Paul Krugman Reveals the Despicable Motivations Behind Trump's Most Powerful GOP Supporters
Paul Krugman is tired of mincing words about Donald Trump, "an ignorant, wildly dishonest, erratic, immature, bullying egomaniac." And he is even more damning in Friday's column about the fact that most senior Republicans, especially House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, are still supporting him even with this week's despicable threat of violence against Hillary Clinton.
Why are they still supporting him? In Krugman's view, because their proposals are con jobs, and all they want to do is reduce taxes on the rich, which will be much harder to do if Clinton wins. That's the short answer.
Krugman suggests that the key to Republican thinking lies in one number: 34.
What’s that? It’s the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the average federal tax rate for the top 1 percent in 2013, the latest year available. And it’s up from just 28.2 in 2008, because President Obama allowed the high-end Bush tax cuts to expire and imposed new taxes to pay for a dramatic expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Taxes on the really, really rich have gone up even more.
If Hillary Clinton wins, taxes on the elite will at minimum stay at this level, and may even go up significantly if Democrats do well enough in congressional races to enable her to pass new legislation. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that her tax plan would raise the average tax rate for the top 1 percent by another 3.4 percentage points, and the rate for the top 0.1 percent by five points.
But if “populist” Donald Trump wins, taxes on the wealthy will go way down; in particular, Mr. Trump is calling for elimination of the inheritance tax, which these days hits only a tiny number of really yuuuge estates (a married couple doesn’t pay any tax unless its estate is worth more than $10.9 million).
So if you’re wealthy, or you’re someone who has built a career by reliably serving the interests of the wealthy, the choice is clear—as long as you don’t care too much about stuff like shunning racism, preserving democracy and freedom of religion, or for that matter avoiding nuclear war, Mr. Trump is your guy.
Preserving inherited wealth in a nutshell is the mainstay of the conservative movement. How noble!
How shocked should we really be that politicians and pundits who embrace that morally bankrupt and inherently racist priority would make the "devil's bargain" they have made with Trump?
Not at all. It's been in the making since Nixon's "Southern Strategy," Krugman points out. Lest you doubt him, he cites Avik Roy, a leading Republican health-policy expert, one of the rare conservaitves who is ready to fess up, admitting recently that “in reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”
Krugman's scathing conclusion: "All that has happened this year is a move of those white nationalists from part of the supporting cast to a starring role. So when Republicans who went along with the earlier strategy draw the line at Mr. Trump, they’re not really taking a stand on principle; they’re just complaining about the price. And the party’s top leadership isn’t even willing to do that."
No matter what happens in this election, we need to remember that.