The point of tax and fiscal policy in a republican form of government is to raise and spend money to create incentives and purchase public goods that will benefit the public interest. In oligarchical and autocratic governments, government officials constrict spending on public goods and allow government functions and services to atrophy; they distribute income from the broad base of the public to the wealthy, and they divert government revenues to pay off themselves, their family members, and the class of people who keep them in power. This is also a pretty good description of the new tax bill.
It is important not to be alarmist. The United States is still a wealthy country with a tax system that is still broadly progressive, and a government that still spends a considerable amount on public goods. It can absorb a pretty sizeable amount of corruption and self-dealing and still remain a viable democracy. But the current trend is worrisome. Upward redistribution from the poor and middle class to the wealthy since the end of the 1970s is not simply the result of the economic changes that emerged from globalization; it is also the result of the tax and fiscal policies of an increasingly oligarchical system. These policies have shifted risks away from the upper classes and sent them downward to the broad base of the public, even as they have shifted the proceeds from economic growth upward. The Trump era is simply the exaggeration of existing trends.
The Tax Bill
Balkinization: The Tax Bill and Constitutional Rot:
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