Political Economy category archive
The Republican Party controls the Congress and the White House (though, in the case of the latter, “controls” may not be the correct term). They got no one else to blame, but, natch, they will certainly blame away, blame away, blame away, Dixiel–sorry, got distracted. I wonder whatever it may be about Republicans that led me to free-associate to that tune?
Bobby Azarian analyzes the news and suggests five psychological traits that characterize Donald Trump’s core supporters.
Note that these are technical terms and may not necessarily mean what they would in normal parlance. For example, “relative deprivation” does not mean that some is deprived; rather, it means that he or she thinks he or she is deprived relative to some other group (say, for example, black folks or millennials, whatever they are).
Here’s the thumbnail; follow the link for a discussion of each one.
- 1. Authoritarian Personality Syndrome
- 2. Social dominance orientation
- 3. Prejudice
- 4. Intergroup contact
- 5. Relative deprivation
Thom discusses the sleight-of-underhand political strategy of the proponents of oligarchy.
At The Nation, Edward Burmila looks at the social assumptions underlaying the Republican tax deform bill. A snippet:
I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.
Upon first reading, I knew I had seen this comment somewhere before. It turns out Grassley was channeling the British economist Thomas Malthus in his seminal Essay on the Principle of Population (1798):
The labouring poor, to use a vulgar expression, seem always to live from hand to mouth. Their present wants employ their whole attention, and they seldom think of the future. Even when they have an opportunity of saving they seldom exercise it, but all that is beyond their present necessities goes, generally speaking, to the ale house.
Malthus spoke to a common mindset among the upper classes that the poor were beyond help. Poverty, it was widely believed, was a sign of a weakness, . . .
Via Gin and Tacos.
Jay Bookman offers a theory as to why the Republican Party went all in for the tax deform bill. A snippet:
My conclusion is that they fear their own donors more than they fear the American voter. And that’s a helluva thing. Republican leadership believes that if they reward their donor class with this tax bill, that donor class will return the favor with billions of dollars in campaign cash that can be used to distract, delude and dazzle. To put it bluntly, they are betting their careers and power on the belief that the United States of America is no longer a democratic republic but effectively a plutocracy.
In related news, Robert Reich runs the numbers.
Josh Marshall tries to make sense of the Republican Party’s rush to rape the middle and lower classes with its tax bill. A snippet (emphasis added):
You can see this writ large and small through the passage of this bill. Tax reform in any real sense has as a primary goal – perhaps the primary goal – reducing the ways in which different kinds of income or income that is structured in different ways get taxed at different rates. This bill does the exact opposite. What this means is that the effect of the bill will be an initial period of confusion (when people try to figure out their tax liabilities) followed by a bonanza for those who are the most aggressive and canny about exploiting these complexities for tax avoidance. After the confusion/bonanza cycle plays out you eventually settle down to an economy filled with inefficiencies and distortions which an effective tax regime should attempt to limit and in which the super wealthy benefit more at the expense of everyone else. ‘Reform’ is an inevitably plastic concept. But in any sense of what ‘tax reform’ has ever meant, this is the precise opposite.
The Republican tax deform bill is to the poor and middle class what Harvey Weinstein was to women.
In related news, Will Bunch comments on Republican profiles in courage:
To anyone who insists there’s no such thing as an honest Republican, I present you with Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma. Cole went on CNBC the other day to confess that he doesn’t know much about the economics of the massive tax overhaul he’s about to vote for – and that what little he does understand, he doesn’t much like. But he said he understands the most important thing is to not cross his tribe.
More courageousness at the link.