Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eduardo Porter examines how high-end tax cuts create gains for only the wealthy few. And Lydia DePillis points out that decades of increases to top-end incomes haven't translated into anything close to proportional spending which would share the gains with society at large.

- Juan Williams writes that U.S. voters are getting the message that a Republican party obsessed with further enriching corporate elites can't be trusted even on what it claims as signature issues:
The bigger news on Capitol Hill was that Americans now trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle taxes and the economy, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

For the last 40 years, Republicans have consistently outperformed Democrats when voters were asked which party is the better steward of taxes and the economy.

Now, the Journal poll has voters favoring Democrats by 33 percent to 29 percent on taxes, and by 35 percent to 30 percent on the economy.
With so much money concentrated in the hands of so few Americans, it is no wonder that polls show this law is wildly unpopular, with support ranging in major polls only from 26 to 32 percent.

"Don't let your Uncle Bob be fooled: Republicans are voting for this because their wealthy patrons demand it," former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote last week on his website. "Their tax plan will weaken our economy for years - reducing demand, widening inequality, and increasing the national debt by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade."

And now for the political fall-out:

Before the tax cut vote, Democrats led Republicans on the generic Congressional preference ballot question by 15 points. Fifty-one percent said they would vote or lean towards voting Democratic, while just 36 percent said the same about Republicans, according to Monmouth University.

Look for those numbers to sink even lower when Trump voters realize they've been had. They were sold a bill of goods by his party when they voted for Trump-style economic populism in 2016.
- Sarah Jaffe writes that poverty represents a failing of the society which enables its existence, not the people who get trapped in it. And Brad Chilcott argues that a renewed sense of solidarity is the best gift we can ask for - and offer - over the holidays.

- Philip Stephens discusses the temporary stall of populism due in no small part to Donald Trump's buffoonery, while noting that the structural factors which have allowed it to develop remain unaddressed. And John Nichols comments on Paul Ryan's Scrooge-like tendencies which have been given free rein under Trump.

- Finally, Ian Bickis points out a few of the ways in which people predictably deviate from the assumptions of laissez-faire zealots.

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