Paul Krugman: The GOP Could Create a Plutocracy That Lasts a Generation

According to the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll, a staggering 45 percent of voters support the GOP's latest proposal to overhaul the American tax system. While the results reflect a 3 percent dip since the House GOP introduced its legislation, that lofty figure suggests the public possesses a flimsy grasp of what the bill actually contains—and how it might hurt them personally. 

In his Tuesday column, the New York Times' Paul Krugman urges his readers to take a closer look at the fine print. Mitch McConnell recently conceded that he "misspoke" when he said no one in the country would be facing a tax hike. But that deception only represents a "small part of what's really going on here."

"Many of the tricks Republicans are using come right out of the Bush administration’s playbook in 2001 and 2003," Krugman writes. "Tax breaks that phase in or out to make the 10-year budget impact look smaller? Check. Misleading examples and calculations to give the false impression of a tax cut for the middle class? Check. Pretending that tax cuts come free, that they won’t eventually have to be offset by cuts to popular programs? Check, again."

A rehashing of failed economic policy would be calamitous in its own right, but the Trump tax plan adds a few new disastrous wrinkles. Not only does it aim to protect the fortunes of the country's wealthiest families through a repeal of the estate tax, it also takes punitive measures against the middle class. As many as half of families with children could see a tax hike by the time the plan is fully implemented, while deductibles for college loans and education expenses would be eliminated.

"So this isn’t just ordinary class warfare; it’s class warfare aimed at perpetuating inequality into the next generation," Krugman continues. "Taken together, the elements of both the House and the Senate bills amount to a more or less systematic attempt to lavish benefits on the children of the ultra-wealthy while making it harder for less fortunate young people to achieve upward social mobility."

Ultimately, the GOP couldn't make its intentions any clearer.

"The tax legislation Republicans are trying to ram through Congress with indecent haste," Krugman concludes, "looks an awful lot like an attempt not simply to reinforce plutocracy, but to entrench a hereditary plutocracy."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.


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