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The dog that didn’t bark: Why Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal didn’t pick a debate winner. Plus: Trump’s tax plan



Not only did Tuesday’s WSJ not say who won, they didn’t even mention the debate in their editorials or in opinion pieces. It’s like the historic Clinton-Trump smackdown never happened.

Why the silence? Well, the answer is obvious: Hillary crushed Trump, and not even the WSJ’s most violent attack dogs dared claim otherwise. So they chose to keep it on the DL. The only political “journalist” I know of who claimed Trump won was the San Francisco Chronicle’s rightwing second-rater, Debra J. Saunders, the most locally-detested Big City columnist in the country.

Now, onto taxes!

The most telling point of Monday’s debate was when Trump declared, with that little self-satisfied smirk we’ve come to know so well, that not paying any federal income taxes, despite the billionaire status he brags about, “makes me smart.”

Well, that’s another lie from Melania’s husband. It doesn’t make him “smart.” It just means he’s another rich guy who can afford to hire expensive tax lawyers, who find loopholes for their clients to wiggle out of paying their fair share—loopholes that, not so coincidentally, were created by Republican lawmakers who personally benefit from campaign contributions by the very people they help to avoid paying taxes!

Now, the rich like to point out statistics showing that they actually pay the lion’s share of all taxes collected by the Federal government. For example, the newspaper of record of the rich—the Wall Street Journal—routinely publishes studies like this, stating that the “Top 20% of Earners Pay 84% of Income Tax.” By using figures like this, the Wall Street Journal attempts to shift resentment by ordinary middle-class Americans away from tax-dodging billionaires onto “the bottom 20% [who] get paid by Uncle Sam.”

That’s the good old-fashioned plutocratic way: use smoke and mirrors to make the middle class think that their real economic enemy isn’t tax-evading billionaires who rig the system, but poor people.

Republicans always have played into this propaganda; Donald Trump simply has exploited it to heretofore unseen heights. But let’s break it down. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the richest Americans have been making more money, but paying less taxes, for the last fifty years. “The richest 1% of Americans own 35% of the nation’s wealth,” and yet the rate at which they’re taxed has been dropping like a stone: 91% in the 1950s, a paltry 43.4% today. And yet Trump is now calling for even further reductions in taxes for the ultra-wealthy. “I’m going to cut taxes big league,” he said in Monday’s debate (which must have been music to Rupert Murdoch’s ears). Now, where have we heard that before? From Ronald Reagan, of course, who famously instituted the Republicans’ practice of cutting taxes on the rich, which proved to have a disastrous impact on the deficit. Even Forbes magazine—the “capitalist tool”—said “The numbers don’t lie—why lowering taxes for the rich no longer works to grow the economy.” The Reagan deficits were awful, but led to an even greater and more disruptive consequence: income inequality, which is now the worst in the nation’s history. In this fascinating study, from the well-regarded (and hardly liberal) Financial Times, we see the statistics in stark horror: the poor getting poorer, the rich getting richer, the middle class getting squeezed. The result: Inequality in income and wealth is a troubling headwind for the American economy, it’s getting worse, and it’s a real danger looming in our political future.”

And now here comes Donald J. Trump, the billionaire squire of Mar-a-Lago, defending this Republican policy of cutting taxes for his class, and promising to further cut taxes on his friends and neighbors in Palm Beach and Trump Tower. He could not get away with such nonsense, of course, if so many Americans did not vote against their own self-interests. But they do, blinded by religious or emotional malarkey and goaded by Republicans who exploit every resentment, every fear people have. It used to be Communists that Republicans utilized to make Americans afraid. When the Cold War ended and Communism could no longer be used as a straw man, Republicans went after their traditional scapegoats: the poor, as exemplified by Reagan’s “welfare queens” and George H.W. Bush’s use of Willie Horton to remind white people how terrified they were of blacks. Sept. 11 gave Republicans a new focus of fear: Muslims, a tool Trump has aggressively exploited. So for Republicans, it’s always the same: Protect their own kind, the ultra-rich, by terrifying Americans and blaming the middle class’s economic stresses on anything and everything, except the real cause: a gamed tax system that lowers taxes on corporations and billionaires, and that makes the rest of us pay the nation’s bills.

  1. “So for Republicans, it’s always the same: Protect their own kind, the ultra-rich . . .”

    Only the ultra-rich and the near-ultra rich . . . America’s CEOs . . . are not opening their wallets and purses and financially backing Trump’s candidacy.

    As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

    “No Fortune 100 CEOs Back Republican Donald Trump”

  2. They’re not openly supporting him because they’re afraid to, because he’s a likely loser. But he represents their interests.

  3. Bob Henry says:

    A fact that may be overlooked in this election . . .

    Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal “Opinion” Section
    (November 5-6, 2016, Page A12):

    “The Gamble of [Electing] Trump”


    By the Journal’s Editorial Board

    “The Wall Street Journal hasn’t endorsed a presidential candidate since 1928, and if we didn’t endorse Ronald Reagan we aren’t about to revive the practice for Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump. yet one of them will be the next President. The choice comes down to the very high if relatively predictable costs of four more years of brute progressive government under Hilary Clinton versus a gamble on the political unknown of Donald Trump.”

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