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August 6, 2018


Professor Sheila Kennedy’s blog today identifies a group of some 200 wealthy people who are opposed to the Trump-Ryan $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich passed and signed last December (along with a maximum corporate tax rate reduction from 35% to 21% and other breaks for pass-through corporations and other entities). This group of the wealthy talks of supporting candidates in bipartisan fashion, an end to tax giveaways to the rich and corporate class funded by deficit financing, and other reforms such as wage inequality and the like. Professor Kennedy asked for commentary, and here, slightly edited, was mine.

I am pleased to hear that there are some of the wealthy who are opposed to the plutocratic Trump-Ryan $1.5 trillion tax cut atrocity of last December (and, I presume, who would oppose Trump’s new plan to give an additional $100 billion more of your money and mine to the same people through regulatory tinkering with the basis of stock and other assets subject to capital gain treatment), but I have to admit, having been continuously burned by Republican tax treatment since Reagan, that I question the motivation of the good rich folks who talk of fair and equitable tax treatment of us proles and an end to deficit financing to further enrich the already rich. Perhaps I should welcome any move by anybody to even up tax treatment, but based on experience, I find that hard to do. Prejudiced? Perhaps – but if so, for good reason – experience.

Speaking of perhaps, perhaps some of the rich folks are motivated to oppose the rush act tax bill of last December (which was passed without a single Democratic vote or a single committee hearing) see what is happening just over the horizon – the sharp left turn of millennials who are, as I am, disgusted with the giant tax breaks to the rich and corporate class via deficit financing of their future and are ready to do something about it. Perhaps the seemingly good move of some of the rich Sheila describes is an attempt to cut such leftward movement off at the pass before it catches fire and cannot be thereafter contained as the millennials go even to the left of Bernie. Perhaps, in a word, these latter day do-gooders are trying to end the millennials’ flirtation with the dreaded world of socialism.

If so, it’s going to take more than making a “principled stand” against the giveaway tax treatment to the rich and corporate class by congressional lackeys and Trump; it’s going to take stands against wage inequality, third-world healthcare, third-world infrastructure, religion in government and the like. The millennials with four million new voters every election are our future, and their passion will not be sated with mere tax reform where the rich (finally) pay their just due. They want more from their government than serving the financial sector as ATMs – and justly so.

I hope I am wrong with such negative ideas and that all parties are acting in good faith and recognize the sea change coming if there is not serious reform not just in taxation but government in general, because as I often write, I am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me.     GERALD      E


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