Trump's Faux Populism

Richard Stanley

The following excerpts are from a great article, centered around the current tax reform effort, by MSNBC's Steve Benen. (Yes, I know that parent GE is a Deep State defense contractor and more.)

The Senate and House tax reform packages, only waiting for reconciliation and final passage now, will deliver over a trillion dollar gift to the already richest Americans, at the expense of Trump's Middle Class and lower. Having more people with less or no disposable income will not stimulate the economy, and most of the so-called job-creators (receiving the bulk of the tax cuts) will not be creating many jobs with their gift, as recent history has shown - and a recent show of hands (in front of Gary Cohn no less).

Trump and his family will benefit to the tune of $1 billion, despite constantly saying this legislation would cost him bigly. This is the way that populist demagogues have always operated, with perhaps the prime example being Julius Caesar.

Benen focuses on an amazing statement by Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, who is a member of the mysterious and secretive 'Christian' group called The Family, or The Fellowship (see more in Part 2). They are most publicly represented by their well-known annual National Prayer Breakfast, but more recently have been noted for having to rehabilitate some Congress members with their 'extra' women problems. No real problem -- if you're truly a Traditional Christian (aka a 'cultural' Roman) elite. That is: 'one' contractual Madonna in the house, loose pussy on the side.

I begin quoting Benin with his conclusion, its getting to the typical aspect of such cynical populism, in the manner in which uber-elites like Trump, and Julius Caesar et al. successfully appeal to the aspirational vanities of the middle class, especially when the latter are under real or perceived stress, convincing them to vote against their own interests. All one has to do is master a few behavioral tics and say the right things.

Faced with this reality, Grassley and other Republicans are convinced the best use of their efforts is to pass, among other things, an estate tax repeal that exclusively benefits the wealthy.

For many years, Democrats have struggled with rural voters, in part because of cultural considerations: these communities often say they feel looked down upon by urban “elites” who dismiss working families in “fly-over country.”

Which is precisely what makes Grassley’s quote so important. Iowa’s senior senator isn’t just championing tax breaks for the rich; he’s also expressing disdain for those who live paycheck to paycheck. The veteran Republican lawmaker is looking down on them, marveling at what he sees as working families’ fiscal irresponsibility.

A few weeks after Election Day 2016, Stephen Moore, a conservative economist who advised Donald Trump during the campaign, told a group of Republicans that the party’s economic vision had taken an important turn. “Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party,” Moore said at the time.

In hindsight, the comments read like a cruel joke.

Benen discusses the tax bill's repeal of the 'estate tax', but neglects to add that it also has a limit of $11 million for couples, the lower number below applying to individuals. As I have mentioned several times before on Postflaviana, the intent of the estate tax is to help prevent the creation of "Two Americas" and its inevitably resulting plutocratic family dynasties, a real threat to democracy. Here, one needs to realize that subverting this is the real goal of Traditional Christian Conservatism (especially driven by ultramontain Catholicism), hiding beneath various deceptive and cynical rhetorical veils, such as Randian and/or Austrian School libertarianism. Hence, icksnay on the regulationskay, of such as banks, especially now the mega-banks (like one of Trump's swampy cabal sources: Goldman Sachs).

Benen opens his piece:

When Republicans talk up their tax plans, they usually make an effort to mention the middle class. The evidence shows that the current GOP proposals, when fully implemented, would actually raise taxes on millions of middle-class households, but at least in their public talking points, Republican officials try to avoid sounding plutocratic.

GOP efforts to repeal the estate tax, however, make the political push tricky – because literally no one in the middle class pays the tax that applies only to estates worth more than $5.49 million. The standard Republican line is that the estate tax is bad for farmers, but the Des Moines Register published a good piece over the weekend, noting that a “review of federal tax data and nonpartisan research on the subject shows that family farmers and small business owners represent a tiny share of estate tax payers, and that the taxes they owe rarely force them to sell land or quit farming.” ...

Then Benen gets to Grassley:

The data apparently hasn’t swayed Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), an ardent opponent of the estate tax.

In a Nov. 29 interview, Grassley was adamant about the need for change, even if farmers and small business owners represent a tiny minority of estate tax payers. The reason, he said, is as much philosophical as practical.

An estate tax effectively and unfairly taxes a person’s earnings twice, he argued: first when they earn it and again when they die. And, he added, it penalizes savers without touching spenders.

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said, “as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

It’s rare to see prominent politicians celebrate elitism with such candor. To hear Grassley tell it, multi-millionaires and billionaires – and their heirs – deserve an expensive tax break. If the rest of us spent our paychecks in ways Iowa’s millionaire senator approves of, perhaps we’d be millionaires, too.

In other words, if you’re not rich enough to qualify for the estate tax, it’s probably your fault – which is why congressional Republicans don’t see the need to “recognize” you.

Grassley’s quote may be provocative, but it’s not necessarily unique. There’s a deep strain of thought in contemporary GOP politics that says the wealthy are entitled to special benefits because they’re wealthy, while those on the lower end of the economic spectrum deserve less because they have less. ...
Last edited:

Richard Stanley

Part 2:

Charles Grassley is an interesting bird, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, yet not a lawyer, in an institution that is mostly comprised of lawyers. But more to the point here, and as mentioned before, he is a member of an odd and powerful, Globalist 'Christian' secret society.

The following is Wikipedia on how The Fellowship is modeled. The subsequent section discusses their secretive and Global nature. Sounds perhaps like a .... secret society?

