Good essay here, pointing out that the tax bill isn’t just a giveaway to the plutocrats. It’s also open warfare on every institution considered a home of liberals and nearly every blue state. It’s just another tool in the culture war of resentment against everyone who is not a white Christian conservative.
Up with Us, Down with Them
Rather, the tax bill is an extension of the culture war. Yes, it gives the rich the tax cuts they crave. But it is part of a much bigger effort to smash institutions that the Right has wanted to destroy for a long time anyway.
It threatens to destroy the financial model of graduate education, as historian David Walsh and others have made clear with their #GradStudentTax hash tag. No more pesky Marxist professors training the next generation of elitist social critics. The impact will likely be felt most heavily in the humanities and social sciences, but it will disrupt all advanced education in US universities. Quite intentionally.
The bill will remove the deduction for citizens to write off some of their state and local taxes, a provision long in place. This is a direct attack on people in blue states that have higher taxes; of course, states like California and New Jersey tax at a higher rate to provide a higher level of social services than places like Georgia or Alabama.
What’s in the blue states? Hollywood, the liberal media, Berkeley, minorities, sanctuary cities.
Attack states that didn’t vote for your party? Check. Transfer money from the voters there to the people in your red states (which already take in more federal benefits than New York or California)? Check. Make blue states more like Alabama by putting pressure on their budgets and social expenditures? Check.
Stick it to people you don’t like. It’s an economic motivation, yes, but it’s also rooted in deep cultural animus at least as much.
As Sahil Kapur recently reported, “Some of the biggest losers under the Republican tax overhaul include upper-middle class families in high-tax areas like New York City, graduate students, government workers and public school teachers.”
Actual GOPers have been even more frank about their motivations. Conservative economist Stephen Moore (a former Trump campaign adviser) explained it this way:
It’s death to Democrats… They go after state and local taxes, which weakens public employee unions. They go after university endowments, and universities have become play pens of the left. And getting rid of the mandate is to eventually dismantle Obamacare.
In colorfully villainous fashion, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley explained that the bill was meant to reward the investor class, who do all the real work in America, and not the sadsack losers who blow all their money on “booze or women or movies.” The poors are garbage, and they deserve to be rolling around in the dirt, scabbing their hands trying to crawl out of a deep ditch. It’s vindictive and purposeful.
Given that liberals simply don’t operate on the assumption that they should punish West Virginia and Arkansas because they vote for Republicans, I don’t see quite how we face this. But face it we must because this is now modus operandi for the Republican Party.