The whole Roy Moore thing in a way really highlights in my mind how committed the Republicans are to sucking up to the very, very wealthy base. I've been referring to them for a long time as the owners of the Republican Party, but they're also the ones that keep the Republican Party in power. They're also the supporters of the Republican Party.
The real constituency for the Republican Party, as EJ Dionne writes in the Washington Post, the headline "Trump's real constituency isn't the white working class at all."
And then he says:
"His rise depended on support from rich conservatives."
And it did - particularly Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebecca and their company Cambridge Analytica and other billionaires...
"And his program serves the interests of those who have accumulated enormous wealth.
This explains why so few congressional Republicans denounce him, no matter how close he edges toward autocracy... panders to Vladimir Putin."
Sucks up to Duterte, loves Erdogan, you know, strongmen around the world.
"The GOP leadership knows Trump is tilting our economy toward people just like him."
And these are the people, of course, the billionaire class that Trump understands. Trump was born into this world that Trump wants to support. Trump has been part of this all his life and frankly, Trump himself gets a mind-boggling benefit from this thing.
If his actual net worth is anything close to what he has said it is repeatedly, then his children are going to make billions when he dies, but they will make additional billions if they don't have to pay any tax on the money that they didn't earn they that came to them because they were members of the lucky sperm Club. They just happened to be his children.
So E.J. Dionne lays it out.
Also Paul Blumenthal over at Huffington Post: "Republicans Admit That CEOs And Donors Really Need The Tax Cut Bill To Pass - Or Else".
Gary Cohn, who used to be the chief operating officer - the COO - of Goldman Sachs last week said...
"The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan."
Chris Collins, the House Republican from New York, and himself a multi-millionaire or at least a millionaire, said...
"My donors are basically saying, 'Get it done or don't ever call me again'"
Lindsey Graham in the Senate said that if they didn't pass the Republican tax scam that there would be more right-wing primary challengers of course funded by the billionaires who want their damn taxes lowered. He also said that "the financial contributions will stop."
Paul Blumenthal ironically notes...
"They usually try to avoid an appearance that campaign contributions are linked to specific legislation."
Gee, why would that be?
Because you go to jail for bribery. Except that since the Citizens United you generally don't go to jail for bribery, and all the more the tragedy.
Even unelected officials in the Republican Party or the Senate Leadership Fund, this is Mitch McConnell's super PAC and the guy who runs at his name is Steven Law. He said...
"(Donors) would be mortified if we didn't live up to what we've committed to on tax reform"
Oh my god, we might have some billionaires who are mortified if they don't get the estate tax done away with and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax - basically the only tax that Donald Trump paid in 2005 - $31 million.
I understand indexing the AMT to inflation and maybe raising the threshold at which the AMT kicks in, but for somebody like Donald Trump who in 2005 made hundreds of millions of dollars, paying a few million in the Alternative Minimum Tax because your bookkeepers are so brilliant at hiding your money all over the world in ways that eliminate your taxes is not an unreasonable thing.
But the donors will be mortified and 'to hell with the average Americans' say the Republicans. In fact, they're front-loading this thing, they've even added in a tax escalator into this legislation on people who are not making millions of dollars a year.
It is the good old-fashioned chained CPI. Now, the way the chained CPI works is you say, okay the Consumer Price Index, what's the cost-of-living? We're going to raise things like Social Security and whatnot based on the cost of living.
And so typically it would be, okay, the average person eats chicken thirty times a year or whatever and so we're just going say, okay, the cost of chicken used to be three dollars a pound and now it's five dollars a pound so you multiply that by the thirty times a year by the amount and you do the math, right?
Very simple, okay, here's how much we need to increase their income because chicken has gone up or beef or whatever it may be. That's how a normal consumer price index works.
But the chained CPI means chained to behavior and the assumption is that as you get poorer and poorer your behavior changes. So instead of measuring the cost of chicken we'll say, you know, the price of chickens gone up so much people are going to shift to just eating vegetables. Or the price of vegetables has gone up so much that people are going to shift to just eating dog food now.
I haven't seen a chained CPI that specifically mentions dog food but it's part of the logic of the program. So what this means is that over time the taxes on working people are going to go up radically faster than taxes on the super wealthy.
Stephen Dinan wrote a piece about this over at The Washington Times...
"Buried amid the deductions and credits, House Republicans have made a major shift in tax policy that will mean an escalating tax increase on every American taxpayer over the ensuing decades.
Republican tax-writers have decided to shift the tax code's inflation index from the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, to something known as chained CPI, which is a slower-growing method of calculating cost-of-living increases.
Using the lower rate of inflation to calculate future tax rates means taxpayers will more quickly fall into higher tax brackets, meaning they will pay more in taxes than if Republicans stuck with the traditional measuring stick."
The whole thing is a scam. This whole Republican tax scam.