Thursday, August 30, 2012

Post-Election Prediction

Had a discussion this morning about what will happen after a Romney victory in November.  My interlocutor suggested he would repeal ACA immediately.  This is my response, for what it's worth:
Repeal the health plan root and branch? No. The fiscal cliff will absorb their time and energy. Meanwhile they'll figure out how to handle the good parts, repeal the bad, and still pay for everything. Unless they go the constitutional option on the filibuster, they've got to squeeze ACA repeal into reconciliation, which is going to be difficult. As for the huge tax cuts, no way. They'll be doing good in the fiscal cliff negotiations to extend the Bush cuts, while stopping the FICA cuts. Redoing the tax system as Romney/Ryan propose will take a couple years. And it won't work as drafted--the itemized deductions are too woven into our society. Think of Obama: he promised healthcare and no mandates and climate change legislation and immigration, he got 1 of the 3 with very big changes and he had a big win and a big Senate majority. Romney won't have either, maybe a small Senate majority.
A couple more comments: there's been a to and fro between Marty Feldstein and other Republican economists and Brad DeLong and some Dem-leaning economists about whether the Romney tax plan is possible.  The Tax Policy Institute said it wasn't, Feldstein says it is, DeLong says Feldstein failed elementary math.  IMHO it's all beside the point.  To make it work (i.e., lower tax rates and broaden base) you've got to do what Reagan and Rostenkowski failed to do in 1986, which is to end the deductibility of state and local taxes and mortgage interest.  The problem they had, and the problem Romney will have, is all the realtors in the country, who are very much Republican small business types, support interest deductibility. And all the people who pay high state and local taxes in states which rely on income and property taxes, who again are very much Republican types, support tax deductibility.

My other comment relates to foreign affairs: assume Israel's not bluffing, and Romney's serious about 110 percent support of Israel, we may be seeing a new Middle East war in the first 100  days.  (Of course Obama can't point this out, because he's only 105 percent supportive of Israel.)

We'll see how accurate my predictions are in the 200 days to come.

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