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Among the myriad Republican myths about taxes, the most pernicious and demonstrably false—that "tax cuts pay for themselves"—is the mostly deeply held by the GOP faithful. As President George W. Bush famously (and erroneously) put it, "You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase." Now, a survey of leading economists conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is just the latest shovelful of evidence to bury Arthur Laffer's zombie lie.

Earlier this year, as Congressional Republicans learned the hard way three weeks ago from CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, another Chicago Booth poll revealed that "80 percent of economic experts agreed that, because of the stimulus, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been otherwise." (As Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee, "Only 4 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. That is a distinct minority.")

Now, the U of C is back with a new two-part survey on the Laffer Curve. In the first question, 35 percent agreed and another 35 percent were unsure that "a cut in federal income tax rates in the US right now would lead to higher GDP within five years than without the tax cut." (That response is unsurprising, given that one definition states that GDP equals consumption plus investment plus government plus net exports minus taxes.) But far more interesting are the results (see chart at top) on the question that gets to the heart of Arthur Laffer's supply-side snake oil that has been Republican orthodoxy ever since Jude Wanniski sketched Laffer's curve on a cocktail napkin. In a nutshell, not a single one of the economists surveyed agreed that "a cut in federal income tax rates in the US right now would raise taxable income enough so that the annual total tax revenue would be higher within five years than without the tax cut."

In his comments, David Autor of MIT pointed out, "Not aware of any evidence in recent history where tax cuts actually raise revenue. Sorry, Laffer." Former Obama administration economist and current University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee put it this way:

Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already.
Of course, you don't have to take Goolsbee's word for it.  Your own eyes will suffice.

After Ronald Reagan tripled the national debt with his supply-side tax cuts, George W. Bush doubled it again with his own. (Reagan's performance would have been much worse had he not raised taxes 11 times to help make up the shocking shortfall.) This chart shows just how dire the tax revenue drought has become. For those Republicans who claim "tax cuts pay themselves," it's worth noting that federal revenue did not return to its pre-Bush tax cut level until 2006. (While this graph shows current dollars, the dynamic is unchanged measured in inflation-adjusted, constant 2005 dollars.)

But that picture tells only part of the story. Measuring taxes and spending as a percentage of the total U.S. economy reveals revenue at historical lows. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded last year, "Revenues would be just under 15 percent of GDP; levels that low have not been seen since 1950."

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded, the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus—combined.

It's no wonder that, three decades after he concluded "the supply-siders have gone too far," former Arthur Laffer and Reagan OMB chief David Stockman lamented that "[The] debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party's embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don't matter if they result from tax cuts."

Nevertheless, two years ago future House Speaker John Boehner denied the obvious:

"It's not the marginal tax rates ... that's not what led to the budget deficit. The revenue problem we have today is a result of what happened in the economic collapse some 18 months ago."

"We've seen over the last 30 years that lower marginal tax rates have led to a growing economy, more employment and more people paying taxes."

And as the Republican Party waged its all-out attack in 2010 to preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the GOP's number two man in the Senate provided the talking point to help sell the $70 billion annual giveaway to America's rich. "You should never," Arizona's Jon Kyl declared, "have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans." For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rushed to defend Kyl's fuzzy math:
"There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject."
That tax cut increase revenue may be the view of virtually every Republican. It just happens to be, as the University of Chicago's panel of economists reminded Americans, laughably wrong.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Uh, he calls the last 3-1/2 years vibrant? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, jethrock, Eric Nelson

    Because that's what the Bush tax cuts resulted in.

    Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

    by ZedMont on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:40:50 PM PDT

  •  Low-end tax cuts stimulate the economy (7+ / 0-)

    Rich people hoard the money, spend it in other countries, etc.

    Republicans always whine about the deficit, well lets cut out the two biggest drivers of that - top-end tax cuts and wars.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:41:21 PM PDT

  •  Laffer 2.0 by a guy named Cohen (6+ / 0-)

    He's the let them die guy on Laura Clawson FP diary

    http://www.motherjones.com/...

    Deadweight Losses Among the Super Rich

    After reading a new paper on income inequality, Tyler Cowen says this is a "scream it from the rooftops" result:

           .

    ...we find that a one percent increase in the net of tax share is associated with an 0.7 percent reduction in incomes earned by people in the top 0.1 percent of the income distribution, which would imply that if we were to raise top marginal tax rates further on these taxpayers, the increase in deadweight loss would be substantially larger than the increase in revenue raised [emphasis added]. However, we find essentially no evidence at all of any responsiveness of people below the top 0.1 percent...

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 05:41:51 PM PDT

    •  Translation: (0+ / 0-)

      "If we raise taxes on Sheldon Addleston, he will no longer be able tofund an entire Presidential campaign with nothing but the loose change in the coffee can under his bathroom sink."

