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Robert Reich

The GOP's tax cut trick

When Republicans have nothing else to attack, they call for a tax cut. And it works.

By Guest blogger / March 20, 2012

In this file photo, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., holds up a copy of President Obama's fiscal 2013 federal budget on Capitol Hill. Republicans controlling the House are releasing on Tuesday March 20, 2012 an election-year budget plan that would impose sharp cuts on many programs in hopes of taming trillion dollar-plus deficits, but Reich argues that the "tax reform plan" is just a ploy to make headlines.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File

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Republicans are desperate. They can’t attack Obama on jobs because the jobs picture is improving.

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Robert is chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Clinton. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including “The Work of Nations,” his latest best-seller “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future," and a new e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His new movie, "Inequality for All," is available on Netflix. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

Recent posts

Their attack on the Administration’s rule requiring insurers to cover contraception has backfired, raising hackles even among many Republican women.

Their attack on Obama for raising gas prices has elicited scorn from economists of all persuasions who know oil prices are set in global markets and that demand in the United States has actually fallen.

Their presidential ambitions are being trampled in a furious fraternal war among Republican candidates.

Their Tea Party wing wants to reopen the budget deal forged with Democrats after Republicans got bloodied by threatening to block an increase in the debt limit.

So what are Republicans to do now? What they always do when they have nothing else to say.

Call for a tax cut, of course.

It doesn’t matter that their new “tax reform” plan (leaked to the Wall Street Journal late Monday, to be released Tuesday morning) has as much chance of being enacted as Herman Cain has of being elected president.

It doesn’t matter than the plan doesn’t detail how they plan to pay for the tax cuts. Or whether an even bigger whack would have to be taken out of Medicare than Paul Ryan’s original voucher plan – which would drowned many elderly under rising medical costs.

It doesn’t even matter that the plan would probably raise taxes on many lower-income Americans,

All that matters is the headlines.

House Republican Budget to Propose Lower Income Tax Rates,” says Bloomberg Businessweek. “Republican Budget Plan Seeks to Play Up Tax Reform,” says Reuters. “GOP’s Budget Targets Taxes,” blares the Wall Street Journal.

Presto. Republicans have gotten what they wanted on the basis of saying absolutely nothing.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on www.robertreich.org.

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