Eric Levitz at New York magazine’s “Daily Intelligencer” writes—Trump Tries to Make Tax Cuts for Rich People Sound Populist:
Virtually no one in the United States believes that taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals should be cut. In one recent Gallup survey, just 9 percent of respondents said corporations paid too much in taxes, while 67 percent said they paid too little; for “upper income people,” those figures were 10 and 63, respectively.
But even these numbers fail to convey the dearth of public demand for the Republican Party’s tax “reform” effort. Voters don’t merely lack enthusiasm for cutting taxes on the rich and powerful — most don’t even see a need for their taxes to be cut. In April, Gallup found 61 percent of Americans saying that their current income-tax burden is “fair” — the highest that figure has been at any point since 2009. Meanwhile, even those who believe that they deserve a tax cut don’t (generally) see such a measure as worth prioritizing: Last month, a Bloomberg poll found that less than 5 percent of Americans believe tax policy is the “most important issue facing the country” — less than half the percentage that picked climate change.
And this common wisdom has much to recommend it. America’s wealthiest have already hoarded three decades’ worth of economic growth; America’s effective corporate tax rate is already competitive with those of other nations. Meanwhile, we’ve got to finance the growing costs of the baby boomers’ mass retirement; restore the nation’s decaying infrastructure; and, now, rebuild our fourth-largest city. The notion that Congress should make “dramatically reducing federal revenue so as to increase the post-tax income of the one percent” it’s top priority is so indefensible, even tea party Republicans won’t argue forthrightly for their agenda. Donald Trump didn’t win the White House on a promise to cut taxes for the rich, but on a vow to raise wages for middle-income workers, while cracking down on “special interests” (and, ya know, do all that racist stuff).
But the GOP donor class expects a return on its investment. And so, on Wednesday, the president tried to make a plan for doing their bidding sound like one for doing the American people’s.