Why Are Republicans Rushing This Tax Scam?


Al Drago for the NY TIMES

❝ So, it seems that Republicans are responding to the devastating defeat in Alabama – which is part of a sustained pattern of underperformance in special elections, demonstrating that bad polls reflect reality, not bad polling, by … doubling down on a massively unpopular tax plan, whose main focus is on cutting corporate taxes.

In fact, they’re rushing to jam the thing through before Doug Jones can be certified, in a stunning act of hypocrisy from the same people who demanded that Obamacare wait until Scott Brown was seated and held up a Supreme Court seat for a year. It’s outrageous. But it also looks like really bad politics, especially given what we know is coming: calls next year for cuts in popular social programs, because of a deficit Republicans just voted to explode. So what are they thinking?

❝ I don’t know for sure, but I’d suggest three possible factors in this mad rush.

❝ First…Today’s Republicans are apparatchiks, who have spent their whole lives inside an intellectual bubble in which cutting taxes on corporations and the rich is always objective #1…that the whole game was to win by playing on social issues, national security, and above all on racial antagonism, then use the win to push fundamentally unpopular economic policies…

❝ Second…The idea is that voters are impressed by your record of wins, or conversely that they’ll turn away if you don’t win enough.

Trumpublicans repeat that stupidity all day long.

❝ Third – “I guess I’ll be looking for a lobbying job/ think tank position/commentator role on Fox News in 2019” – in which case your mission in what remains of your Congressional career is to keep donors and the party machine happy, never mind the voters.

Which is what public service in a 2-party system made up mostly of corporate pimps ends up offering to voters.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE TRULY, MEANINGFULLY DANGEROUS

❝ In his new article, “Made in the U.S.D.A.,” Michael Lewis looks at the Department of Agriculture — another federal agency whose name belies its true function. No, it does not primarily pay farmers to grow or not grow crops. The vast majority of its budget — in 2016, $110 billion of its $164 billion — goes to feed impoverished Americans: mostly schoolchildren, pregnant women, veterans, and retirees. Lewis focuses on four of the government’s former employees, many of whom have been displaced by absurdly boneheaded Trump apparatchiks. (In the U.S.D.A., these include a country-club attendant and the owner of a scented-candle company.) What most of the former career public servants have in common is that, although they grew up in strained circumstances, their families survived and flourished because of various forms of federal aid. To show their gratitude, they have devoted their lives to helping the less privileged fight their way out of poverty. What comes across in Lewis’s account is their absolute decency.

❝ If the president’s buffoonery has distracted you from the true, devastating — and lasting — damage he is doing to our country, Lewis’s article is a must-read. Perhaps the most celebrated journalist currently working, he goes straight to the heart of the matter: America is now run by people whose only watchword is greed. They may want to rethink that approach, if only out of grim self-interest…

Read this and weep for a benighted land. Darkness has fallen over the prospect of future accomplishments until – and unless – women and men of good will take control of the political instruments remaining in the death-grip of petty bureaucrats. Those whose concept of self-interest has never expanded beyond self. Those whose only interest in evaluating corruption is how they may benefit themselves from the same corruption – when it’s “their” turn.

28 Countries Rate as High-Income in the OECD. Which Does the Worst Job of Reducing Income Inequality?

The US government, through its tax system and spending, does the least to reduce inequality among all high-income advanced economies. The US market income Gini coefficient, a measure of how equally income is distributed across the population before government policies take effect, decreases by 22 percent after taxes and transfers like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The average reduction for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is 37 percent.


Click to enlargePIIE Chart by Melina Kolb

And the corporate pimps working for Trump in Congress want to make it worse.

The GOP deserves to die

❝ This is the sorry culmination of two trends that have disfigured the conservative movement: contempt for the facts and desire to win at all costs.

You may have thought that Republicans had sunk as low as they could possibly go last year when they nominated for the presidency a man who was singularly unfit, morally and mentally, for that post. But, no, once you start racing to the bottom you never quite stop. There is always another level of degeneracy to be plumbed.

❝ You may have thought that Republicans had sunk as low as they could possibly go last year when they nominated for the presidency a man who was singularly unfit, morally and mentally, for that post. But, no, once you start racing to the bottom you never quite stop. There is always another level of degeneracy to be plumbed.

RTFA. Here’s the link, again. There are 30 witnesses on the record about the latest charges against Moore. The foolishness of clerical fascism he endorses over the US Constitution would be sufficient in most states outside the Confederacy to disqualify him from office. The Republican Party simply doesn’t give a hoot.