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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Reprinted with permission from UExpress.

In 1909, President William Howard Taft, a Republican, proposed an income tax on corporations. Such a tax required the passage of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and when the amendment gained the required state support, a permanent federal income tax was born.

It’s nigh impossible to imagine a sitting Republican president mounting such a campaign now. The 21st-century Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, the empire of the insanely rich and ultra-conservative Koch brothers. In its current iteration, the party’s only permanent principle is to cut taxes for the nation’s one-percenters. Its elected representatives seem to believe that those who have profited most from America’s favorable economic environment, including President Donald J. Trump, have the least responsibility to maintain and nurture it.

That’s an assault on longstanding American traditions, an attack on the vaunted ideal of equal opportunity, an explosive device aimed at the middle class. It’s also a surefire recipe for the decline of the GOP, if this week’s (Nov. 7) election results are any indication. Trump’s low approval ratings clearly helped defeat Republican candidates around the country. The idea of lowering taxes on the filthy rich — very unpopular among voters, including those who identify as Republicans, according to polls — is unlikely to help GOP candidates do much better in next year’s midterm congressional elections.

Many economists believe that the growing problem of income inequality has been made worse by tax policy that favors the wealthy. (As just one example, working-class men and women pay a heftier portion of their incomes in Social Security taxes than do more affluent workers.) The Republicans’ tax plans — the House and Senate have slightly different versions — would so tilt the playing field toward the very rich that the average man or woman would never have a chance to catch up.

The Brookings Institution’s nonpartisan tax experts estimate that the House plan would confer 80 percent of its benefits — 80 percent! — on the richest 1 percent of households. Conservatives like to argue that they favor taxation that encourages work and discourages indolence. But what about the indolence of the trust fund babies, the super-rich scions who inherit their wealth? The House tax plan would give them a break worth $172.2 billion over 10 years, according to Brookings.

Those “trustafarians,” as I like to call them, have done absolutely nothing to earn their riches. They haven’t started a company, invented a marvelous digital device or found a cure for cancer. They’re just members of the Lucky Sperm Club, people born with silver spoons in their mouths.

The Republican Party has long been associated with the wealthy, but it was also long associated with fiscal restraint, a reasoned outlook toward science and an internationalist approach to foreign policy. It has jettisoned all but its subservience to the super-rich, who want massive tax cuts above all else.

Remember when the GOP stood for reining in the budget deficit? Remember conservatives who insisted that the towering national debt represented a grave threat to the health of the nation?

Throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure, Republicans hounded him about spending — so much that his economic stimulus plan was not nearly as generous as it should have been. He wanted Republican votes to pass the plan, and the GOP insisted on a stingy proposal. Similarly, the Affordable Care Act is as complicated and convoluted as it is because Obama was trying to lure GOP votes. He didn’t get any, but Obamacare was a careful balancing act — paying for subsidies to buy insurance with a tailored set of tax increases. The ACA didn’t add a dime to the federal debt.

But worrying about budget deficits is so 2009. U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has acknowledged that the House tax cuts would add $1.51 trillion (yes, that’s the T-word) to the federal debt over 10 years. The nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says it’s more likely to be $2 trillion.

Apparently, that’s OK as long as the rich get richer. That’s the only principle the Republican Party has left.

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15 responses to “Modern Republicans Stand For Exactly One Thing”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Deficit spending, accumulation of debt, and borrowing are only evil concepts when a Democrat is in the White House or when Dems control Congress. It is, otherwise, a fantastic idea justified by the claim that corporate and elitist welfare will inevitably filter down to the middle class in the form of more jobs. Small matters, such as the fact that some of the beneficiaries of GOP fiscal largess are foreign investors, or the fact that much of the windfall produced by the latest gift to the super rich will be invested or spent overseas, are just ignored or ridiculed. Heck, we have to go no further than consider the comment The Donald made in China when he said that “He is OK with China taking advantage of the USA” to understand the extent of GOP hypocrisy, idiocy, recklessness, and greed.

