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Why do working-class Christian Republicans love tax cuts for billionaires?



The New Yorker (March 27), in an exposé of Trump’s secret money bundlers, wrote that since the Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision, “power has tilted…toward a tiny group of rich mega-donors.”

Mega-rich donors. I’ve known my share of them in my time, people worth hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. I’ve been in their homes, drank with them, and seen their extravagant lifestyles, and let me tell you, their interests and those of the average, normal American do not coincide. And–although it may be obvious–I have to point out that the mega-rich tend to be Republicans.

If there’s anything that characterizes the mega-rich, it’s their lust for money. They never seem to have enough. Once they get really rich, they start buying really expensive things: paintings, mansions, antiques, yachts, jets, clothes. But there’s always a bigger mansion, a better painting, a more expensive plane. It becomes a disease, an addiction. And the way these people pay for gobbling up their obscenely expensive toys is to make sure the tax system lets them keep as much of their money as they possibly can. Never mind that it’s fundamentally unfair to the hundreds of millions of Americans who don’t have one-one-thousandth of what they have, who can’t afford fancy tax lawyers to find loopholes, and who in many cases work harder than they do (certainly harder than the idle heirs of inherited wealth). Never mind that it’s also fundamentally destabilizing to America for average people to witness how stacked against them the system is. And now, under this Trumpian regime, we have a Republican President who not only wants to keep the system in place (despite his promises to end it), but make it even worse. As long as the rich pay anything in taxes, it’s too much for Republicans. And so the mega-rich pay off lawmakers through the pig pen of Citizens United, and the Trump administration—a regime of, by and for the billionaire class, his class—does their bidding.

Many Republicans in Congress, not all of whom are wealthy, understand how evil this is, but they go along with it. Why? Because Trump is giving them the stuff they’ve been wet-dreaming about for years: smaller government, less regulation, less science, more nationalism, less tolerance of non-white people, more Christianity, and a right wing Supreme Court that will make sure this agenda stays put.

Which brings me to the nugget of today’s post: an op-ed in Friday’s Wall Street Journal entitled “’In God We Trust, Even at Our Most Divided.” It is a call for more “religious reflection.” The author, Den Hartog—an “advisor” at something called the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center (whose website claims “the Bible” has been the “organizing cultural force” of America)—never uses the “C” word, as in “Christian.” He’s too politically smart to rub it in our faces. Nonetheless, with his citation of Matthew 7:1-2, it’s clear which religion he’s talking about: Christianity. He wants more of it—and more Americans to believe in it—more of it in government, and more of it to infect our laws. This is the sort of outright appeal to Christianity that could appear in no other major American newspaper than Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, which long has advocated on behalf of Christianity, and particularly Roman Catholicism, as the State religion.

Well, let me—a non-Christian—also quote the New Testament, namely Mark 10:17. It’s Jesus’s commandment for what the mega-rich should do (and remember that Jesus was born and died a Jew):

“Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Look, in a multi-cultural, multi-belief, Constitutional society, Den Hertog’s Christianity-first is so repugnant as to be beyond comment. First Amendment alert! No religious test! But tell me, why is it that the people who want a Christianized America also want to cut taxes on the mega-rich? #TheResistance wants to know, and so would Saint Mark, and Jesus.

  1. Rebecca says:

    There are literally more verses in the bible on the LOVE of money being the root of AlL evil, and on the use of money as the measuring rod for those who claim to know and love God.
    Feeding, sheltering, clothing the poor, speaking up for justice, providing health for the injured is really talked about in the bible more than any other subject.
    You cannot LOVE money and LOVE God for you will serve one and hate the other.
    I do not think things have changed over much from the time that Jesus is said to have walked this earth.

  2. Dear Rebecca, thank you. I, too, think that human nature doesn’t change much. I would add that I believe charity is preached by all the major religions–not just Christianity. The difference is that Christianity, at least the American version of it, is more hypocritical than any other religion I know of.

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