I Don’t Get It

There’s a pretty robust public debate–in which I’ve engaged–about the refusal of congressional Republicans to even consider raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That debate has centered around the practicality and morality of their position: practically, government needs the revenue that would be raised by what would historically be considered a very minimal raise in the rate; morally, it seems truly wrong to demand yet more sacrifice from the beleaguered middle class while giving the rich a pass.

That debate is worth having, but what I don’t get is the politics of the position.

I understand that the people who fund GOP campaigns–the Kochs, the Scaifs, etc.–look favorably upon the Republican position. And I understand that money matters (far more than it should or than it used to, thanks to Citizens United). But I can’t believe that a political party can win a national election on a platform that advocates hollowing out the public purposes of government–“starving the beast” is the way Grover Norquist puts it–in order to protect the pocket-change of the powerful.

Leave aside whether the GOP position makes any economic or moral sense. I can’t imagine it making political┬ásense. You can rename plutocrats “job creators” all you want, but it is pretty clear that they aren’t creating any jobs (at least not here in the US), and without that rather thin defensive reed to lean on, it is hard to envision any but the most ideologically rigid buying that snake-oil.

What am I missing?


  1. The only “job creators” are consumers. Henry Ford understood this a century ago, when he paid his workers $5 a day to make a car they could afford to buy on a wage of $5 a day. He knew that his actions would drive up prevailing wages everywhere, to the point more could afford to buy his cars.

    It truly does not matter how brilliant the entrepreneur, nor how marvelous the product, if nobody can afford to buy it. On the other hand, Americans have shown a consistent (and ultimately tragic) willingness to spend every available penny they have, even if they have to blow it on Snuggies and spray-on hair.

    The only “job creators” are consumers. As long as Republicans argue for a policy that takes money from consumers and puts it in the pockets of “entrepreneurs,” both will ultimately fail. But the real plutocrats, the people who don’t make or sell anything other than the money they already own, will laugh all the way to the bank.

  2. David has hit the nail on the head.

    I think what you’re missing, Sheila, is not really missing at all–as I see it, the problem we have is that the number one goal of our Representatives and Senators is to get re-elected. They need the campaign donations to do that, so they cannot afford to alienate those with the money.

  3. If my choice is depending upon corrupt government versus corrupt business to create jobs-I favor corrupt business.

    Or, am I to put my allegiance with a cart, and sit upon it waiting for creation of a horse?

    You want to pursue the irresponsibility that breeds corruption in both government and business, the rich, poor and in-between? I’m for that candidate as well. If we can do that across all demographics, we truly might be able to muster an egalitarian society based upon universal productivity (to pay for our universal “rights”).

    Big banks getting secret trillion dollar loans while half of America doesn’t have to pay federal income tax doesn’t get us there.

Comments are closed.