  2. timmfr30 says:

    the “trustafarians” goal in life is to protect their wealth…

  3. Although materialism as a way of life is prominent in American society and in the West in general, it also features to a somewhat lesser degree in the affairs of other nations and regions on the planet.

    But the Republican Party stands out in my estimation as being extremely avid in aggravating a source of divisiveness that holds back the progress of not only America, but the rest of the world. That source of divisiveness is represented in its present form in the party called The Republican Party. Not that the Democrats are the opposite, for they too have as an entity chosen to engage in widening the chasm between the rich and the poor.

    When Baha’u’llah drew attention to this flash point of future divisions and contention, He had in mind the existence of the two classes of people in society: The inordinate rich, and those in extreme poverty. His aim and purpose is to alert us to the danger of such a grave disparity, rather than to chastise those who are well off or cause extra alarm over those who have to struggle harder to make ends meet but nonetheless are capable of achieving that end.

    The elimination of the “extremes” of wealth and poverty is Baha’u’llah’s admonition and warning.

    For this disparity is at the root of most conflicts that have occurred in human history, and more so today, now that most of the wealthiest people in the world have a wealth that makes the rich of the past seem like paupers by today’s standards. Even the kings of yesteryear would have a hard time keeping up with the likes of the Koch’s and grifters like Steve Bannon, Putin, Trump, and most Congressmen.

    • TZToronto says:

      One of the more aggravating aspects of Republicans’ raison d’être, enriching the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, is their continued insistence that their policies are not intended to do just that. When one listens to GOP mouthpieces talk about their tax plan, they always boast about how almost everyone will get a tax cut. They never mention the dollar amounts involved. It sounds really good–middle class people will save some money! Yup, maybe a couple of hundred dollars to help keep price creep at bay for a month or two. They never mention the extra millions that the uber-rich will receive in perpetuity to move up from an 80-foot yacht to a 120-foot yacht (which they maintain bit rarely use). And they certainly don’t mention those living in poverty, the ones who currently pay nothing in income tax now. How will their lives be improved when the social benefits they currently receive are discontinued? Those who can think can see a future in which budget shortfalls, due to insufficient taxation, are used to justify eliminating Medicare, Medicaid, Social Secutity, and all other programs that help make life possible for people who are not wealthy.

      • The GOP has been able to hoodwink itself into thinking that Reagan’s trickle-down harebrained scheme would work. Reagan’s feat of self-deception by thinking that the rich who consider themselves conservative would gladly and instinctively want to put money back into society is amazing.

  4. bobnstuff says:

    I remember when the republican party was the party of intellectuals and elitists. Now it’s become the party of stupid and is full of the minions of the rich. I give Reagan credit for dumbing down the party. Can you see Goldwater as part of the modern republican party? It’s sad to see a party that once could create the interstate highway system and the EPA unable to do anything but feed their wealthy friends.

    • Sand_Cat says:

      Don’t know whether Goldwater and Lincoln would quit in disgust before being expelled.

      • Independent1 says:

        Sandy, today’s GOP is not the same party that Lincoln belonged to. Remember, Lincoln commanded the Union Army which comprised most of what are today’s blue states; it was the Southern, Confederate states, that support today’s GOP which Lincoln fought against.

        The party’s kind of switched sides when the Dems supported the Civil Rights law and what was the base of the Democrat party back in the 1960s decided they didn’t want any part of being Dems anymore so the party’s switched sides but not names. (Lincoln fought to free the slaves and it’s today’s Democrat party that does most of the fighting for equality in America.)

    • Reagan opened up the floodgates for this epic ongoing evisceration of the GOP.
      He bears a great deal of responsibility for having led the GOP into a wilderness of crass materialism.
      And yet, the GOP has no clue of the draining away of their humanity.

