Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Three Card Monte of Republican Tax "Reform"

Republican tax reform [sic] always means tax cuts, first of all.

Tax cuts means tax cuts for the rich, not for working people or the middle class, at least not significantly, and certainly not guaranteed.

So the Republicans negotiate a "Tax Reform" bill with Democrats, who demand that it contain some benefits for working people and the middle class, things that will help restore the economic balance, fixing the imbalances caused by the top-favoring of 35 years of Republican tax and labor policies.

After the bill is passed, if it is passed, there are mechanisms in the bill, put there by “strict budget disciplinarians” to claw back any benefits that are judged "unaffordable." (Insincere Sad Face)

These middle class benefits in the tax reform [sic] bill will be judged unaffordable when, quelle surprise, it turns out tax cuts do not actually result in revenue increases. So obligations to working people are always unaffordable and promises made to working people are always contingent and easily backed out of. Benefits to rich people are always sacred and guaranteed. This became true in the years since 1980 when Reaganomics became an American religion, a fake promise.

This fake promising is similar to the way back-end participation works in Hollywood: you are promised profit participation on the profits of a blockbuster film but these profits are carefully wiped out by the payouts distributed to the producers further up the food chain, after which there is seldom any left. (Insincere Sad Face)

It is also similar to the way Donald Trump’s many many independent contractors were left unpaid by Trump Inc. “Sorry. None left. Sue me.” (Trump doesn't pretend to be sad he can't pay, he just smiles.)

When this kind of scheme enables the Republicans in government to screw the working people and pay off the rich it has twin benefits (for Republicans): it makes the rich clientele very happy and likelier to share their booty in the form of campaign donations and lucrative jobs on retirement, while making working people hate government, which is the second most important objective of the Republicans, who hate government.

There is the phrase Republicans once used to demonize Democratic tax policy: the Two Santa Clauses. The Democratic Santa offers government help to the less fortunate. The Republican Santa offers tax cuts to the more fortunate, but also to the middle classes who feel the tax burden and buy the idea that lower taxes raise dividends.

But the Republicans have turned this on its head. They do deliver like Santa to the rich, but they also benefit by turning the Democratic Santa into a Democratic villain who demands taxes, who gouges the middle classes via taxes, and whose payout to the middle class and working people is unaffordable because the Republicans have already paid it out to their clients. And the Republicans make damn sure the taxes on Democrats rise every year as the taxes on Republicans go down, or at on least rich Republicans. When Republicans see their taxes go up they ALWAYS blame Democrats.

So the benefits of tax cuts and easy evasions and wonderful tax subsidies to the rich are ironclad and eternal whether the federal budget is fully funded or short of cash. Cuts are sacred and guaranteed.

Meanwhile the benefits to the people who work for a living are contingent upon how well the budgets balance out, similar to the way Trump screws his contractors and film companies screw the less preferred classes of producers and profit participants. The phrase “Sorry, but we can’t afford it” is often used. And the middle class being screwed understands the phrase. It's too familiar. It's a part of the game.

The rich are entitled to their tax free ride because their entitlement is figured out first. Once they’ve eaten their fill the leftovers are counted out for the less rich and there is seldom enough left to fulfill those obligations.

Again. Rich entitlements are sacred and guaranteed. Payouts always begin at the top.

Working class entitlements are contingent and often reneged on. The way Trump screws the people he hires. The way the rich have screwed working people for centuries.

Promise and fail to deliver. This is done in a planned and deliberate way.

This ritual doesn’t stain the rich who ate all the working class entitlements (who demanded to eat those entitlements, who demonized those entitlements in careful ways over recent decades) it stains the government, helping to teach generations of working people that government is not to be trusted., that government is a thief, that government is the enemy.

After all, it was the government who stepped in and began passing laws to hoist the workers out of permanent poverty. That is how the rich learned to hate government: because it was a better Santa Claus than the rich employers were who tossed out niggling scraps at Christmastime but screwed the poor the rest of the year. The rich needed to make their benefits immune from workers’ hatred and opposition and needed to kill the liberal/progressive Santa Claus of government, who was more than a gift giver, he was also a Superman, a hero, a protector, a guarantor of fair play in the economy. Fair play was and is anathema to the rich and their Republican agents.

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