Trump’s Faux Tax Reform Plan and the Double Standard on Liberals Making Money
Yesterday we looked at how vociferously Obama was criticized for making money while on the Center Left.
This is a curious double standard. Yglesias talked about it. From my above link:
“The fundamental concept of Donald Trump’s ethnonationalist demagoguery is that white middle-class Americans are locked in a zero-sum conflict with foreigners and ethnic minority groups. That’s Marine Le Pen’s message in France and Geert Wilders’s message in the Netherlands, and it is ugly and false.”
“Obama and other center-left leaders around the world do not espouse that view primarily, I think, because they believe it is simplistic and wrong. But a crucial vulnerability of center-left politics around the world is that their sincere conviction — a faith in the positive-sum nature of cosmopolitan values and appropriately regulated forms of global capitalism, tempered by a welfare state — is easily mistaken for corruption. The political right is supposed to be pro-business as a matter of ideological commitment. The progressive center is supposed to be empirically minded, challenging business interests where appropriate but granting them free rein at other times.”
“This approach has a lot of political and substantive merits. But it is invariably subject to the objection: really?”
“Did you really avoid breaking up the big banks because you thought it would undermine financial stability, or were you on the take? Did you really think a fracking ban would be bad for the environment, or were you on the take? One man’s sophisticated and pragmatic approach to public policy can be the other man’s grab bag of corrupt opportunism.”
“Leaders who sincerely care about the fate of the progressive center as a nationally and globally viable political movement need to push back against this perception by behaving with a higher degree of personal integrity than their rivals — not by accepting the logic that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
Yglesias goes on to argue that Center left liberals-your Obamas, Clintons, Tony Blairs-made a big mistake in doing things like paid speeches, etc. Basically Yglesias argues that there is a double standard where liberals are judged more harshly. But they just have to accept this and play by these rules.
The notion that liberals must behave with higher integrity than their rivals is certainly a pretty convenient rule-for their rivals.
“Populist nationalists, for better or for worse, are held to a lower standard in this regard precisely because they are committed to a zero-sum politics. As Princeton University’s Jan-Werner Müller writes in his excellent short book on populist authoritarianism, “[T}he perception among supporters of populists is that corruption and cronyism are not genuine problems as long as they look like measures pursued for the sake of a moral, hardworking ‘us’ and not for the immoral or even foreign ‘them.’”
So supposedly liberals with money are suspect for favoring policies that aren’t in their own best interest while conservatives who support policies that are in their own best interest get a lot more latitude.
In fact wealthy liberals who seek higher taxes for themselves are people who really believe in US Government. As Obama himself used to say5/
— KG (@kmgunder) April 26, 2017
Speaking of which: Trump’s tax reform plan. Ok, it’s not really tax reform.
And it’s more about optics, of claiming he accomplished something, anything in his first 100 days-he didn’t.
But it’s also kind of eye opening. Trump’s tax plan would reduce rates from 7 to 3. The three rates would be: 35, 15, 10.
But the bottom two rates are already 15 and 10. So the lower income folks are getting no benefit. What will happen is a lot of much wealthier people will see their rates go down to 15. David Cay Johnston on Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night in Trump’s 2005 tax return, he paid 24%. Under this plan, they’d go down to 15%.
So it’s a huge tax cut for the rich but lower income folks get nothing.
Yet Hillary Clinton was accused of being the hypocrite and not Trump. Indeed, based on the Yglesias Rules, Trump got to run on being a billionaire, while expressing outrage that Hillary was a millionaire.
Yet she believed in progressive taxation. Her policies didn’t benefit herself economically. Yet the burden of proof is always on liberals like her, Bill, Obama, and Tony Blair.
As for the populists of the Left and Right they both fight the Center Left more than each other which benefits the Right time and again. But what they both share is opposition to pluralism. They believe in zero sum politics whether of ethnicity on the Right or the rich against everyone else on the Left.
Regarding complexity vs. fairness, see this Paul Waldman tweet:
Real talk: Fewer tax brackets wouldn't make taxes simpler for anyone. That's not where the complexity comes from.
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) April 27, 2017
But simplicity is one thing, fairness is another. What we want first and foremost is a fair tax system more than ‘simple.’ You can have a very simple-yet unfair tax system.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.