PowerLine -> Trump Tax Cuts Mostly Pay For Themselves – Notes on the Syrian strike

PowerLine -> Trump Tax Cuts Mostly Pay For Themselves – Notes on the Syrian strike

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Powerline image at HoaxAndChange

Daily Digest

  • Trump Tax Cuts Mostly Pay For Themselves
  • The Al Gore Effect Comes to Minnesota
  • The Factual Feminist on Free Speech
  • The 100 percent (pardon) solution
  • Notes on the Syrian strike
Trump Tax Cuts Mostly Pay For Themselves

Posted: 14 Apr 2018 04:27 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Investors Business Daily has an excellent editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the recently-enacted tax reform bill. It highlights, once again, the peril of uncritically parroting top-line Congressional Budget Office analyses:

When the Congressional Budget Office released its updated budget forecast, everyone focused on the deficit number. But buried in the report was the CBO’s tacit admission that it vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it didn’t account for the strong economic growth they would generate.

Among the many details in the report, the one reporters focused on was the CBO’s forecast that the federal deficit would top $1 trillion in 2020, two years earlier than the CBO had previously said.

And, naturally, most news accounts blamed the tax cuts. “U.S. budget deficit to balloon on Republican tax cuts” is how Reuters put it in a headline.

Of course, they did! But Reuters will never headline, “Republican tax cuts fuel economic growth.”

But there’s more to the story that the media overlooked.

First, the CBO revised its economic forecast sharply upward this year and next.

Last June, the CBO said GDP growth for 2018 would be just 2%. Now it figures growth will be 3.3% — a significant upward revision. It also boosted its forecast for 2019 from a meager 1.5% to a respectable 2.4%.

“Underlying economic conditions have improved in some unexpected ways since June,” the CBO says.

“Unexpectedly!” as Glenn Reynolds likes to say. Those who lack any understanding of how the world works are continually surprised.

In any case, the CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.

In a table buried in the appendix of the CBO report, it shows that, before accounting for economic growth, the tax cuts Trump signed into law late last year would cut federal revenues by $1.69 trillion from 2018-2027.

But it goes on to say that higher rate of GDP growth will produce $1.1 trillion in new revenues. In other words, 65% of the tax cuts are paid for by extra economic growth.

The CBO also now projects savings of $150 billion on food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc., due to a faster-growing economy.

The battle over how the CBO scores legislation–static vs. dynamic–has been going on for a long time. Static scoring, which Democrats consistently advocate, is obviously wrong, as everyone knows important legislation like the Trump tax cuts will affect economic growth. The problem comes in identifying the most accurate dynamic model in a given situation. But what the CBO deems “unexpected” was, in fact, anticipated by us and by pretty much every competent economist (i.e., everyone except Paul Krugman).

The IBD editorial concludes by fingering ever-escalating spending as the problem that has yet to be addressed. Economic growth lifts a lot of boats, but unacceptable deficits will nevertheless continue as long as swamp Republicans join Democrats in flinging money around irresponsibly.


The Al Gore Effect Comes to Minnesota

Posted: 14 Apr 2018 12:22 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)I got excited when I heard that all across the country, activists would be “marching for science” today. Promoting, no doubt, information about X and Y chromosomes and the fact that–scientifically speaking–there are only two genders.

Just kidding. Actually, the March For Science “movement”–it gives off a strong odor of Astroturf–covers a broad range of left-wing talking points. But first among them is global warming. When the organizers of the Minnesota March For Science planned their event for April 14, featuring an alarmist weatherman as a speaker, they no doubt thought they were beyond the risk of the Al Gore Effect. They were wrong.

Due to the extreme winter storm approaching this weekend, the #MarchForScience rally in St. Paul is going to be postponed. New date will be announced later. Trust us, even @pdouglasweather thinks postponing was a good idea. pic.twitter.com/ZOUdu9Cm2C

— March for Science MN (@ScienceMarchMN) April 12, 2018

Where I live in the Twin Cities suburbs, snow has been falling heavily for quite a while, and conditions are approaching white-out. Blizzard warnings have been issued, and the forecast is for up to a foot and a half of snow. This is what my neighborhood looked like as the snow began to come down:

This could be the biggest April snowfall on record in the Twin Cities, and 2018 already ranks in the top 20 years for the latest date on which the temperature first reached 60 degrees. The record is held by 1874, when the thermometer didn’t hit 60 until April 29. I don’t think we will break that record, but 2018 will undoubtedly rank in the top 10 years for the latest 60-degree date.

There is no reason even to try to avoid schadenfreude when the Al Gore Effect strikes. Mostly, it’s just fun, and the alarmists richly deserve it. But there is a serious point. Of course, individual weather events tell us nothing about global climate trends. But the alarmists try to connect every hot day and every violent storm to global warming, so turnabout is fair play. More important, it was just a few years ago that the alarmists were telling us that before long, there would be no snow. Winter will be a thing of the past!

When that prediction turned out to be obviously false, the warmists changed their tune: now they tell us that global warming will produce more snow, and maybe colder temperatures, too. But of course, they hedge their bets. Next time we have a winter with below-average snowfall, they will tell us (more plausibly) that global warming caused that, too.

I will be more impressed with the alarmists’ models when they predict something before it happens.


