Republicans Admit Their Tax Plan Is All About Rich Donors

By Peter Certo | ( | – –

It’s unpopular. It’s expensive. But the donors want it.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that people in “real America” with “real jobs” don’t while away their mortal hours reading about politics. But God help me, if you’ve suffered through any coverage of the Republican tax plan, you’ve probably heard three things.

First, it’ll dramatically slash taxes on corporations and billionaires, raise them for nearly a third of us in the middle class, and blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the deficit.

Second, it’s unpopular. Less than a third of Americans support it, Reuters reports. That’s worse than Trump’s own approval rating, which remains mired in the 30s.

And third, the Republicans who control Congress believe it simply must pass.

In fact, this third point sets the tenor for the entire debate. “Republicans are desperate to rack up a legislative win after a series of embarrassing failures,” TIME observes. “If tax reform doesn’t pass, many in the party fear an all-out revolt in 2018.”

“All of us realize that if we fail on taxes, that’s the end of the Republican Party’s governing majority in 2018,” South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham told Fox News recently. In fact, “that’s probably the end of the Republican Party as we know it.”

If the tax giveaway doesn’t pass, adds Utah Republican Mike Lee, “We might as well pack up our tent and go home.”

The thing is, that doesn’t make any sense. Gallup polls have shown over and over that most Americans think rich people and corporations should pay more, not less. Even a majority of Republican voters worry about what this wealth grab will do to the deficit.

If they were looking for a win, then, Republicans would be running against their own plan. So what gives?

Well, New York Republican Chris Collins recently offered a clue: “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’” Ah!

Many voters in Collins’ high-tax district will likely pay more, since the GOP wants to end federal deductions for state and local taxes. But it doesn’t have a lick to do with voters. It has everything to do with the affluent donors who bankroll GOP campaigns.

A similar dynamic played out in the health care debate. GOP leaders trotted out plan after plan that would eliminate coverage for anywhere from 20 to 24 million Americans — plans that never topped the low 20s in public support.

But those plans would have reduced taxes on the wealthy. So they had to pass.

“Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who has been deeply involved in health policy for years, told reporters back home that he could count 10 reasons the new health proposal should not reach the floor,” the New York Times reported back in September, “but that Republicans needed to press ahead regardless.”

When those bills met their righteous demise, elite GOP fundraising took a huge dive. Senate Republicans lost $2 million in planned contributions alone, The Hill noted this summer. Fundraising in those months fell some $5 million below where it had been in the spring.

So there it is, team: Follow the money. It’s no wonder Princeton researchers found a few years ago that rich people matter to Congress, but ordinary folks generally don’t. That’s probably why many of us prefer to tune it out entirely.

It’s also exactly why we do have to pay attention. Especially in those rare moments when members admit exactly what’s going on.



Related video added by Juan Cole:

Vox: “Republicans admit that ceos and donors really need the tax cut bill to pass — or else”

Posted in Plutocracy | 4 Responses | Print |

4 Responses

  1. But that begs the question: why is the money of the rich needed to win elections more than popular policies?

    Logically, it means the voters, or at least the voters they need, do not vote based on objective policy effects, but on something that money can buy.

    The money buys advertising. Not just the campaign ads, but the false think tanks and Astroturf groups, and advertising that keeps countless right-wing radio shows and Christian-right tv channels and Fox News on the air doing their thing.

    What the ads and the ideological media have in common is that they don’t talk issues. They talk threats and enemies and mistrust. With a big enough pile of money, you can make any Congressional election about anything but issues. And the unfortunate opponents have no choice but to fight back on that same subjective battleground. There’s no better way to sow mistrust in the absence of hard facts than to paint someone as a hypocrite.

