Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Can Republucans run as the party of the middle class and poor with a straight face?

By Richard Barry

Jonathan Chait wrote yesterday in New York magazine about how Marco Rubio has remade himself in order to be acceptable to the Republican base as he pursues the GOP presidential nomination.

The first move, which is well-known, is his renunciation of immigration reform. The bigger move, as Chait writes, is his shift on economic policy.

Last year, Rubio positioned himself as a “reform conservative” who aspired to aim tax cuts at middle-class families rather than the rich. Instead, when he unveiled the plan, it consisted of a massive, debt-financed tax cut that would give its greatest benefit to the rich, not just in absolute terms, but also as a percentage of their income. Even that plan proved to be too stingy for Republican plutocrats, so Rubio revised his plan to make it far friendlier to the rich. The newest version took his old plan and added complete elimination of all taxes on inherited estates, capital gains, and interest income. Grover Norquist, guardian of the party’s anti-tax absolutism, cooed his approval.

And yet in his announcement speech Rubio claims that he wants to make helping the poor and middle class a Republucan issue.

On its face the hypocracy is mind-blowing, but it doesn't end there.

In a recent story at Politico, Ely Stokols writes that the approach Republicans plan to take to attack Hillary Clinton is coming into focus.

Interviews with GOP consultants, party officials, and the largest conservative super PACs point to an emerging narrative of a wealthy, out-of-touch candidate who plays by her own set of rules and lives in a world of private planes, chauffeured vehicles, and million dollar homes.

With no hint of irony, Republicans may be ready to embrace a candidate whose economic policies dramatically favour the rich over the middle class and poor while preparing to run against a Democratic candidate on the grounds that she had too much money.


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