Thursday, August 13, 2015

Two recent bits of evidence that Trump is no conservative

In this utterance, not only is his classic incoherence on display, but so is pandering to the inequality crowd:

Trump was asked, [relevant exchange beings around 3:00] “You want to lower the tax, you want to implement a flat tax.” Trump objected to this characterization. After host Sean Hannity said, “I thought you liked the flat tax.” Trump stated, “The problem with the flat tax is it’s sort of the same. I actually believe that people as they make more and more money can pay a higher percentage.” Later he added, “I don’t like where everybody’s paying the same. If I make a billion dollars, and somebody else is making a hundred, and he’s paying ten dollars and I’m paying — to me, I don’t know. I like somewhat of a graduation. What you have now is a system that’s too complicated. The easiest thing to do is make that system uncomplicated, and make it really good, make it really good. And you know, as far as the IRS, people say ‘Let’s get rid of the IRS,’ somebody’s got to collect the money.”

And the utilitarian paying-down-the-national-debt-is-that-important angle is a nice touch, no?

 Nice catch by Jamie Weinstein from last night’s Trump interview with Hannity. Skip to 3:55 of the clip below for the key bit. To be clear, this an idea Trump proposed 15 years ago, not one he’s proposing now, and he stresses that he would have paired the tax with a balanced-budget amendment to control spending. If you think the hypothetical about 10 dollars in cuts for every dollar in tax hikes is an acceptable trade-off in the name of getting America’s house in order, as some Republicans do, Trump might well agree. The thing is, says Weinstein, lots of conservatives don’t think that’s acceptable. And the reason Trump’s not proposing this tax hike now isn’t because he’s come to think it’s a bad idea, it’s because the national debt has grown so enormous in the intervening years that even soaking the rich wouldn’t pay it down completely. Which means, says Weinstein, that Trump apparently still thinks it’s a good idea on the merits:
Trump’s problem with the tax seems less philosophical than the fact the national debt has increased so much that his proposal would no longer erase it. But that’s not really a good reason to drop the idea. Even if it wouldn’t any longer erase the national debt, erasing $6 trillion or so would go a long way to getting our debt into a more stable position, no?
The point is there are serious philosophical and economic reasons to oppose a massive wealth tax of the type Trump once proposed. But those aren’t the arguments Trump is standing on to explain his reversal in position. Quite the opposite. He maintains the proposal remains fundamentally conservative.
Is it fundamentally conservative now, even if it wasn’t yesterday? Trump is building a fan base among Republicans so ardent that his opinion singlehandedly might carry enough weight with some of them to get them to rethink their view of which position on a given policy matter is the truly conservative one. The conventional conservative read on taxing the rich is that it’ll backfire: More money to Uncle Sam means less capital being invested in the private sector to generate jobs, which means slower growth, which means more economic misery and, ironically, less tax revenue for the government. The view these days among some (not all) Trump fans about conservatism, though, seems to go like this: The establishments of both parties are hopelessly statist, therefore the best way to promote conservative policies is to back the guy who threatens to smash the establishment, whatever his own policies might be. Essentially, Trump qualifies as a “populist conservative” by making up for what he lacks in conservatism with unapologetic populism. So if the establishment’s Republican boogeyman says tax hikes on the rich are worth considering, why not? That’s a small price to pay for sweeping the ruling class away.
That’s how some Trump fans will make peace with this, I assume. 
Sound like a righty to you?

How about this attempt to compartmentalize the evil that anyone with a real moral compass knows is at the core of Planned Parenthood's raison d'ĂȘtre?

 Trump: I would look at the individual things that they do, and maybe some of the things are good, and maybe, I know a lot of the things are bad. But certainly the abortion aspect of it should not be funded by government, absolutely. 
CNN: So you would take a look at it before you’d defund it. That’s what’s being asked right now. Many in your party are doing the opposite. They’re saying defund it, and then look at it. You’re saying look at it first.

Trump: I would look at the good aspects of it. I’m sure they do some things properly and good and good for women. And I would look at that.

All over the map.  Rudderless. In it for the self-aggrandizement.

And so far, good at making otherwise sensible people drink his Kool-Aid.

Stop it.

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