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Trump is remaking the Republican party into ... what?
For a century the GOP has been bankrolled by big business and Wall Street. Trump wants to keep the money rolling in. His signature tax cut, two years old last Sunday, has helped US corporations score record profits and the stock marke t reach all-time highs.
To spur even more corporate generosity for the 2020 election, Trump is suggesting more giveaways. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney recently told an assemblage of CEOs that Trump wants to "go beyond" his 2017 tax cut.
Trump also wants to expand his working-class base. In rallies and countless tweets he claims to be restoring the American working class by holding back immigration and trade.
Most incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates are mimicking Trump's economic nationalism. As Trump consigliere Stephen Bannon boasted recently: "We've turned the Republican party into a working-class party."
Keeping the GOP the Party of Big Money while making it over into the Party of the Working Class is a tricky maneuver, especially at a time when capital and labor are engaged in the most intense economic contest in more than a century because so much wealth and power are going to the top.
Armed with deductions and loopholes, America's largest companies paid an average federal tax rate of only 11.3% on their profits last year, roughly half the official rate under the new tax law the lowest effective corporate tax rate in more than 80 years.
Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.