Politics Magazine

Republicans Want A Return To "Voodoo" Math

Posted on the 01 December 2014 by Jobsanger

The incoming Republican majority in Congress is preparing to give number-crunching a controversial twist, and the new math could make it easier for the GOP to cut taxes.
For years, leading GOP lawmakers have wanted to change the way that the nonpartisan congressional staff calculates — or, in Washington parlance, scores — the budgetary cost of changes to the tax code.
Budget scoring now is fairly straightforward: Just figure out how much more money a tax increase would produce for the Treasury or how much a tax cut would cost in lost revenue.
Republicans, however, want two key congressional offices to use complex models to try to predict the broader effect of hikes and cuts on the economy. The process is called dynamic scoring.
The paragraphs above are from an article in the Los Angeles Times, and should scare the hell out of most Americans. The Republicans want to change the way budget math is done in Washington, and they want to do it because they know that real math does not support their economic policies.
This is not the first time they have used their fuzzy math. Back in the 1980's they wanted to institute their "trickle-down" economic policies, but it was obvious to those who could add and subtract that those policies would benefit only the rich, and would hurt all other Americans. So right-wing economists came up with "dynamic scoring", and congressional Republicans ran with it.
They used to to claim that their new policies, which on their face would benefit only the rich, would somehow, through the magic of dynamic scoring math, magically benefit all Americans. George H.W. Bush (Bush I) called it "voodoo economics" at the time (and he was right). But the Republicans convinced enough Americans that their new voodoo math would work, and they were able to put their trickle-down economic policy in place.
Of course, the magic did not happen. While the income of the rich climbed over 700% in the next few decades, the wages of the working and middle classes stagnated (and actually fell when inflation was considered). And George W. Bush (who fell for the voodoo math as easily as Ronald Reagan had) doubled-down on those policies during his administration, and the result was economic disaster -- with trillions being lost in a stock market crash, and tens of millions of jobs disappearing as the nation sank into the most serious recession since the Great Depression.
The Republicans learned nothing from that though. They still want to go even further with their trickle-down voodoo economics. But they have a problem. The budget math is clear that those policies will hurt the country. But instead of changing their policies, they want to return to the same kind of voodoo math they used back in the 1980's to justify their voodoo economics in the first place. They want to distort the math to show those failed policies will work if we just keep on trying them.
With the Republicans controlling both houses of Congress starting next January, the odds are they will get what they want. And the odds are just as good that those policies will make the richer much richer, while hurting all other Americans -- and will eventually result in another economic disaster (probably even more serious than the one in 2007).
The only hope I can see right now is that the most serious damage could take more than two years to happen -- and that enough of the Republicans will be voted out in 2016, so the economic policy can be changed to avert another disaster (and create a fairer economic policy for all Americans). We'll just have to cross our fingers until then, and hope President Obama has the political courage to veto the worst of the GOP efforts.

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