      • bobnstuff says:

        Reagan started the slid to the clueless party, he intentionally dumbed down the government. Since then there have been a number for sources that have pushed it along. Talk radio is one and the people that took over the tea party is another. The tabloid conservatives now have to much power in the party.

  5. One can’t help but notice the obvious—That the Republican Party is losing its humanity with each passing election cycle.

    Over the decades this Party has become increasingly resigned, with a lustful nature, to be as greedy as humans can be. No longer possessing any sense of shame on this account, a quality which all humans have at the ready to display, and which is one of the unique qualities separating humans from animals. the GOP chooses to be more like the animal than expressing their human qualities with wild abandon and no signs of remorse.

    And since 2008, this decaying of the humanity of the GOP has kicked into a higher gear. That anyone could still feel no remorse in being associated with the GOP is a sure sign of having descended into a downward and dangerous trend, undergoing a transformation from sublimity and an angelic quality to abasement and a satanic disposition.

    The ramifications for one’s soul is hard to quantify, nor does any mortal been granted the right look beyond that milestone called Death, and to know exactly what circumstances await the soul after departing the physical realm. But all the Messengers have made allusions and hints as to the importance of preparing one’s self before reaching that last outpost in this earthly existence.

    Baha’u’llah offers a degree of further insight up to a point, and which serves as a warning that the outcome won’t be a pleasant one, nor will the soul that failed to equip itself with spiritual virtues have the opportunity to return to the material realm where the acquisition of such attributes were the sole reason for being transferred into this earthly realm to begin our journey throughout the endless realms beyond. As a child can’t reenter the womb of the mother to acquire the faculty of sight, for example, which may not have developed sufficiently while the child was physically an embryo, so the physical being once outside the “womb” of physical existence which we call the contingent world can’t return to that “womb” to acquire virtues it refused to develop once it departs through the door of “Death” into the new worlds beyond.

    Being so dedicated to being immersed and drowning in the ocean of materialism, the GOP has lost all abilities or desire to sever itself from the habit of accruing wealth. Their entire focus centers on the here and now, totally oblivious to the importance of making the development of severance from monetary affairs as a crucial centerpiece of being human.

  6. CommonSenseAlGuy says:

    Yep… party of the rich and they are doing surprisingly well… all that $$$ is used to convince (brainwash) people into voting for them.

  7. ORAXX says:

    Republicans continue to push the fantasy upper income tax cuts pay for themselves with growth, even though it’s never happened before, and there’s no good reason to think it will ever happen. The resulting deficit and debt spikes will, of course, be seen as reasons to gut the social safety net.

  8. HowardBrazee says:

    You’re correct in that it has given up on fiscal responsibility. It also has given up on “states’ rights”. But it stands for racism, and against gun control even as it does the bidding of its Big Money owners.

  9. After further thought about this growing and burdensome amorality which the GOP gladly wraps itself in I am reminded of a similar attitude seen in the Gulf Arab countries. While driving around in taxis and with guides in Doha, in Musqat and Salalah, Oman, the vast majority of workers doing heavy and menial work were from South Asian countries. The Gulf Arab men mostly avoid the type of work needed to maintain the municipalities’ infrastructure—it’s considered beneath them. The work is perceived as fit only for lower-class people from other nations who are desperate for income, and for Palestinians as well.

    A similar dichotomy exists among Americans who are either well-to-do, or those who like to pretend they are too hoity toity to perform hard work—they would prefer to let others who are deemed as lower status do the onerous less glamorous jobs, while at the same time like to complain about their presence.

    The GOP is encouraging this attitude, which mirrors to a large degree the attitudes of the wealthier members of Gulf Arab societies. This natural tendency of the GOP to maintain a rigid class structure, with a spectrum of filthy rich, wealthy, upper middle-class, middle, and impoverished, as if this were a mandate from God. A mandate they are extremely happy to enforce, and which many an unthinking conservative near the bottom of this structure are all too eager to participate in this divisive strategy.

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