House Republicans were asked why trickle-down economics will work this time. They had no answer.

Aaron Rupar Reporter, Think Progress

The Bush tax cuts failed to juice the economy in the way Republicans promised they would, with growth in the 2000s stagnating relative to the Clinton years. But that hasn’t stopped today’s Republicans from arguing the tax cuts they’re pushing with President Trump’s help will produce a different outcome.

During a news conference on Thursday, a reporter asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) to explain why Americans should believe the trickle-down fairy will work its magic this time around and turn a drastic cut in corporate taxes that largely benefits the top one percent into wage increases and jobs that benefit them. Neither could provide a satisfying answer.

“The Bush tax cuts did not result in growth or higher wages or more jobs,” the reporter asked. “Why are you certain that this will be different?”

Ryan deferred to Brady, who didn’t directly respond. Instead, he praised Ryan, and then touted how Americans will be able to file their taxes on smaller pieces of paper.

“So this is a complete redesign of the code, so we can simplify it so much that nine out of 10 Americans can file by using a postcard-style system,” Brady said. “Lowering the rates, protecting more of the first dollars you earned, making sure you have strong middle-class relief — but it’s more than that. We’re not just putting higher-octane fuel in the old clunker of a tax car — we propose to drive a newer tax car that can compete and win against any country in the world.”

Brady concluded by basically asking Americans to trust him.

“So that redesign for simplicity, fairness, and competitiveness — I predict under this tax reform plan America will vault from 31st in the world among our competitors to the top three as the best places on the planet for that next new job, that next new manufacturing plant, that next new research headquarters — that’s what’s different,” he said.

But economist disagree. Consider some of the points raised by former Reagan policy adviser Bruce Bartlett in an op-ed he recently penned for the Washington Post entitled, “I helped create the GOP tax myth. Trump is wrong: Tax cuts don’t equal growth.”

Bartlett points out that while cutting taxes made sense in the late 1970s — a time when “the top tax rate was 70 percent and the economy seemed trapped in stagflation with no way out” — the strongest decade for economic growth in recent U.S. history was the 1990s, a decade in which President Clinton raised income taxes on the wealthy.

The same year that Clinton left office, President Bush shepherded tax cuts through Congress that mainly benefited high earners, as would be the case under Trump’s plan. But as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote in a recent look at the legacy of the Bush tax cuts, although Republicans said they would dramatically spur growth, “evidence suggests that they did not improve economic growth or pay for themselves, but instead ballooned deficits and debt and contributed to a rise in income inequality.”

Today’s Republicans are recycling talking points from the Bush era. Consider this passage from a September New York Times report headlined, “In Battle Over Tax Cuts, It’s Republicans vs. Economists.”

“Party leaders are rejecting criticism that their yet-to-be-unveiled tax plan will add to the ballooning federal deficit, saying the tax cuts will essentially pay for themselves by generating robust economic growth,” the Times wrote.

But as Thursday’s news conference indicated, the theory underpinning that belief is mostly a matter of faith, rather than economics.

***

Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work