Matt Phillips Dec 15, 2017
If history is any guide, rich Americans are about to help themselves to a fatter slice of the economic pie, leaving an even skimpier portion for the rest of the country.
The reason is simple: Congressional Republicans are moving closer to finalizing a tax overhaul that will lift the tax burden on America’s richest citizens and plonk it down on those less well-off.
Republicans argue that these measures will be good for economic growth, which slowed markedly after the Great Recession. Maybe. But they will also likely shrink the American middle class even further in the years to come, as American inequality hits levels once considered, well, Latin American.
A society that’s too unequal is susceptible to violent, redistributive revolution from the bottom and repressive oligarchy from the top.
That’s what makes this tax deal seem like another indication that American democracy is in the midst of a doom loop. First off, it smells a bit oligarchical, given how its broad goals and details are very unpopular with Americans. (For instance, nobody wants corporate tax cuts.)
If the bill does deep damage, as predicted, to America’s democratic stabilizer, the middle class, it will make future failures of deliberative democracy even more likely. The bill also makes it harder to provide the kind of social services that will cushion the blow of people falling out of the middle class, by increasing an already large U.S. government debt — but that’s a separate story.
See related Washington Post story: U.S. Lawmakers Are Redistributing Income from the Poor to the Rich, According to Massive New Study