Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli’s Fuzzy Math - An Economic Plan That Doesn't Add Up

There's a lot wrong with both Ken Cuccinelli (including mentally, in my view) and his proposed policies.  On social issues, he'd pretty much bring back a religious inquisition to inflict his own bizarre beliefs on all Virginians while policing bedrooms across the Virginia.  On the economic front, his proposals are yet more of the GOP's failed voodoo economics which involve sound bites that excite the deranged GOP base while not adding up if one looks beyond the smoke and mirrors.  In a main editorial the Washington Post slams Cuccinelli's bogus economic plan.  Here are excerpts:

[T]he 2013 Cuccinelli economic plan relies on magical thinking.

The main difference between the two blueprints is the effort that went into drafting them. Mr. McDonnell’s [2009] plan was 19 single-spaced pages, resplendent with bullet points, subsections and wonderfully precise dollar totals. Mr. Cuccinelli’s plan consists of one sentence, plus four very brief bullet points. Grandly known as “The Cuccinelli Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan,” it fits neatly onto about half a page.

The Cuccinelli economic plan, for all its brevity, does contain one idea. By slicing business income taxes by a third and personal income taxes by 13 percent, Mr. Cuccinelli would slash $1.4 billion in revenueabout 8 percent of Virginia’s overall annual tax base.

Yet somehow — here’s where the magical part comes in — Mr. Cuccinelli insists that, under his plan, revenue would hold steady and the state’s already lean budget would be held harmless.

By Mr. Cuccinelli’s facile account, squaring this circle would simply require eliminating loopholes and deductions for those who are coddled by the state’s tax code. That sounds great in the abstract, but which loopholes and deductions does Mr. Cuccinelli have in mind? Naturally, he isn’t saying.

Just as Mr. McDonnell’s proposal, for all its detail, was gobbledygook, so too is Mr. Cuccinelli’s — unless what he is really planning is a frontal assault on state spending. That would mean eviscerating education, public safety, infrastructure and social services, which together account for a large majority of that spending.

Mr. Cuccinelli suggests that cutting corporate income taxes by a third would transform Virginia into an irresistible magnet for businesses, which would grow at lightning speed. But what businesses, and which employees, would be content to live in a state whose budget starves its schools, social services and public safety?

At the heart of the Cuccinelli vision is the same fantasy that animated the McDonnell plan four years ago — sacrifice is for suckers; popular and vital services can be had for free; and Virginia voters are saps. In fact, revenue cannot be summoned from thin air, either by Mr. McDonnell or by Mr. Cuccinelli.

The editorial also fails to ask the question of what businesses and what employees would want to live in a state which has social policies that would like they were devised by the ayatollahs in Tehran?

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