Guy Who Voted to Add $1.9 Trillion to the National Debt to Fund Rich Person Tax Cuts: Think of the Children

Photo credit: Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images

We have come upon a corollary to the rule that the United States will spend $3.5 trillion without batting an eye so long as it's on war. We will also spend giant gobs of money if it means large corporations and rich people pay less in taxes. Many of the same people who would like to "run government like a business" would, at the very same time, prefer not to see taxes as revenue brought in to offset the costs of government initiatives. Contrary to the napkin stylings of Presidential Medal of Freedom(!) recipient Art Laffer, the real world has consistently shown that lower taxes do not magically bring in more revenue by generating explosive private-sector growth.

The 2017 Republican tax bill, the benefits of which disproportionately went to people and entities already doing A-OK, was estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to add $1.9 trillion to the dreaded National Debt over a 10-year period. None of the congressional Republicans who passed it on a party-line basis seemed to care much. The budget reconciliation bill now under consideration, which would dramatically expand and strengthen the American social safety net, would cost $3.5 trillion over a 10-year period, though it would adjust the tax code to bring in more than $900 billion in additional revenue. Anyway, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who voted (with a quibbling statement attached) to add nearly $2 trillion to the debt a few years back so that rich folks could pay less in taxes, is now convinced that the reconciliation bill constitutes mortgaging Our Children's Future.

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Is it "taxing the young" to send them to college? Is it "taxing the young" to provide for childcare and paid family leave, even if Democrats are moving towards providing the latter through a highly questionable mechanism? Is it "taxing the young" to begin, in earnest, the process of decarbonizing our energy and transportation systems so that the young will have a planet to live on that is as hospitable as still possible to human civilization as we know it?

This is really just boogedy-boogedy from Sasse, who seems to have missed the memo that nobody even pretends to care about The National Debt anymore. People trying to block more government spending—a method to invest in our people and provide social goods the free market has failed to supply—have moved on to fears of runaway inflation based on some rising prices over the last few quarters. This is by no means limited to Republicans. Conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin have also been sounding the alarm on inflation and even the Debt, a thing which, again, no one cares about as long as we're putting bullets and bombs and Predator drones and high-class tax cuts and fighter jets that don't work on the credit card. The nickel-and-dime approach only materializes when we're talking about investing in things that might help people who've failed to hire enough lobbyists to advance their interests within the marble halls.

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