Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's A Trumpy Sunday... Sorry


Trump has made noises about taxing the rich and ending all the nonsense about trickle-down economics and how job creators shouldn't be taxed. Yesterday in Nashville, with deranged right-wing extremist Sharon Angle on hand, he even told a crowd he would protect their Social Security, which other Republicans refer to as a Ponzi Scheme, and their Medicare, which Jeb wants to phase out. Right after the news hit the wires, frustrated Republican commentator David Frum tweeted an interesting observation:

Trump's campaign is certainly shock therapy, but if the GOP needs to be jolted away from Ayn Rand fantasies, none of the other candidates are picking up on Trump's populism. The only aspect of his campaign any of them are emulating is the racism and bigotry.

As I mentioned yesterday, Trump told Bloomberg reporters that he "would take carried interest out, and I would let people making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax and I think it’s outrageous. I want to lower taxes for the middle class." I don't expect Jeb or Scott Walker or Rubio or even his best bud Ted Cruz to echo those sentiments. And not even Hillary Clinton is going to campaign on the kinds of populist economics issues Trump is starting to espouse.

Although Greg Sargent is reporting on all this with a grain of salt, he still finds it interesting-- as we all should-- that Trump is even going down this road at all.
Taken all together, what this means (I think) is that Trump would raise taxes on investment income precisely because that would pay for middle class tax relief; that lower tax rates on investments are fundamentally unfair; and that hiking taxes on investments would not dampen economic growth. That seems very much like a broad rejection of trickle down dogma. (The necessary caveats: We don’t know whether Trump’s overall approach would raise or lower the tax burden on the rich; we don’t know whether Trump believes any of this; and he could suddenly reverse course on it at any moment.)

Trump does seem to have broken with GOP dogma here, and to my knowledge, none of his Republican rivals have responded directly to it. But Marco Rubio is justifying his call for eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends by arguing that investment creates jobs for people like his bartender father. It’s an interesting contrast.

One of the odd paradoxes of Trump’s rise has been that even as he is little more than an entertainer, his willingness to say what other Republicans won’t has forced out into the open genuine policy debates among Republicans that had previously been shrouded in vagueness or imprisoned within party orthodoxy. His call for mass deportations has unmasked GOP evasions over what to do about the 11 million, forcing something close to a real debate on that question. His vow not to cut Social Security benefits has led some to ask whether GOP voters might actually disagree with party dogma on the need to cut them.

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At 5:33 AM, Blogger Daro said...

Is no one going to point out that Trump has now moved to the left of Madame Clinton? Or, I suppose, she's been so mute about any policy at all that it's impossible to say how deep under the covers she is with Goldman Sachs and her other legion of Wall Street backers.


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