic scoring, this bill is a budget-busting nightmare.

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said Wednesday afternoon that the Senate tax bill would add $1 trillion to federal budget deficits over the next decade, even after accounting for additional economic growth, a major blow to Republicans’ contention that the $1.5 trillion tax cuts in the bill will pay for themselves through growth. […]

The committee said economic growth generated by the tax cut will offset losses by about $458 billion over the next decade. Over that same period, an additional $51 billion will be needed to pay interest on the additional debt the government will borrow to pay for the tax cuts.

“Overall, the budgetary effects of changes in economic growth are projected to reduce the deficit by $407 billion during the budget window,” the committee said.

* This non-answer from AG Sessions is deeply troubling.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee expressed concern Thursday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to answer whether President Trump ever asked him to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election.

“I asked the attorney general whether he was ever instructed by the president to take any action that he believed would hinder the Russia investigation and he declined to answer the question,” Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters after the closed-door meeting concluded.

“If the president did not instruct him to take any action that he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, he should say so. If the president did instruct him to hinder the investigation in any way, in my view, that would be a potentially criminal act and certainly not covered by any privilege,” the California lawmaker continued.

* There are obviously some monuments that Trump wants to destroy.

President Trump plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument nearly by half, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post that show the Utah sites would be cut even more than administration officials previously signaled…

Trump will announce the changes to monuments established by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, respectively, at the Utah Capitol before a crowd of supporters. The move will represent the most significant reductions by any president to designations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president unilateral authority to protect imperiled sites on federal lands and in federal waters.

* Do you suppose this is what Trump means when he talks about making America great again?

Though it seemed that Trump’s populist, anti-trade campaign and his surprising election victory heralded the beginning of a new protectionist era, companies have continued to lay off workers for trade-related reasons at roughly the same pace as in the previous five years.

More than 93,000 jobs have been eliminated due to foreign competition since Trump’s election, according to Labor Department data analyzed by Good Jobs Nation, a union-backed labor advocacy group. The previous five years saw an average of 87,500 jobs lost due to trade.

* On the news about rumored cabinet level changes, Josh Marshall weighed in with this:

If the ‘Tillerson swapped out for Pompeo and then Pompeo replaced by Tom Cotton‘ shakeup actually happens, it will be amazing the degree to which Trump’s core campaign message – disengagement from aggressive, regime change-oriented policies in the Middle East – turned out to be unmitigated bullshit…

What it all boils down to is that racism – white racial grievance, immigration restriction, generalized bashing of basically any political or cultural assertion by African-Americans – is the only consistent and persistent line connecting the campaign to the presidency. This is not quite the same as saying that that’s the only real bottom line for his supporters – though there’s a lot of truth to that. But for Trump, that’s clearly the only thing that isn’t opportunistic and situational. Those all fall away. The only thing that doesn’t is the ethno-nationalism and racism. It’s the real him.

* Finally, here’s another cover from the dynamic duo of the Isely Brothers and Santana that captures my mood today.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.