It’s a common misconception in liberal media circles that Republicans govern solely to satisfy their wealthy donors. They do that too, but as the recent #CorkerKickback controversy reveals, they’re as motivated by financial self-interest as the president of the United States.
In his Tuesday column, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman argues that the GOP grift is even broader and deeper than the public realizes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is expected to be signed into law as early as this week, has a 26 percent approval rating, according to the latest Monmouth University poll. While they may not grasp its particulars, most Americans understand they will ultimately be paying more to finance tax cuts for multinational corporations and the 1 percent. What they may not know is that Republican officials themselves stand to profit handsomely from this legislation.
“Raw bribery probably isn’t the issue, although insider trading based on close relationships with companies affected by legislation may be a much bigger deal than most realize,” Krugman writes. “But the revolving door is an even bigger deal. When members of Congress leave their positions, voluntarily or not, their next jobs often involve lobbying of some kind. This gives them an incentive to keep the big-money guys happy, never mind what voters think.”
The malfeasance of Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is even more transparent. After initially voting against the GOP tax bill, citing concerns about the trillion dollars that would be added to the deficit over the next decade, Corker abruptly reversed course last week. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t issued a new report, so what changed?
Well, Republicans inserted a new provision into the legislation adding real estate companies to the list of “pass-through” businesses entitled to a huge tax break. The language directly benefits Donald Trump and—wait for it—Bob Corker, who owns a significant amount of income-producing property. Hence, the #CorkerKickback.
“We may never know exactly what happened with Corker,” Krugman concludes. “But there’s every reason to believe that Republicans in Congress are taking their cues from a president who openly uses his office to enrich himself. Goodbye, ideology; hello, corruption.”
Read Paul Krugman’s column at the New York Times.
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