“Pieces of Silver”

Paul Krugman Writes for the New York Times:

Paul Krugman, professor of international trade and economics at Princeton University and Nobel Prize-winning economist, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman, professor of international trade and economics at Princeton University and Nobel Prize-winning economist, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Paul Krugman. . .

But there’s a third answer, which can be summarized in one number: 34. . . , the average federal tax rate for the top 1 percent in 2013. . . And it’s up from just 28.2 in 2008, because President Obama allowed the high-end Bush tax cuts to expire and imposed new taxes to pay for a dramatic expansion of health coverage. . . Taxes on the really, really rich have gone up even more.

If Hillary Clinton wins, taxes on the elite will at minimum stay at this level, and may even go up significantly if Democrats do well enough … to enable her to pass new legislation. …

But if “populist” Donald Trump wins, taxes on the wealthy will go way down…

So if you’re wealthy, or you’re someone who has built a career by reliably serving the interests of the wealthy, the choice is clear — as long as you don’t care too much about stuff like shunning racism, preserving democracy and freedom of religion, or for that matter avoiding nuclear war, Mr. Trump is your guy…, it’s just an extension of the devil’s bargain the economic right has been making for decades, going all the way back to Nixon’s “Southern strategy.” …

If this election goes the way it probably will, a few months from now those leading Republicans will be trying to pretend that they never really supported their party’s nominee, that in their hearts they always knew he was the wrong man.

. . . But whatever doubts they may be feeling don’t excuse their actions, and in fact may make them even less forgivable. For the fact is that right now, when it matters, they have decided that lower tax rates on the rich are sufficient payment for betraying American ideals and putting the republic as we know it in danger.

Nancy Pelosi responds from Washington:

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Paul Krugman is right on the money (“Pieces of Silver,” column, Aug. 12). Whether one accepts or rejects Donald Trump, embracing the conduct of congressional Republicans is just as costly to America.

Limiting taxes on the wealthy and special interests has been the central aim of Republicans in Congress for decades.

Many in the business community claim to support immigration reform, gun violence prevention, scientific research, women’s right to choose, L.G.B.T. equality and environmental protections. Yet the tax issue “trumps” all, as their support of congressional Republicans proves.

There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Donald Trump and what Republicans in Congress have been advancing for years. Mr. Trump’s candidacy has exposed the same moral compromise that the G.O.P. establishment and business community have always made to protect special interests and the wealthy.

They have spent more money on lawyers, lobbyists and political contributions on this issue than any other. Tax expenditures add greatly to the debt and do little for job creation. Eliminating them will reduce the deficit — another so-called priority trumped by tax cuts for the wealthy.

NANCY PELOSI

Washington

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