Wednesday, November 01, 2023


Mike Johnson, the new Speaker of the House, says he wants to approve the aid to Israel that President Biden wants. But he and his allies in the House say the aid will come at a cost:
... Johnson’s new maneuver ... is to tie any new funding for Israel to a demand to reduce IRS enforcement of wealthy people’s tax compliance.

House Republicans have framed this demand for weakening the IRS as a deficit-cutting measure.... Representative Chip Roy, a right-wing Republican, claims, “I support Israel, but I am not going to continue to go down this road where we bankrupt our country and undermine our very ability to defend ourselves, much less our allies, by continuing to write blank checks.”

But cutting IRS funding does not avoid bankrupting our country. In fact, it hastens it. IRS funding is used to increase collection of tax payments....

Research suggests that every additional dollar in IRS funding yields many times more dollars in revenue, through both direct enforcement and by deterring fraud. One recent paper estimates that a dollar of funding yields $12 in revenue.
Johnson has taken a hostage, but please note what he's not asking for in ransom. His demand isn't pure MAGA -- an end to Ukraine aid, a reduction in funds for Justice Department prosecutions of January 6 insurrectionists, full funding for Donald Trump's border wall.

Johnson also isn't trying to pursue a culture war -- his demand has nothing to do with guns, abortion, classroom instruction on race, or trans athletes.

Instead, Johnson's first big fight with Democrats is purely pro-plutocrat, as if the MAGA era hadn't happened and the most dangerous gatherings in America were still Koch network retreats and not Trump rallies.

This is a sign that the post-Trump future of the GOP is going to look a lot more like the pre-Trump era than we realize. I've said that the Republican Party of the future will combine all the worst aspects of the Trump and pre-Trump party, and I stand by that. But I think we're going to be surprised at how pre-Trump the party will seem once Trump is gone -- and not in a good way, as so many misty-eyed mainstream pundits believe. Pre-Trump Republicanism was awful -- its primary goal was creating and sustaining a second Gilded Age, with culture wars as the means to ensure buy-in from heartland white voters. That was a comfort zone for many Republican officeholders and candidates, and they'd be very happy to take us right back to that era again, with Trumpism overlaid because it increases the number of potential rage-inducers that inspire the GOP base to turn out. But the ultimate goal of the politicians elected by that base will be what they've always been: to make the rich richer.

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