The first story:
By John D. McKinnon | September 29, 2015 @ 1452 EDT
Donald Trump’s tax plan would cut taxes by far more than other presidential candidates’ proposals, but that also means it would deepen deficits by more – at least $10 trillion over a decade — according to a think tank analysis.
The analysis by the business-backed Tax Foundation undercuts Mr. Trump’s claim that his tax plan would not add to the federal government’s rising long-term debt. In announcing his plan, a campaign document said that the proposal “doesn’t add to our debt and deficit, which are already too large.”
By comparison, Marco Rubio’s plan would cut taxes and increase deficits by $1.7 trillion, Jeb Bush’s by $1.6 trillion and Rand Paul’s by about $1 trillion, the Tax Foundation said.
“It [the Trump plan] is by far the biggest tax cut of any of the announced plans,” said Scott Hodge, the organization’s president. The group found that the Trump plan would increase deficits by $12 trillion when its economic effects are ignored.
A Trump campaign spokeswoman said in a statement that the Tax Foundation analysis didn’t take into account the policy changes that would be used to offset the plan’s reductions.
“Even accounting for that, their figures seem wildly off the mark, especially compared to how they scored similar provisions for Jeb Bush’s plan,” the campaign said.
The Tax Foundation denied that, saying it included all the changes it could model.
One basic problem for Mr. Trump’s plan is that its rate reductions are so large that it’s hard to find enough raisers to offset them, Tax Foundation officials suggested. The Trump plan would lower the top rate for individuals to 25% from 39.6%, and the top rate on all business income to 15%. The current top corporate rate is 35%.
Yes, taxes are too high, and spending is way, way, way! too high, but the solution is not to increase deficits wildly.
The second story:
The bill is expected to receive the House’s approval and Obama’s signature before a midnight deadline
By Kristina Peterson | Updated Sept. 30, 2015 11:16 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The Senate on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill keeping the government running through Dec. 11, putting Congress on track to avoid another government shutdown with little time to spare.
The House is expected to approve the spending bill later Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the legislation before the government’s current funding expires at midnight.
The bill passed the Senate on a 78-20 vote, with the support of 32 Republicans and all 46 members of the Democratic caucus. All of the opposition came from Republicans.
There’s more at the link.
This is the omnibus spending bill which conservatives wanted to use to defund Planned Parenthood, but outgoing Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have forced it through without that cut, because they were just deathly afraid that President Obama would veto it, and the Republicans would be blamed for a government shutdown.
This is entirely the Republicans’ fault: if they had passed the annual appropriations bills when they were supposed to have passed them, and the Planned Parenthood appropriation was the issue at hand, only the appropriation for Health and Human Services would have faced a Presidential veto . . . and I’d have been perfectly happy if HHS was closed down. When they don’t do their first job, funding the government, and depend on continuing resolutions, they surrender the power of their majority.
We published, on the old site, exactly how the Republicans could make their majority, then only in the House of Representatives, work for them:
The Republican wins in Congress give them more power, but the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. We’ll be told that the House Republicans will have to compromise, but what they will really have to do is present real, solid alternatives.
The first place they can start is to revamp the entire budget process. Right now, the budget of the United States is passed in twelve omnibus appropriations bills, several of which fund more than one federal department. These bills are just plain huge, and, as a consequence, legislators insert controversial items in with non-controversial ones, in appropriations bills which cover so much that they can’t be rejected. The Republicans should pass appropriations in smaller, tighter bills, bills which can be read and understood and which, if rejected by the Senate or vetoed, won’t shut down whole sections of the government, but which will impact the government in smaller, more narrowly tailored ways.
Along with that, by passing appropriations measures every year, the whole budget process gets stacked up and harder to review. The answer is simple: pass half of the appropriations bills for two-year periods, and then, the next year, pass appropriations bills for the other half of the budget for two-year periods. In that manner, each year the Congress will have to pass appropriations for only half of the government, allowing more time for scrutiny and consideration.
The way we do things now stacks the deck in favor of higher spending: congressmen, Republican and Democrat alike, insert their pet projects, different agencies ask for things they want, special interest groups lobby for things which they think are good, and it all gets pushed into huge bills with far-too-little scrutiny. If the Republicans were to adopt these two simple ideas, they would be well-supported, and really uncontroversial, and the Democrats in the Senate would pretty much have to accept them (for political reasons), but they would reduce the pressure on ever-higher spending.
The Republicans didn’t do this, and, of course, Common Sense Political Thought was such a small blog that it’s very probable than no one in Congress ever heard of it, much less read it. But, worse than not reading it and passing many, much smaller appropriations bills, the Republicans have not passed even the twelve annual appropriations bills, leaving the omnibus continuing resolutions bills as the only way to fund the government.
They have to do better than this.