Welcome to Progressive-Liberal


by Merl Moore (MerlMoore@mail.com)

 A lot of people are talking right now about the human propensity to reject (or more accurately, all but ignore) facts that don't support their preexisting bias – on both the political left and right – and only embracing and accepting “facts” that support those same preexisting biases (i.e.: see https://youtu.be/kyioZODhKbE; and https://us.macmillan.com/theinfluentialmind/talisharot/9781627792653/ ).  
 This phenomenon is known as “Confirmation Bias.” It is, to say the least, very disheartening. We all would like to think “If they, 'THEM,' those idiots, only knew what I know, knew the facts, they'd all be on board with the project (i.e.: think the way I do and agree with me).” Apparently that isn't the case, “objective facts” be damned (https://youtu.be/XirnEfkdQJM )!
 So, the job of reaching consensus on policy and programs, enacting effective laws and regulations, becomes more than a little complex. If you say “red” and they say “blue” the issue is stuck in the mud and “facts” don't matter anymore and there's no hope of changing anybody's mind regarding the issue or making anyone reconsider their preexisting position. Pretty depressing actually.
 There are a lot of different kinds of “facts.” There's those scientific numbers and charts and whatnot, all gobbly-gook that makes no sense to any except to professional scientists and statisticians (https://medium.com/@BLeeDrake/what-matters-to-trump-supporters-opposers-a-bayesian-analysis-of-polling-data-ab6ab9aaa29d ). Anybody can see how those “facts” can be ignored or even manipulated. But then there's other “facts,” the ones that nobody can really ignore. The “facts” that are proven or disproved  by being tried, implemented, actually put into play. Those “facts” that kind of defy “Confirmation Bias.”
 Ready to go to Kansas, folks?   
 Let's consider The Great Kansas Tax Cut Experiment. This was “Trickle-Down” policy really put into action. The concept: lowering Kansas tax-rates in 2012 and '13 would stimulate the Kansas economy so much that even at a much lower tax-rate the actual tax-income – money actually paid into the state coffers – would be much, much higher. Plus, all those JOBS it would create! This was Governor Sam Brownback's signature proposal and what the people of Kansas voted for overwhelmingly  (Arthur Laffer, Reagan's economic Messiah and the inventor of the “Laffer Curve” that we've all heard so much about, led Brownback's “experiment”). The people of Kansas loved this idea so much that they gave Brownback an overwhelmingly Republican State Congress to work with so he could implement every part and parcel of his extreme “Trickle-Down” policy. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out the way Brownback had planned.   
 According to that left-wing rag (LOL!) Forbes Magazine: “Brownback called his tax plan a “real live experiment.” It appears to have failed.” (i.e.: https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2017/06/07/the-great-kansas-tax-cut-experiment-crashes-and-burns/#172b2af35508 )
 (NOTE: Type “The Great Kansas Tax Cut Experiment” into Google or any other search engine and you get nothing but “Crash and Burn” or variations thereof which is pretty weird and more than a little significant when you think about all the right-wing on-line publications out there.)
  So this is a “Trickle-Down” Governor with a “Trickle-Down” state-congress implementing “Trickle-Down” policy and ended up crashing and burning the state's economy (i.e.: ultimately, the “Trickle-Down” congress had to increase taxes to pay for schools and whatnot, over-riding “Trickle-Down” Governor Brownback's veto). This isn't about what you think or how you feel about “Supply-Side Economics,” this is straight-up reality. These are not “facts” you can just causally ignore because of “Confirmation Bias.” This is not ethereal numbers that can be ignored or manipulated, this is demonstrative. This is straight-up reality (https://youtu.be/AMq_92ky0M8 ).  
  Perhaps most significantly, those states located just around Kansas, states that shared a very similar economic and cultural structure prior to the so-called “Great Experiment,” states that did not join into the “Kansas Experiment” (i.e.: in other words this outcome was not some weird regional anomaly), actually did much, much better than Kansas during this same time in just about every way. If “Trickle-Down/Supply-Side Economics” was the answer, how could that possibly happen? That's right; it couldn't (it should also be noted that Oklahoma, a state as deep Red/Republican as Kansas, has fallen into the same supply-side trap, only slightly less dramatically and slightly slower (https://youtu.be/6LItKZfq65w ), and yet still, today the state has been forced to reduce the school week to only 4-days to cut costs and is seriously considering raising taxes in some form to make-up for their ever increasing deficit; see: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-red-state-revolt-spreads-to-oklahoma/546671/ ). That's not about how you feel or what you think, it's not about your preexisting biases or what you wish were true, it's just reality (https://youtu.be/1LoB5xllAgo ) .    
 So what did Republicans learn from the complete and abject failure of the “Kansas Experiment?” Apparently nothing. Which brings us to the Republican Tax Reform plan; all the details aren't yet in but from what we've seen so far it's basically the idea that lowering taxes on the rich and corporations will generate so much revenue that the middle and working classes will reap huge financial rewards. “Republicans say economic growth will compensate for lost revenue.”(https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/us/politics/trump-tax-cut-plan-middle-class-deficit.html ) Sound familiar?   
 In a recent interview on FOX News (yeah, I'm actually referencing FOX News!), Chris Wallace barbecued White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney (https://youtu.be/UkyYE38AaV0 ) who gave that tired and so over-used “Dynamic Scoring” excuse (i.e.: that's the “Trickle Down” on the general public we've heard so much about but have never seen – and by the way, “Trickle-Down” is what you get if you pass-out under the urinal at the bar!) to defend a proposal that, according to some estimates, would give Trump an extra $31-million (calculated using the only Trump tax-return, 2005,   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/28/us/politics/trump-tax-benefit.html, the only year we've seen) and possibly as much as $1-billion (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/sep/28/donald-trump/donald-trumps-dubious-claim-his-tax-plan-wont-bene/ ). So much for Trump's lie about not personally benefiting from his tax-plan.
  Wallace went so far as to point out, after Mulvaney tried to sell the “tax-cuts pay for themselves” nonsense, that under Reagan's tax-cuts in 1981 the deficit grew by $208-billion and Bush, Jr's tax-cuts in 2001 and '03 increased the deficit by $1.5-trillion while Clinton's tax-increases on the richest Americans coincided with the biggest economic growth in the last century.  A recent study by Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center using “dynamic scoring” found that the state coffers would lose between $2.4 and $2.5 TRILLION over the next decade (http://thehill.com/policy/finance/357543-study-gop-tax-plan-would-cost-24-trillion ).  I know! Hard to believe!  
  The point is this: there's going to be a lot of nonsense flying around about “Dynamic Scoring” and “Tax-cuts paying for themselves” in an effort to sell to the American public this tax-cuts for the rich proposal and we on the left can argue about tax-theory all day long but in the end that won't work. What we have to do is keep repeating the demonstrative facts, those facts that have been proven to be true.  
 While ethereal theory always runs head-on into “Confirmation Bias;” demonstrative examples are the only chance of getting through.