There’s a pretty robust public debate–in which I’ve engaged–about the refusal of congressional Republicans to even consider raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That debate has centered around the practicality and morality of their position: practically, government needs the revenue that would be raised by what would historically be considered a very minimal raise in the rate; morally, it seems truly wrong to demand yet more sacrifice from the beleaguered middle class while giving the rich a pass.
That debate is worth having, but what I don’t get is the politics of the position.
I understand that the people who fund GOP campaigns–the Kochs, the Scaifs, etc.–look favorably upon the Republican position. And I understand that money matters (far more than it should or than it used to, thanks to Citizens United). But I can’t believe that a political party can win a national election on a platform that advocates hollowing out the public purposes of government–“starving the beast” is the way Grover Norquist puts it–in order to protect the pocket-change of the powerful.
Leave aside whether the GOP position makes any economic or moral sense. I can’t imagine it making political sense. You can rename plutocrats “job creators” all you want, but it is pretty clear that they aren’t creating any jobs (at least not here in the US), and without that rather thin defensive reed to lean on, it is hard to envision any but the most ideologically rigid buying that snake-oil.
What am I missing?