As a country's wealth continues to far exceed its distribution, a feudal system develops. Even though, in some ways, it seems unfair to substantially tax inheritance, without the tax, we will simply develop into the non-working "landed-gentry" system of the middle ages. This path will eventually lead us to the death of capitalism. In fact, what good is capitalism if it benefits such a small minority of super-wealthy, super-powerful individuals simply feeding off of the rest of the peons? While the defense of the concept of "trickle-down economics" may be largely one of misdirection, it is hard to deny that "trickle down" is still the trademark of any capitalistic society's economic success. However, it is important to understand that the difference between a feudal society and a democratic society lies in the responsibility owed by the democratic society's employers to their employees as well as to the consumers on whom they so desperately depend for their success.
As President Obama once pointed out, without publicly financed infrastructure, that is transportation, roads, bridges, postal service, fire and police service, utilities, public media, and public education, there would be no successful corporations, no supposedly "self-made" millionaires and billionaires. Meanwhile, we have already witnessed the tragedy, the volatility and chaos of both the Great Depression and the recent nearly apocalyptical Bush-era economic recession, both caused by uncontrolled greed and the absence of responsibility of elected officials to the naive citizens who elected them. Despite the bellicose rantings of some of the more ideologically and intellectually bankrupt Tea Partiers it is clear that with the restoration of mostly sane government regulation initiated under the Obama administration the economy seems to be making a healthy recovery. The real question is: "where will it go from here?"
What we have so far in the current "Trump" or what is more accurately the "We used to be Christians" Republican administration is literally a Christmas wish list submitted by the wealthiest and most greedy of Republican donors. Some of the wishes involve legitimate economic concerns that had been kicked down the road by both Democratic and Republican administrations, especially the lowering of corporate taxes. However, the wish list, including permission to again wantonly pollute our air and water, to reestablish abuses by lenders, to purposely destabilize an already inadequate health-care system along with a grossly inadequate income-tax bill, was granted without hesitation, to be paid for, lock, stock, and barrel, by the middle class and poor working people.
I say this because there was no plan! Nor was any permission given bean counters to evaluate the economic and physical costs of arbitrary massive federal deregulation for fear of the administration embarrassing their patron Republican oligarchs. And, instead of phasing in lower corporate taxes with a goal of 20% or even less depending on how the "plan" worked, instead of mildly tweaking the inheritance tax and taxes on the wealthiest "earners," the party of the "We used to be Christians" tried their damnedest to emulate the same type of rich people condemned by Jesus in Matthew 19:23-26. Beside the fact that the saying in Aramaic and even in later Greek is actually that a rich man has as much chance of going to heaven as a "heavy rope," not really a "camel," has of fitting through the eye of a needle, Jesus was not talking about the type of rich person whose wealth every community needs to survive. Instead, he is referring to the Roman-appointed priests who acquired enormous wealth by stealing it from the worshipers' offerings meant to feed the poorest of the working priests. In similar fashion, at the behest of ideologically, if not completely morally and intellectually bankrupt Republican leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, the "We used to be Christians" tax bill as well as the clean-up of the environment will eventually be financed by cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as well as many other federal programs that assist the needy. And, when the non-corporate portions of the tax bill expire, these God-less souls will expect their middle class and poor peons to pick up the rest of the tab along with all the broken pieces just as they always have.
Al Finkelstein, 1/11/18