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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

 

Heaven's, tax cuts are delicious with applesauce or pudding

by Tom Sullivan

The cultish economic beliefs and behavior of many conservatives and their political party of choice has not gone unnoticed here. The Midas cult, as I've called it for years, seems determined to turn every human interaction into a transaction. Anything that can be can be turned into profit (underpants?) must be, or else the gods will punish us for our crimes against capitalism.

"Money answereth all things," (Ecclesiastes 10:19), a shameless radio evangelist once preached while hawking his "prosperity plan," i.e., send your prayers to God and send your money to me. With the exception of the sitting president, the GOP leadership, its consultants and mega-donors simply wear better-fitting suits.

But the behavior among the Republican faithful today moves beyond the worship of the golden calf to something darker still. It has not gone unnoticed among conservatives who have so far avoided the prion-tainted venison.

Thanks to Cliff Schecter (UnPresidented podcast, "The Real McCain") for noticing an op-ed in Forbes by Chris Ladd. Identified as a "recovering Republican," Ladd wonders how far members of the party of Donald Trump and Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama are from castrating themselves, downing poisoned applesauce, and waiting for God's flying saucer to ferry them up to the comet:

The same magical reasoning infects Republicans tax reform plans. We are in the eighth year of continuous job growth, the eighth year of economic expansion, and the eighth year of a head-spinning stock market boom. Corporate profits are at record levels and the economy has been redlining at full-employment for almost three years. By any marginally credible economic reasoning, this would be an ideal moment to raise taxes, curb debt, make investments in public infrastructure, and just generally do the things one does at the peak of a long economic expansion.

At this moment, why are Republicans trying to slash taxes for the wealthy? Why would someone castrate themselves and commit suicide? Because that’s what the cult demands.

There are no bright economic minds suggesting that this is a good idea. There is no difference of opinion among sane, credible people about whether America needs a massive tax cut for the rich. An effort by Republican leaders to claim support among economists devolved into unabashed lying. One of the “economists” listed as a supporter, Gil Sylvia, has yet to be identified and may not even exist. When one of the president’s minions pitched this idiotic tax plan to a panel of American CEO’s - men who will be getting fat tax cuts - they balked. In public. On camera. Director Cohn’s stunned response after soliciting their backing should be etched on the tombstone of the former Party of Lincoln, “Why aren’t the other hands up?”

Cohn didn’t pause to hear their answer, because that isn’t how a cult works. Like a Soviet Commissar, he wasn’t soliciting feedback but measuring loyalty. He noted the disbelief of the apostates and simply moved on in righteous oblivion. No reasoning accessible on the plane of logical thought supports this plan, just like no one outside the cult would ever let Roy Moore make decisions on their behalf. Tax cuts, along with slashing government services, ending government support for health insurance, burning more coal, and a whole collection of other loony ideas, are now unconsidered articles of faith. Republican Jesus wants a tax cut. The faithful will comply.
But it's not a just a backsliding, "former GOP Precinct Committeeman" who knows madness when he sees it.

Conservative columnist Michael Gerson pleads in the Washington Post for "social solidarity — an economic system that allows everyone to live lives of dignity." But such talk angers the Market gods worshipped by the House and Senate majority. The cult will seat a pederast if that's what it takes to appease them. The gods demands sacrifice. Yours.
How is this for symbolism: In their tax bill, Senate Republicans gave a break to private jet owners but refused to increase the corporate rate by 0.94 percentage points to cover the cost of helping an estimated 12 million working-class families. The 20 percent corporate rate, Rubio and Lee were told, was sacrosanct, nonnegotiable — until the day after the vote, when President Trump conceded it may need to rise anyway. What drives many elected Republicans to embody every destructive, plutocratic stereotype? Do they really need to wear spats and a top hat every time they appear in public?
Decades of fear-mongering have turned the party into "a white nationalist cult," Ladd believes. All it needed was the right cult leader to exploit fears that changing times meant plutocrats and Dixiecrats would have to share the country with the wrong people. "The Party of Lincoln now exists to help Neo-Confederates win the Civil War politically, long after losing it on the battlefield," Ladd concludes.

With a backpedaling RNC now all in on supporting Moore's candidacy, Lincoln's heirs signaled they are just fine with the South rising again.

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Request a copy of For The Win, my county-level election mechanics primer, at tom.bluecentury at gmail.