The Factual Feminist on Free Speech

Posted: 14 Apr 2018 09:45 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)The great Christina Hoff Sommers is just out with another of her splendid “Factual Feminist” videos on the crisis of free speech on college campuses. As it happens, I got together with Christina recently and taped an interview for the Power Line podcast. I’ve got quite a backlog of interviews in the can right now, but I’ll try to move her up in the queue. In the meantime, it’s totally worth your five minutes to take in this:


The 100 percent (pardon) solution

Posted: 14 Apr 2018 05:50 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)In “What is to be done?” I set forth the possibility that President Trump might shut down his entanglement in the Mueller probe (the Mueller Switch Project) by pardoning its criminal targets so far: Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and the Dutch lawyer. He could do so with the explanation that Mueller’s probe has come up dry on its supposed predicate of Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign. Rush Limbaugh argued the pardon option in “If you want to end this, Mr. President, start pardoning.”

As President Trump has said repeatedly, there was “no collusion.” Thus the never-ending detours of the Mueller probe. In this scenario, President Trump would leave Mueller free to write up the results of his investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign and even the evidence of alleged collusion, if any. I have assumed the veracity of the president’s claim of “no collusion” from the outset. If it weren’t true, we would have heard the facts that make it out by now and we haven’t.

If Mueller is interested in Russian interference in the election, it is exceedingly strange that his probe has left the Clinton campaign untouched. So far as we know, it has failed to take the allegedly hacked DNC servers into custody and search them. Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference appears to be frustratingly partial.

What about Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen? According to this McClatchy story, he may be wrapped into the collusion investigation as well. I seriously doubt it, but I don’t know.

Andrew McCarthy takes the criminal investigation of Cohen in the Southern District of New York to be the case that threatens Trump. McCarthy elaborates on the twists and turns in the case in his column “The real investigation.” Today’s New York Times story is a useful companion to McCarthy’s column.

Cohen’s case complicates the pardon scenario but Trump could still employ it. If he were to do so, I think it should be sooner rather than later. It would create a furor, but the furor might be tamped down somewhat before the midterm elections. Let’s get it over with.

Mulling this over a bit further, I have one final thought. If President Trump were to take up the pardon solution, I think he would be well advised to include Hillary Clinton and the entire Clinton circle in the pardons. He could explain that he is trying to put the controversies arising from the past election behind us for the good of the country. It might make him look magnanimous and would have the additional advantage of driving them and their friends absolutely nuts.

UPDATE: Michael Cohen comments on the McClatchy story via Twitter (below).

Bad reporting, bad information and bad story by same reporter Peter Stone @McClatchyDC. No matter how many times or ways they write it, I have never been to Prague. I was in LA with my son. Proven! https://t.co/ra7nwjUA0X

— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) April 14, 2018


Notes on the Syrian strike

Posted: 14 Apr 2018 04:12 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)President Obama drew his infamous “red line” (“red line for us”) against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime on August 20, 2012. It proved to be something of a Chamberlainite red line “for our time.” The Syrian regime employed chemical weapons against civilians in Ghouta one year later, in August 2013. In the event, President Obama revealed his “red line” to be imaginary. He invited Vladimir Putin to remove Assad’s store of chemical weapons. President Obama counts it among his proudest moments. ‘Twas a famous victory.

In truth, Obama ceded Syria to Russia and Iran. He trusted (or entrusted) Putin. He looks like a chump, but I doubt that he believed his own baloney. He had something else in mind. He wanted to pursue his romance with the mullahs of Iran and didn’t want to do anything to endanger it. On this point see Michael Doran’s Mosaic essay “Obama’s secret Iran strategy.”

Funny thing about Obama. He undermined our allies and empowered our enemies. Despite his claims to the contrary, Obama did not achieve his professed objective.

Assad emerged with a store of chemical weapons and the means to replenish his supplies. He used them last year on April 4 to attack the town of Khan Shaykhun. President Trump sought to let Assad know there was a new sheriff in town. He sent 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles Assad’s way to take out the Shayrat Airbase (the source of the attack on Khan Shaykhun) and create or restore deterrence against the use of chemical weapons.

Assad celebrated the one-year anniversary of his chemical attack on Khan Shaykun with another such attack, this time in the suburb of Douma at dusk a week ago. We responded to the attack last night together with British and French forces in a targeted series of strikes. The United States, the Brits, and the French have all concluded that the attack on Douma used chemical weapons and was committed by Assad’s forces. The evidence supporting this conclusion has not been set forth in detail, but eyewitness testimony supports it and it is entirely consistent with Assad’s past practice.

Russian diplomacy has prevented further investigation on the ground. The Russians are protecting their Syrian client and lying absurdly about it. Of course, Putin himself is a murderer who has found chemical weapons to be of use. The Russian obstruction constitutes circumstantial evidence supporting the conclusion that Assad’s forces committed the attack.

President Trump spoke last night shortly after he the attacks commenced. His statement is here. Prime Minister May gave a statement followed by questions at a press conference a few hours ago. Her statement is posted here.

I found one passage of President Trump’s statement jarring. Here it is: “I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime. To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants, and murderous dictators.”

This passage has an unsavory Obamaian twist, advising two murderous regimes to hang out with better friends. Like Obama, Trump instructs Russia and Iran in their “true” interests, as though either regime is itself something other than a rogue state. Indeed, Iran is a murderous regime with genocidal aspirations. Only the “arc of history” was missing from this passage.

President Trump is doing his best under difficult circumstances to vindicate a “red line” against the use of chemical weapons. I think it is to his credit and he is deserving of our support.


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