Every now and again, I have an original thought. One such, recently, was my idea that once the Republicans pass their enormous tax
reform giveaway to their donors, the outrageously rich and large corporations, they could then throw Trump “under the bus.” I wondered why I hadn’t heard any of the talking heads making this obvious point, but soon enough, they did.
But I haven’t heard anyone say the next obvious possibility. Trump, as a defensive maneuver, might surprise us all and actually veto their tax plan, so as to not make himself superfluous. That is, once he signs the big french kiss to the wealtheist Americans, the Republicans can then drop kick him and his odious family to the curb and run for reelection, unencumbered by this foul and quite possibly psychotic despot.
Consider the variables at play here. The one thing that unites all Republicans, from social conservatives to free marketers, is their perpetual quest for the Holy Grail of lower taxes (read: destroy social welfare.) The best way to make this happen is to “starve the beast” of revenue and thus compel it to eliminate social programs that help the “takers,” i.e. the poor who are unworthy of “handouts” because, well, if they’re poor, it’s their own fault. Never mind that most Republicans really don’t have any problem with big government, as long as it’s their type of big government which means, as long as it supports their social agenda of limiting rights and privileges going to uppity minorities, women and gays, they simply adore gub’ment.
Grover Norquist, the modern day Howard Jarvis (remember Howard Jarvis?) encapsulated this when he said: “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Of course, he was referring to a government that has the temerity to insist that everyone pay their fair share according to the recipe of “progressive taxation”: The more you earn, the more you pay. By the way, Gorver Norquist also said, “Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.” Nothing else, evidently required and that’s exactly what we got.
Republicans have been obsessed with this “socialist” formula of wealth redistribution for decades, insisting it’s simply a cover to redistribute wealth downward and of course, that’s exactly what it is or better put: what it will soon used to be.
In the good old days of Ronald the Great (AKA: Reagan) Republicans used the sham of “supply-side” economics as a cover to slash taxes. To wit: Economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering taxes and decreasing regulation. One aspect of supply-side economics is, reduced taxes result in companies hiring more workers and the new spending power will result in new tax revenues which will offset the loss due to the initial cut in taxes. This became known during the Reagan years as “trickle down economics” because the wealthiest among us would engage in new economic activity which would trickle down to the unwashed masses and benefit society at large. George H. W. Bush famously derided it as “voodoo economics.” He was right.
The end result was increased economic activity but hell, anyone who as a credit card with no spending limit and no “pay by” date can accomplish that. However, the end result was an astronomical increase in the national debt. Reagan doubled the debt in his two terms in office with his increased government spending and tax cuts for the wealthy. The real lesson lost to history, obviously, was, despite the increased growth, the tax cuts never did pay for themselves. In short, supply-side economics hasn’t worked. It’s never worked, but hey, when has empiricism ever been important to the Conservative mind? It didn’t work under Bush the Lesser in the 2000’s, either. It has proved utterly disastrous to the State of Oklahoma. Unless of course, drastic cuts to social welfare, schools and public health are viewed, not as a “bug” but a “feature.” In which case, Oklahoma is a model for the Trump administration. If this tax cut does go into effect, you can count the days until the Republicans and Trump howl over the immediate need to slash Medicare and other entitlements, to comply with PAYGO, which is the budget rule that requires mandatory cuts rather than further borrowing. The argument being that since government revenues are drastically lower, spending must also be cut drastically. Cutting social spending is another Grail that Republicans seek, continuously. So, cutting taxes gives them a “two-fer.” But don’t count on Trump playing along even though it may seem hard to imagine. You must always keep in mind, when it comes to Trump, there is no one else. Period.
This time around, the Republicans are only barely bothering to use the fig-leaf of trickle-down. They give lip-service to the possibility that a new slew of hiring by companies will follow the tax giveaway- based on past experience, companies don’t act in this way- but scarcely hide their glee at simply giving tax breaks to the “donor class” that owns them along with the ultra-wealthy and corporate America, completely ignoring how massively unpopular this tax bill is viewed by the majority of Americans.
Now that they are within sight of their Holy Grail, they have to begin to think about 2018, when all 435 seats in the House are up for reelection. For them, thankfully, the more onerous tax increases on the middle class won’t be evident until ten years from now but they will still have to contend with the fallout of being seen as allowing the super-rich to loot the national treasury.
Enter, or rather, exit Donald Trump. Despite the fact that they seem to have embraced him, regardless of what a sheer disaster he has proved to be, once the tax bill has been passed, the best thing for many of them to do is pivot away from him less they be tarred by his craziness. If you are a Republican, would you rather run with deranged Trump, the boat anchor, around your neck or would it be better to be seen as a rational human being, appalled by behavior that at times rivals that of Kim Jong-Un? I’d bet the latter. If Trump doesn’t veto the bill, I’d bet that you will see a rush for the door as Republicans run far and run fast: “Trump, who?”
Which brings me around (circuitously, I admit) to the headline of this post. By now, everyone knows that the man in the Oval Office has an I.Q. to rival a bag of turnips, although I’d bet on the turnips in an I.Q. test, never mind Rex Tillerson. Still, there must be an actual adult in the daycare center to inform (using crayons, for example) the dullard president that he would, no doubt, be viewed as expendable by his Party (“who could possibly have foreseen his madness?”), once he signs the tax bill into law.
Ergo, the best thing for President “two big macs, two filet-o-fish and a chocolate malted” to do would be to veto the bill. This would accomplish two things. One, he could claim that the bill doesn’t do enough for his benighted “base,” and only favors the rich, who he railed against during the campaign, promising to raise their taxes. Thus, he would solidify his base more than ever. Two, the Republicans would be, once more, stymied in its attempt to give away the store to its friends (“Curses, foiled again!”) and they would have to keep Trump in the game, at least until they could secure their tax giveaway. Ergo, they wouldn’t or couldn’t abandon him because they view Trump as their best hope to get their Randian dreams fulfilled.
So, you read it here first. Don’t be surprised to see Trump vetoing the tax bill and watching everyone fall all over themselves trying to explain “what just happened.” Now you know.