In a speech yesterday, Donald Trump said that the “tax reform” bill Republicans are currently pushing would amount to a “pay raise” for Americans. Pshaw. If you want to give Americans a raise, plenty of honest people can tell you how.
You don’t have to be a professional economist to find solutions to America’s most pressing economic problems; you just have to be able to locate the professional economists who are honest in their investigations of how to solve those problems. There are tons of economists like that, and most of them do not work in the Trump administration. For our esteemed president to say that the Republican Party’s Tax Cut For The Rich Inequality Enhancement Scheme has as its primary goal raising the wages of middle class American workers is like saying that feeding an entire chocolate cake to a fat man has as its primary goal giving stray crumbs to the ants under the table. It’s not an honest representation of what is happening.
(The tax cuts are the cake, and the rich are the fat man, and you, the average American, are the ant. I don’t want to be too opaque here.)
Let’s say that you are a reasonable person with reasonable morals in possession of reasonable facts about the American economy. Reasonably, you would be concerned about the fact that wages for regular workers have stagnated for well over 30 years, coinciding with a grotesque rise in inequality that seems to be undermining the stability of our political system. Wanting to raise the wages of average Americans is a reasonable—indeed, a pressing—desire. So how can our nation’s elected officials help us accomplish that? Hmm. Is it... offer a massive tax cut to corporations and the very rich? It’s actually not! This is where we see the difference between a simple partisan disagreement and active dishonesty in policymaking. The Republican Party is not simply a bunch of ideological free marketeers who genuinely believe that hypercapitalism is the best path to freedom and equality. They are liars who lie, miscast, and deceive in order to help the rich.
Because, you know, if they actually wanted to raise the wages of working Americans, there are plenty of very easy, straightforward ways to do so. Here’s a whole fucking report from the Century Foundation on that very topic, for example. I encourage honest policymakers to read it! If they don’t have enough time, here is the very short version: Inequality and wage stagnation are the result of political policies pursued, primarily though not solely, by the Republican Party. To turn this situation around, strengthen labor unions; raise the minimum wage; pursue public investment in infrastructure and job training and education; properly regulate the financial sector; implement progressive taxation.
If that’s too complicated, you can always just beef up the Earned Income Tax Credit to just GIVE MORE MONEY TO THE WORKING CLASS. Giving more money to the working class tends to work well as a solution to the problem of the working class not earning enough money.
You may notice that “massive tax cuts for the wealthy” are not a generally accepted solution to wage stagnation and inequality, among those who approach this issue with honesty. Strange.
My point here is simply that the answers to this problem are not a secret. We have not gotten ourselves in this mess as a result of not knowing how to get out of it. We have gotten here due to a decades-long program designed to boost the fortunes of people with money no matter what it did to everyone else. That program worked all too well. Now, the people who brought you that program are trying to sell the public a vast continuation of that program with the rationale that it will do exactly what it is not designed to do. No matter what your political party, you should be insulted. The Republican Party thinks you are a fucking mark.