News & Politics

Paul Krugman: The GOP Must Detest the Working Class

The language of Republicans' regressive new tax bill points to one logical conclusion.

Photo Credit: swisseconomic/Flickr Creative Commons

In 2012, House Republican leader Eric Cantor managed to wish the country a happy Labor Day without acknowledging a single American laborer. "Today," he tweeted at the time, "we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success." 

If the omission was a snafu, it was an "instructive" one, as Paul Krugman writes in his Thursday column. The GOP despises the working class, routinely seeking to "afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable."

The Trump administration is no exception, despite the Republican nominee's populist posturing on the campaign trail. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is slowly winding its way to the president's desk, will prove a windfall to multinational corporations and business owners at their employees' expense. 

"While some of this tax cut might trickle down in the form of higher wages, the consensus among tax economists is that most of the break will accrue to shareholders as opposed to workers," Krugman writes. "So it’s mainly a tax cut for investors, not people who work for a living."

Compounding matters, the legislation provides a huge tax break to business owners as opposed to wage earners, meaning a real estate development firm could pay significantly less than a surgeon at a hospital or an attorney employed by a law firm making the same amount. It's almost as though the legislation were written specifically to enrich the Trump family.

"If this sounds like bad policy, that’s because it is," Krugman continues. "More than that, it opens the doors to an orgy of tax avoidance. Suppose that I could get The Times to stop paying me a salary, and instead to pay the same amount to Krugmanomics LLC, a consulting firm consisting of one person—me—that sells opinion pieces. I would probably get a big tax break as a result."

The Bush tax cuts were broadly popular, at least at first, before the economy tanked. The Trump plan, by contrast, is polling in the low 30s, according to two recent polls from USA Today/Suffolk University and Marist University. Ultimately, Krugman believes Republicans just can't help themselves: "Their disdain for ordinary working Americans as opposed to investors, heirs, and business owners runs so deep that they can’t contain it."

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


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Jacob Sugarman is the acting managing editor at Truthdig.