      Let us all pause for a few solemn tears for the increase in deadweight loss for the 0.1%.

      sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

      by harrije on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:30:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And the reason why a tax cut could possibly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    207wickedgood, Deep Texan

    increase GDP is simply due to the nature of government. You see, the government, unlike private corporations, spends the money it takes in on services. In lieu of collecting this, as we see now, they borrow the money. So technically, if you cut taxes, GDP will probably increase if the government continues to spend at current rates because even if the private companies and rich folks spend 1 dollar out of every 20 of that tax cuts, GDP will rise just based on GDP math. Of course, if you slash government spending by the exact amount of the tax cut, you would basically have to assume 100% of that tax cut being spent by those receiving it in order to break even...It's basic math...

  •  Off topic. (4+ / 0-)

    Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS on being added to the infamous DK Roster.

    You definitely deserve it.

    Hope this doesn't constitute a thread-jacking ;)

    Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

    by jethrock on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:45:55 PM PDT

    •  Much Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princesspat, jethrock

      I really appreciate the support for my tomes.

      And by the way, it's not thread-jacking if the redirection is consensual.  (Wait a minute, I think that was John Ensign's defense...)

      •  It's gratifying (0+ / 0-)

        to finally see you on the Front Page.

        For years now, we've said that your pieces were "Time Magazine Feature Length Quality" stuff, aka, perfect for the Sunday Front Page here at the GOS.

        Wonderful stuff and I'm glad we'll no longer be seeing it in the CS Box.  That's a good thing in this case. ;)

        "I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them. I want to stop them." - Steve Gilliard

        by grog on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:20:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good on the U of C for the polls, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, Avenging Angel

    but the "Chicago School" has been responsible for so much economic malfeasance over the past 40 years that I'm not sure they can ever make up for it.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:54:41 PM PDT

    •  My question is this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Azazello, Avenging Angel

      The Chicago School has been wrong wrong wrong for 40 years, as you say.  Why does ANYONE give them any credibility?  Well, I mean anyone in their right mind: not the GOPers who are clearly insane.

      To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

      by Youffraita on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:51:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just to Clarify... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello, Youffraita, Roger Fox

        ...most of the economists surveyed are not at U of C.  They are at institutions all over the country.

        That the survey was performed by a group at the U of C School of Business should not be confused with "The Chicago School," a term used in reference to Milton Friedman and his economic acolytes.

        I'm sorry for any ambiguity on that point in the diary.

        •  Prof. Krugman (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avenging Angel

          would make the distinction between the Saltwater School and the Freshwater School...of which, on both coasts, we have the sane, and in the middle we have the insane.

          But I don't think that my phrasing it in those terms will please you more.  ;-D

          To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

          by Youffraita on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:32:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is also worth pointing out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli

          that that Laffer curve and what passes for modern day "conservative" economics is not all that much in line with the thinking of the original Chicago School either. While they were certainly free market conservatives most of them were actually intellectually honest and sane... as well as very, very smart people with some great insights into how economies work.

          "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

          by Andrew C White on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:14:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent diary by the way (0+ / 0-)

          glad to see it on the front page.

          "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

          by Andrew C White on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:15:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Which is why it's so great (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        harrije

        that the school basically got trashed in its own survey.

        •  Less great is that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wsexson

          they are getting trashed in real-world applications to some extent in this country, a greater extent in the UK, and an insane-in-the-head extent in the Eurozone.

          sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

          by harrije on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:36:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could rec this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98

    1000 times.

    Thanks, Avenging Angel, for all the great work you do.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:46:18 PM PDT

  •  tnr (0+ / 0-)

    a touchdown a homerun, a 3 pt shot and go to the foul line.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:56:04 PM PDT

  •  Like most lies, there is truth in it. (3+ / 0-)

    There actually is a Laffer curve.  At least, the theory makes sense.

    On one extreme, if there is no tax, there is no revenue.  On the other, at 100% tax, you find Pol Pot.  Not zero, but really really bad.  In between there is a sweet spot, where government revenue is maximized.

    Where we differ is that Republicans assume without any evidence that we are on the high side of that sweet spot, so that any tax cut increases revenue.

    Decades of history show the opposite.  We could raise taxes a lot without impacting the success of business.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:07:34 PM PDT

    •  Just a small quibble. (0+ / 0-)

      It's not really accurate to say that small tax rises will have no impact on business even when we are on the up-slope of a Laffer curve.  Raising taxes will always have a negative effect on growth, and small firms already operating right at their margins can be forced out of business by even small increases.  The peak of the curve is just the point at which that negative pressure overcomes all the other positive pressures for growth.

