AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Republicans have said they want to extend the Trump tax cuts, which mostly benefited corporations and the ultra wealthy; cut spending on Social Security and Medicare; and repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which lowered the cost of prescription drugs and raised taxes on corporations.

Less than two years after their party leader tried to overthrow America’s system of democracy, Republicans are on the verge of possibly winning back control of the House and Senate. 

Should Republicans flip control of one or both chambers of Congress, they would bring about an era of divided government that would see enormous obstruction. This isn’t a guess. Top Republicans have literally promised gridlock. 

If Republicans win, they would exert enormous control over the nation’s economic outlook. Republican politicians have spent months talking about the scourge of inflation and high prices but have had comparatively little to say about how their party’s economic agenda would actually lower costs and help American families.

But again, we don’t have to guess what a Republican-controlled House and Senate would do. They’ve told us what their plans are. Republicans want to:

  • Extend the Trump tax cuts, which mostly benefited billionaires and corporations
  • Cut spending on Social Security and Medicare
  • Repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which lowered the cost of prescription drugs and raised taxes on corporations
  • Keep the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour
  • Block bills to expand paid family and medical leave 
  • Repeal the estate tax, which would only benefit the wealthiest Americans

If that policy platform sounds difficult to believe, well, that’s probably why Republicans are trying to talk about their plan as little as possible. And as economists are making clear, what they have proposed—tax cuts for the rich and big corporations—would have no impact on inflation and could actually make things worse.

“It is unlikely that any of the policies proposed by Republicans would meaningfully reduce inflation in 2023,” Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, recently told the New York Times.

In theory, President Joe Biden could block most or all of the GOP’s wish list, but Republicans have also signaled they intend to use the looming expiration of the debt ceiling as leverage to extract concessions from Democrats. 

The debt ceiling is a number set by Congress that determines how much the US is able to borrow in debt. Increasing that amount is a routine congressional task, and failing to do so would cause the US to default on its debt, triggering a global financial crisis. 

You might think risking the next Great Depression would be a bridge too far for any politician, but Republicans have all but admitted they plan to hold the global economy hostage so they can make cuts to spending on programs like Social Security and Medicare and fulfill other policy priorities.

Millions of voters have already cast their ballots across the country. Millions more will vote in the coming days and on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8. Those votes will determine whether the Republican Party regains control of the House and Senate—and whether their economic agenda becomes one step closer to reality.