Last time, I said I’d be dealing with Trump’s tax plan and the French elections, so here goes. I’ll start with our so-called President’s giveaway to the corporate sector, and I’ll look at it from what I regard as a genuinely nationalistic angle.
Let me make my position clear: I call myself a nationalist because I consider the nation-state to be an indispensable bulwark against the homogenization of the human race. I feel nation-states should focus on their domestic affairs and immediate interests, and as far as possible leave other nations alone to do the same. And I think my point of view arises naturally from a Pagan spiritual attitude. I don’t know whether this makes me liberal or conservative or a strange concoction of exotic ingredients, and I don’t care. Thucydides and Tacitus don’t fit in our conventional contemporary political categories either, and I basically stand with them.
Anyway, I’m not against Trump because I think he’s a nationalist, but because I think he’s a plutocratic blowhard and a fake. His tax plan proves it.
At this time, all we know about this much-touted scheme is a one-page summary released last week, the principal features of which are a reduction in the corporate tax rate from the current 35% to 15% and a reduction in the highest income tax bracket from 39.6% to 35%. My readers will be shocked, shocked to hear that the chief beneficiaries of this change – other than the Fortune 500 – will be billionaires, including one Donald J. Trump. Except for the wonders of economic growth promised by the Don’s minions, there’s nothing in the plan to make up for the government’s loss of revenue. Credible sources guesstimate that – even with realistic growth possibilities factored in – it’ll add $7.2 trillion to the national debt over ten years.
You don’t have to be a Pagan to realize this is stupid.
The hope, clearly, is that the corporate sector will use this windfall for profitable, job-creating investments. That probably would happen – with some wastage, however. Maybe I’m cynical, but I expect some money would go to enhance CEO compensation packages, which benefit a relatively narrow sector of the community. More would go to dividends, thereby pumping up stock values and preparing the way for the next market bubble, while doing nothing to enhance real productivity. And who’s to say that all the profitable investments would occur in the United States? American corporations have been exporting capital for decades; they’re not likely to stop any time soon. All of this activity, good and bad alike, will in effect be subsidized by a $7.2 trillion handout from the federal government – a sum raised by borrowing!
As a nationalist, this is how I analyze the situation: every dollar the feds tax out of the corporations and use to prevent our national debt from rising any higher than it has to, is a dollar that benefits the American people as a whole. On the other hand, just shoveling money into corporate coffers with no strings attached, is a contribution to the globalized economic forces undermining our country. Trump’s plan reflects a “trickle down” philosophy far from genuine nationalism, I’d say.
Tellingly, the Don could’ve given his program a slightly more nationalistic cast by including a proposal from a source I’ve never before considered a fount of political wisdom – the House Republican leadership. The tax plan favored by Speaker Ryan and the other GOP Congressional policy wonks likewise calls for a corporate tax break, but couples this with a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). I haven’t the space to explain what that is, but here’s a site that does. Though the BAT isn’t a tariff, it would provide a few advantages to this country: first, it would eliminate some of the creative methods that businesses currently use to avoid federal taxes; second, it would provide an incentive for businesses to shift production activities from foreign locations to the United States; third, it could raise as much as $1.0 trillion of revenue over a decade, thereby partially making up for the reductions in corporate taxes.
Thus, we see that Trump wouldn’t even adopt a moderately nationalistic concept emanating from his own party – his economic advisers, who mostly hail from Goldman Sachs, talked him out of it. He’s a fraud. It’s said that the BAT may come back in some form; I’m not holding my breath.
I’m running out of space to discuss the French election, but since it’s coming up Sunday, I’ve got to speak now or forever shut up about it. I wouldn’t vote for Le Pen, even though she’s a nationalist, because I believe in democracy and I don’t care for her party’s fascist tinge. On the other hand, Macron is a globalized technocrat who seems to have no special feeling for his own country. I can’t see voting for him either. This is the attitude of most of the supporters of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the anti-globalization leftist. I’d probably go fishing on election day, if I were French. In the 2016 election in the United States, I held my nose and voted for Clinton. As a Democrat, she’d be pulled in Bernie Sanders’ direction occasionally. But Macron has no party, and no reason to temper his neo-liberal inclinations, so I see no hope for him.
This is a blog, not a job, and so it has to compete with my other life priorities. A number of personal items need my attention, so I’m putting the blog on ice for about three weeks. Please comment on any or all of my previous postings – they’re all open. I’ll be back Monday, May 29.
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