      Always important to remember that total tax revenues are derived from the aggregate economy, and the tax rate is just one factor influencing economic growth.

      •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

        By "impact," I meant significant harm, not to say that no effect would be felt at all.

        I'll also admit I'm no economist at all; but Laffer's idea isn't terribly complex.  Actually quantifying it would be pretty nearly impossible, but the historical evidence is strong and solid.

        Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

        by Boundegar on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:36:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Laughably... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson

    if you are already at the hysterical stage following all the crying.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:09:27 PM PDT

  •  Where are the jobs created by the Bush tax cuts? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Calamity Jean

    Where are the jobs created by the Bush and the Shrub and the Reagan deficit spending on military, tax cuts and wars? They all at least doubled the national debt and cut taxes on the richest americans and corporations as well as cutting inheritance tax on mega estates.  Where are the jobs Repukes? You have been blocking them for nearly 3 1/2 years... the ones you didn't shred with your deregulation, your tax cuts and your subsidies for jobs in foreign countries in the Bush years...

    I saw some idiot today claiming he didn't care how Rmoney spent his earnings (made from rendering American jobs into foreign slave wage jobs) but I care why he pays lower %age then some one making 15 K a year and doesn't create any good paying american jobs. He freaking made a casual bet that was my sisters take home for a year.

    How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:26:25 PM PDT

    •  You have identified a very crucial question that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, boophus

      needs to be "hammered" repeatedly:

      "Where are the jobs created by the Bush and the Shrub and the Reagan deficit spending on military, tax cuts and wars?"
       
      I would add another: where is the banking/investment prosperity touted by proponents of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which repealed one part of the Glass-Steagall Act?  

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:41:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Laffer was a clown on Maher as well and (0+ / 0-)

    despite his crony Steve Moore has had nothing to contribute to the profession

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:32:12 PM PDT

  •  Just don't raise my taxes. I spend what I get. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Laffer Appears On A Panel With Republicans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    harrije, Stude Dude, wsexson

    and his simple message of tax cuts as a panacea is greeted with nodded heads. Krugman appears on a panel with Democrats and he is apart from them, looked at as an alien because village Democrats know they can't explain Keynesian economics and progressive taxation with the same crowd pleasing simplicity as balanced budget amendments and flat tax proposals. How we solve this problem is the question that the country's future depends on.

    •  I would go with "Joseph and Pharaoh" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      as a very, very simplistic and crude approximation of the basic Keynesian point, which is that government spending should be counter-cyclical.

      Surplus mode during good times -- increase taxes a little, cut spending to get out of the way of the private sector, run a budget surplus, pay down the debt.

      Deficit mode during bad times -- decrease taxes where they are acting against the economy, pick up the slack in the private sector by spending more government money, run a budget deficit, and borrow money if need be to pay for it.

      "Austerity for all" is guaranteed to be contractionary, absent a tribe of confidence fairies in your garden well. (Or, it is guaranteed to be contractionary -- any plan that relies on magic is by definition not a realistic plan).

      Counter-cyclical spending uses the huge weight of the government's taxing and spending powers (as well as deft monetary controls -- something we're missing right now as well) to keep the economy as balanced as possible. We still end up with slight booms and slight recessions, but they are short-term blips and quite survivable.

      sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

      by harrije on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:54:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Turning Into The Direction Of The Skid (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        harrije, Calamity Jean

        That advice which is counter intuitive to drivers, meets the same resistance when you try to explain Keynesian economics to voters in the middle of an economic slump. The conservative economic message relates more to voters who do not want to have to think things through. This can be overcome if Democrats unified behind an economic message. Not happening.

  •  The Laffer Curve isn't inherently bad. (0+ / 0-)

    The basic gist of it is that if the tax rate is 0%, the government won't receive any money because it won't be collecting taxes. If the tax rate is 100%, the government won't receive any money because there won't be any incentive to work, knowing that all income will be sent to the government. It says that somewhere in the middle is an ideal tax rate that will generate the most revenue for the government, one that isn't so high that it acts as a disincentive but isn't so low that the government will take in less than it's capable of (whether on not the government should be maximizing revenue at the expense of its citizens is a different argument).

    It makes sense, but it's a broad idea with no specifics. The problem is that Democrats and Republican (giving them the benefit of the doubt, LOL) believe they're on different sides of the curve.

    I'm willing to believe that the top tax rates pre-Reagan were too high. But I have no doubt that his cutting them in half coupled with the steady decline of tax rates over the last 3 decades have undoubtedly swung us to the other side of the Laffer Curve.

    If they ever really believed in the Laffer Curve to begin with, conservatives quickly twisted it into a more simplistic "lower taxes = higher revenue" mantra (forgetting that the Laffer Curve also says taxes can be too low), deluded themselves into believing it was true, and will never allow their faulty logic to be corrupted by facts or common sense.

