Clausewitz famously quipped that “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” But the GOP’s tax “reform” can only be described as politics that are the continuation of the culture war by other means.
“It’s death to Democrats,” said conservative economist Stephen Moore, who advised Drumpf’s campaign on tax policy.
“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,” Moore said in an interview, arguing that it would accelerate “a death spiral” in the health-care law’s marketplaces.
Explicitly punishing the Democratic coalition is certainly innovative policy, but the sectionalism and divisiveness Republicans will foster aren’t exactly unique to American history.
The Drumpf/GOP tax bill that was before the Senate on Friday represents an historic transfer of wealth from the vast majority of Americans to the wealthiest few. But it may wind up better remembered historically as the 21st century version of the Kansas-Nebraska Act – which led inexorably to what might soon be remembered as America’s First Civil War.
Thomas Jefferson himself recognized that the 1820 Missouri Compromise had set the country on a dangerous course by locking ideological and economic differences into an unbreakable geographic division. But the Kansas-Nebraska Act, in 1854, had the almost-immediate effect of destroying whatever remained of ideological agreement across state and sectional boundaries – rearranging the nation’s politics into binary, competing geographic agglomerations (basically, as today, the Northeast and West Coast versus the South and southwestern prairies) with competing economic models and supporting ideological near-uniformity. The rest is history.
Political commentators are increasingly suggesting that we are in the midst of, or headed toward, another “civil war,” metaphorically speaking. I’m not speaking metaphorically at all. This tax bill is not so much a tax bill as a declaration of war. A declaration of war on not just certain identifiable states but also their predominant ideology and economic model.
Indeed. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, spiting members of the liberal coalition is what actually motivates conservatives. As Moore’s remarks about this tax bill show, an awful lot of them think liberal America deserves to be punished simply for being liberal, because conservatives are filled with enough spite to sink an aircraft carrier. Still, let’s set aside for a minute the supreme irony of the very same people who spent God knows how long decrying the Kenyan communist’s redistribution of wealth demand that we punish the most successful communities in America precisely because they’re successful. There’s one thing we should not forget.
The blue states actually pay for the red states and their chosen culture. Already, as I’ve noted before (here and here), blue states are starting to go their own way. Once the effects of this new tax bill begin to be felt, they’re going to start wondering a lot more openly why they’re staying in a union like this. Republican leaders have been willing to turn a blind eye to Drumpf’s proxy presidency for Vladimir Putin for the sole reason of pushing through this tax plan. Ironically, it’s their tax plan that will do more to destroy America as we know it than any overt collaboration with Putin.
After the election last year, a cottage industry of pundits and journalists urging liberal America to “reach out” to and “come together” with Trump supporters. Those calls have largely been ignored, if not sneered at, and if f you want to know why, look no further than this clusterfuck of a tax bill. Anyone with two neurons to rub together can see this is but the latest salvo in a war dedicated to the annihilation of everything that the right defines as “liberal.” Likewise, they could also very easily see that the mainstream media’s demands of politeness and empathy were never ever extended to Trump supporters. Not once has a “respectable” conservative outlets requested politeness or empathy from their own side. Calls to “reach out” or “come together” were always hollow, and good riddance to them.