    Technically, Roy Moore’s apparent horrendous past behavior is not an issue in his being in the Senate, other than that it absolutely exemplifies his general theocratic patriarchic view of the American “way of life”. But that’s too complicated to get across to low-info unaligned voters who are the only thing that can stop him, so we call him a hypocrite instead. He’s already gotten as far as he has by making elections into a stark choice between his neo-Confederate fantasy world and a modern reality that voters hate but can’t articulate objective solutions for.

    But calling people hypocrites is exactly what the Right wants in the long run, because its opposition research can always prove that we’re all hypocrites. They can trust their base to vote for hypocrites on the grounds that they’re in a crusade for “survival” and their radio/Christian/Fox trusted wise men reassure them that this hypocrite will do the awful things that must be done. But making a Democrat out to be a hypocrite leaves all his/her potential voters unsure of what he/she will do in office.

  2. for quite awhile the ‘international community -‘it is not a new revelation – has looked upon the united states as a capitalistic corporate machine – evolving ever faster as it has openly thrown honesty, ethics, and morals out the window as fast as possible for the prize is power and money. taking it to extremes what is developing is a ruling wealthy class reflecting corporate interests and the rest of the population who are meant to serve under these interests for them and their proliferation. Sound familiar,

    i am very close to stopping my habit of reading the national and international daily news in any form. No matter what the source. its repeats and repeats itself, not just words but deeds done as well. It is very depressing to watch a country so undiplomatically betray what ideals it professed to represent. america has always been full of contradictions yet a few basic values appeared to be shared. The international community’s attention was first really drawn to the situation with Bush, nine eleven claims, and Iraq.
    I am also not condoning harassment or disrespect of women but americans go over-board on whatever current ‘wrong’ has caught their fleeting fancy. the amount of time your federal government spends pursuing or pretending to pursue misdeeds, not crimes usually, that used to appear in gossip colomns is considered peculiarly american. the world can be facing a nuclear war and they are concerned with the personal sex preferences of members of the government long long past . Newspapers gives less and less indepth coverage; have very little space or time, to pass on important international news to its population. it is at times such a contradiction; how cynical we read in the media is the attitude to the poor, climate change, education and how disgustingly forgiving to a president who does not know how to govern, etc. it remains an unanswered question in my mind, at least, to know what the united states represents as a power other than a ruthless capitalistic throwback to its earlier days but on a hugely expanded stage. Is it really impossible for human to transend their very basic instincts and natures for a quick and easy profit sacrificing even the planet they are lucky to live on. my reaction when there is bubbling enthusiasm over possible settlement of another planet is – yes another one to ruin and exploit as you have done to planet earth.

  3. USA political systems are irrevocably addicted to money; too much and from too few sources. Ideally political contributions should be limited, in amounts and only from individuals. The frightening outlook is that wealthy individuals, corporations, unions and special interest groups will not only continue to dominate politics but further tighten their stranglehold. When is it likely to change? Sadly, never!

  4. The wealthy have so much clout mostly because campaigns cost so much. Campaigns cost so much mostly because television ads cost so much. Since we own the broadcast spectrum, perhaps we should quit leasing it out so freely and cheaply.

    Suppose leases were let with conditions that included free and abundant advertising time to the candidates? Criteria would be needed for defining eligible candidates and the campaign season. Each candidate could be limited to equal ad time. They could be prohibited from buying more broadcast time for airing extra ads. Yes, SCOTUS decided money was free speech, and to that end candidates could spend all they wish on their allotted ads. Issue ads would need controls to preclude their use as campaign ad substitutes. Perhaps simply prohibit broadcasting all non-campaign ads except those explicitly selling a product. That would mean losing public service ads, but that seems a lesser loss than our democracy.

    The Fairness Doctrine would also need resurrecting. Otherwise, with different channels restrictively broadcasting tendentiously, viewers would see and hear propaganda megaphones that shout over the ads. Diversity of positions needs coverage on each channel, and the broadcast channels need more diversified ownership. No entity should monopolize any regional broadcast market, nor should any entity own a large fraction of the national market.

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