Leadership model
Jeff Sharlet stated in an NBC Nightly News report that when he was an intern with the Fellowship "we were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao" and that Hitler's genocide "wasn't really an issue for them, it was the strength that he emulated."[34] In his book The Family, Sharlet said Fellowship leader Doug Coe preached a leadership model and a personal commitment to Jesus Christ comparable to the blind devotion that Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot demanded from their followers.[35] In one videotaped lecture series in 1989, Coe said,

"Hitler, Goebbels and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had... But they bound themselves together in an agreement... Jesus said, 'You have to put me before other people. And you have to put me before yourself.' Hitler, that was the demand to be in the Nazi party. You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people."[34][35]

In the same series, Coe also compared Jesus's teachings to the Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution:

I’ve seen pictures of young men in the Red Guard of China... They would bring in this young man’s mother and father, lay her on the table with a basket on the end, he would take an axe and cut her head off... They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of the mother-father-brother-sister — their own life! That was a covenant. A pledge. That was what Jesus said.[34][36]

David Kuo, a former White House aide to George W. Bush, said that Coe is using Hitler as a metaphor for commitment. The NBC report said "a close friend of Coe told NBC News that he invokes Hitler to show the power of small groups—for good and bad. And, the friend said, most of the time he talks about Jesus."[34]

Note, that Steve Bannon has also been quoted as saying that he operates on a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary model. And, that Jesus, the supposed Prince of Peace, said that he did not come to bring peace to the world, but the exact opposite, and to even rent families apart in the process. We're still waiting two thousand years for said peace, and now Steven Colbert is reporting that Trump is grabbing some of us by the peacey.

Jerry fortuitously discovered the analysis of Wolfgang Waldner's that exposes Karl Marx as a cynical aristocratic agent undercutting the interests of the former serfs cum industrial workers. These merely trying to 'collectively' leverage their political power to garner a better economic advantage from the inherited, noble landlords and mercantile class that ran Traditional Christian Feudal society. These workers 'selfishly' wanted more than subsistence (if they were garnering even that) wages for their exhausting 12 hour and more days' labor. How dare they challenge the interests of those that the Lord had obviously favored (the original Prosperity Gospel -- as opposed to the current debased Prosperity Gospel that includes any muffin head)?

The above dialectic, of lowly (white) workers versus the noble OC (Original Capitalists), is the economic basis of the extreme focus of Traditionalist Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant) on finding various authoritarian means to recontextualize the intentions of those chiseling scum that merely work for wages, inherently reducing the divine profit margins. Thus there is no middle ground away from the precepts of laissez-faire capitalist profits uber alles, all deviations are no better than a slippery slope to Marxist collectivism Unless, of course, crony capitalism is considered, otherwise known as socialism for the rich.

And the Traditionalists conveniently hang their hats on that many such workers and their fellow intellectual travelers come, one way or the other, to the position that the justifying religious mantle is ultimately a cultural scam, one originally produced by the original (Traditionalist) elites in the first place. As such, most all Culture War aspects become emotionally distracting side-shows from the above central economic issue.

While historically the elites always get to have their degrading cultural perversions, because of our phony, rigged democracy, most all such 'degradations' can be cynically pointed back to various godless people. Additionally, 'good' Christians, like televangelists, can be forgiven for behaving badly, especially because its ultimately the fault of the godless others ... and Satan.

The world being full of irony had a Catholic priest, after the Spanish Civil War, creating a huge economic enterprise where the workers are owners; the 'conservative' state of North Dakota has a state bank that is chartered to provide start-up loans to entrepreneurial citizens. Economic Georgism provides a means for individuals and societies to escape the Rent Trap, of which this is what our former feudal lords (and our Lord is an avatar for) based their living and wealth on, as rent landlords. On land which was originally 'nobly' garnered by dint of arms, not purchased with capital funds.

To (my) finish, Benin includes some anecdotes:

Earlier this year, for example one Republican congressman justified a vote on ACA repeal by saying Americans would be able to afford health security, without assistance, by giving up “getting that new iPhone.”

One of my favorite moments from 2012 campaign came when Mitt Romney praised “the entrepreneurial spirit” by pointing to Jim Liautaud, who struggled in school, but who borrowed some money from his father, created a sandwich business, and ended up with 1,200 Jimmy John restaurants across this country.

For Romney, this was clear proof that Americans “don’t need the government” to get ahead. Individuals, the Republican said, simply need to “look to themselves and say, ‘What can I do to make myself better?’”

The part of the story that Romney conveniently overlooked is the fact that the hero of the tale succeeded because he had a father with thousands of dollars he could lend to his son. Much of the country, meanwhile, doesn’t have enough money in the bank to cover a $400 emergency expense. What can you do to make yourself better? Romney’s suggestion was you can choose wealthier parents, though I’m afraid that’s impractical advice.

These are the people claiming to be acting in our self-interest. Any wonder why these Republicans seem so aligned with the economic interests of Trump? OK, Steve Bannon was 'politically' correct that Romney is a "vulture capitalist", but then why does supposed populo-nationalist Bannon support Trump, an international crony capitalist par excellence. It's all smoke and mirrors, meant to delude the gullible white serfs, once again.

In all this we can 'divine' the desired nature of the coming Global order, whether one wants to define it as Christian or otherwise. In either case, the economic interests of the Haves are always the same, and in the new order, automation will take many, if not most, of the wage jobs of serfs of old. Welcome to such as the Gig Economy or worse.
Last edited: