Home Budget, Economy Is Dave Brat a Hypocrite on the Public Debt? (Short Answer: Yes!)

Is Dave Brat a Hypocrite on the Public Debt? (Short Answer: Yes!)

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Dave Brat is a hawk on the annual deficit and the total national debt. At least he is in words. He attacks Democrats and his own party leadership for failing to reduce annual deficits. He constantly warns us of the dangers of the country’s debt. But do Dave’s actions match his words? Short answer: no.

1. Brat voted for the Republican tax bill, HR 1–the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The Act provided significant tax cuts for the wealthy and lesser tax cuts for you and me. However, prior to passage of the tax bill, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report warning that the bill would add $1.8 trillion to the national debt (including the increased cost of interest). Brat voted for the bill nonetheless.

2. Twice, Brat introduced bills to create Universal Savings Accounts (H.R. 4904 and H.R. 937). These accounts would allow those who could afford it to set aside $5,500 per year in tax free accounts. Unlike retirement accounts, Dave’s accounts would allow withdrawals at any time and all of the proceeds (including interest, capital gains and other earnings) would be tax-free. Dave’s Universal Savings Accounts would again reduce taxes, mostly for the wealthy, at the expense of losing revenues and thus increasing the national debt.

3. Brat signed a September 10, 2018, letter to the Speaker of the House and the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee urging that the federal estate tax be repealed. But the estate tax currently applies only to estates over $10 million and allows heirs to keep 60% of the amount over $10 million. To Dave Brat, that is not enough. Brat wants the wealthy to be able to pass on all their riches to their heirs tax-free. Repealing the estate tax would reduce revenue to the government, thus increasing the national debt.

It shouldn’t take an economist to understand that if you reduce revenues to the government by cutting taxes without cutting expenditures, the national debt will increase. Even my grandchildren, using simple arithmetic, could tell you that.

Meanwhile, economics “Professor” Dave Brat talks big on the national debt, while his actions clearly demonstrate that he is willing to increase the debt significantly in order to cut taxes for the wealthy. Some people might call this hypocrisy.