Tax Reform Builds A Wall

The GOP tax plan is highly likely to pass in some form or another. Its economic benefits are dubious, and the role reversal of Democrats as deficit hawks is ironic, but the average American is not going to delve into all of the numbers. The sums being discussed are so huge that they are meaningless.

The Democrats can argue that it is slanted toward the rich, but everyone has already accepted that a tax plan designed by Donald Trump and the Republicans would be uneven.

The thing that most people care about is their own wallets. Even if they are only better off by $100, they will shrug their shoulders at the inequity. “The rich always benefit more. But at least I got mine.”

The only effective argument against the tax plan might be a populist one, and that means an argument that does not begin with “if you think about it . . ” or sound like it was conceived by a college-aged Marxist.

The argument might combine the break on inheritance tax with the deficit issue. Most Americans still believe in the American dream. By the time they are 40, they kind of know how it going to work out for them. But almost every parent believes that their kids can do as well or better than they did, and wants them to.

The populist argument is that rich people are screwing your kids out of the American dream while protecting their own. In ten years, taxes and interest rates will be higher but wealthy kids won’t care because of all of the money their folks gave them without paying their fair share of taxes.

The soundbite: “The Republicans are building a wall between your kids and the American dream and making them pay for it.”

Of course, it would take someone with a real populist talent to get this message across. Unfortunately, the only person in US politics with that talent is Donald Trump.

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