How Trump Will Stick It to Elites
I am part of a despised and corrupt elite, and I have it coming to me.
It has taken me some time to absorb that reality; my fortunes have changed much. My father was a high school graduate who worked for years at a sales job he hated. My mother was a schoolteacher. I was the last of six kids so the supply train, always under assault, was pretty broken down by the time I came along. I started making my own money in sixth grade and never stopped. I finished paying for college in my mid-30s.
But here I am. Urban, if not urbane. Working in the elitist industry that Trump encouraged his mobs to taunt and jeer and give the finger to because, hey, let's face it, all we do here in the mainstream news media is lie and wallow in our corruption and elitism and take orders from mysterious America-haters about what we're supposed to write and say.
But take heart, Trumpians, for your hero is about to deliver our cosmopolitan comeuppance. "Elites have taken all the upside for themselves and pushed the downside to the working- and middle-class Americans,” said Steve Bannon, Trump's populist trumpet, a man who dabbles on the side running a website popular with racists.
The precise nature of the penalty elites will pay is unclear. Projecting actual federal policies onto the blueprint of the Trump campaign has been like trying to discern which animal a crayon-wielding toddler has splashed across the diner menu. Is that an energy plan? A giraffe?
By extrapolating from Trump's campaign, and from the "Better Way" agenda of Trump's soon-to-be-loyal-lieutenant Paul Ryan, it looks as if the first thing that elites will be targeted with is a huge tax cut.
Here's my colleague Paula Dwyer:
Both would reduce individual taxes. Ryan would cut the top rate to 33 percent from 39.6 percent. Trump would bring it down even more, to 25 percent. Ryan would increase the standard deduction and eliminate the alternative minimum tax. So would Trump. Ryan would repeal estate and gift taxes. So would Trump.
Can't you just feel the cosmopolitan elite squirming at the prospect of all that extra unwanted wealth?
The Trump campaign subsequently updated its tax plan, including its top marginal rate, to be "very similar to the House GOP plan." Ryan, at least, would eliminate the tax deduction for state and local taxes, which is a good way to punish people who live in high-tax states, such as California, Massachusetts and New York, which give their electoral votes to Democrats. (Those are also the states that fund the federal government, making it possible for Washington to transfer wealth to low-tax basket cases like Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the deep red states that we elites sneer at while we subsidize them.)
Trump, who lives in blue Manhattan and perhaps fears that he might yet pay taxes one day, has a plan that goes easier on residents of Trump Tower than Ryan's plan. But either way, the elite are set to end up with a whole lot more money.
Trump is promising to punish the elite in other ways. He's "draining the swamp" in Washington by empowering lobbyists on his transition team, where they oversee the issues they are paid to influence. The lobbyists, with their fat paychecks and expense accounts, must be reeling under the weight of their new responsibilities.
It gets worse. Liberal elitist economists, including the most liberalist and elitistist of all, Paul Krugman, have been pleading for infrastructure investment for years. Now that he's in a position to stick it to the elite, Trump will finally give Krugman the policy that he wants, and the Republican Congress, which refused to spend a penny under Obama, will become a fire hose blowing money out the door.
Krugman, who I'm pretty sure is also in line for a huge tax cut, will be so mad.
Of course, while the loathsome and hypocritical elite are buying new vacation homes as a result of Trump's punishing blows, or buying elite educations so that their children can attend elite universities and network with other elite youth in order to cement their place in the elite forever, some less elite types may experience modest discomfort.
Some people who have lived and worked in the U.S. for more than a decade, raising families and building communities, will be deported to places they no longer recognize.
Some working women on the lower end of the class scale may find that the jocular tone of the red cappers at work takes a humiliating and sexually aggressive tone.
Some brown-skinned Americans who used to feel fine have had pits in their stomachs since Tuesday night.
One of Trump's most reliable traits is kicking down. The losers will have at least four years to get used to the abuse. Maybe then Trump will really go after the elites. First, he wants to fatten them up.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
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