    •  Strongly disagree (0+ / 0-)
      I'm willing to believe that the top tax rates pre-Reagan were too high. But I have no doubt that his cutting them in half coupled with the steady decline of tax rates over the last 3 decades have undoubtedly swung us to the other side of the Laffer Curve.
      If the highest rates were so high why is it that according to almost EVERY economic indicator, we were better off BEFORE those rates were cut than AFTER?

      If the rates were so high the reverse would have been true.

      The bottom line is this:  

      When the rates were higher the US prospered.  The middle class was vibrant, people lived well.  We had quality and affordable health care and pensions and unions and College was affordable.  Oh and we didn't have the types of economic collapses that we've seen with lower rates.  Not one.  But we had 1 under Reagan, 1 under Elder Bush and 1 under Dumbo Bush.  

      Also Bill Clinton raised the highest rates to 39.6% and we created 22 million jobs.  8 years of virtually uninterrupted growth.  

      As opposed to:

      When the highest rates were lowered.  Jobs were lost at alarming rates.  Our economy was thrown into these bubble and burst economies, health care became unaffordable, as did college.  The middle class is shrinking at alarming rates, our social safety nets have been eroded, unions all but gone.  

      Oh and in the last 12 years while the Bush tax cuts have been in effect we've created virtually NO jobs.  The jobs we created are low wage jobs and don't keep pace with population increases.  Our net worth has been slashed, our wages have gone down.  Daddy Bush cut taxes and our economy went into a tailspin (of course lax regulations also had a big part to do with that with the whole S&L debacle).  Reagan cut the rates astronomically and almost overnight our economy went off a cliff.  We had over 10% unemployment as a result and only after he raised taxes (11 times total) did the economy start to flourish.  Something the right wing nutbags don't seem to recall.

      The only question is does correlation equal causation.  Does cutting taxes lead to the shitty economy we have and does higher taxes lead to a better economy.  At this point the evidence is pretty outstanding that in this case correlation is INDEED causation.  There IS NO DEBATE.  Lower tax rates are bad.  We've blown past the optimal tax rate that was the hypothesis of the Laffer Curve.  The lower we go the more we exacerbate the fiscal mess we're in and the more we destroy the underpinnings of our society all for the benefit of a few uber rich bastards and their ideological and idiotic whores.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 05:28:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Time For Sure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson, Calamity Jean, Matt Z

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:43:05 PM PDT

  •  According to Republican logic... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    If you cut taxes to 0, you'll get infinite revenue...

    Whoopee! magic money!

    Freedom isn't free. So quit whining and pay your taxes.

    by walk2live on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:44:04 PM PDT

  •  Goes with the rest of the wack ideology (0+ / 0-)

    You know if you pay workers less money they'll work harder & thank you for it.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 07:49:14 PM PDT

  •  I have always thought that the (0+ / 0-)

    Laffer Curve was appropriately named.

    How could anyone take that shit seriously?

  •  Too bad that not all Americans are economists (0+ / 0-)

    Re-elect President Obama because we don't need another selfish President

    by Timmethy on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 08:33:53 PM PDT

  •  I don't think even Republicans believe that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    At least, not most of them. That's their stock argument if people question them about the possibility that they might blow up the budget with sich cuts, but I don't think they care deep down whether they blow up the budget. After all, they hate government.

    "A man doesn't save a century, or a civilization, but a militant party wedded to a principle can." - Adlai E. Stevenson

    by Zutroy on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 09:21:32 PM PDT

  •  Not that this really matters (0+ / 0-)

    because other people besides economists get to vote. At least 30% of the general population gets this question wrong.

    Progressives are defined by who they want to help; Conservatives are defined by who they hate.

    by frsbdg on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 11:28:15 PM PDT

  •  Even the right-wingers at U of C have come around. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MixedContent

    Will wonders never cease?

    Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

    by expatjourno on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 04:13:19 AM PDT

  •  Mos rich folk know tax cuts don't raise revenue (0+ / 0-)

    IMO, the majority of wealthy Republicans know perfectly well that cutting their taxes does not raise the government's revenue.  They just don't want to pay more taxes and don't care if the country goes bankrupt so long as they and theirs are rich as hell.  

    I'd say some are sharks trying to game the game.   Mitt Romney is one of those.  He knows perfectly well that cutting taxes reduces Gov revenue.  Cheney and Bush two others.  

    The rich Republicans who know the tale is BS tell the lie convincingly.  I think many are in denial and have multiple rationalizations.  Not Boehner.  He's a shark.  

    What can one say about too many of the motivations for too many the Republican base, who are easily manipulated by faith based appeals.

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