GOP Should Champion Markets, Not the Rich

October 31st, 2011 at 12:43 am | 53 Comments |

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David Frum recently asked: “Who Burned the GOP Brand?” In that blog post, he lamented that voters overwhelmingly believe that Republicans in Congress favor the rich.

Well, I think the divide between sane conservatives and the Tea Party is that the former want the GOP to be the party of free markets and the latter want it to be the party of the rich.

Some very rich people own right of center media outlets while other very rich people generously finance right of center think tanks and political activism (including the activism of the Tea Party). Furthermore, the party as a whole is unproportionally financed by rich people. So it is no surprise that the outlook of the Republican Party is heavily influenced by the rich people’s perspective.

Furthermore, the left often attacks the rich either because of envy and hatred or simply in order to attack the market economy by proxy. Such proxy attacks are more effective than actually arguing about the comparative economic merits of socialism and free markets, since, as Willi Schlamm famously observed, “The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.” So it is a natural reaction for Republicans to rise to counter those attacks. For the same reason it is also a mistake for them to defend their economic ideals by such a proxy.

On a practical political level it is a lot simpler to defend the free market ideas themselves rather than the rich, particularly specific individuals. The late Steve Jobs was probably the most popular billionaire in the country in recent years. Yet his new bestselling biography clearly shows that on a personal level he was a nasty man. The same is true for a lot of the rich. While nice guys don’t always finish last, it usually takes certain personality traits to make a lot of money, and those traits do not look pretty upon close inspection.

On a philosophical level the enrichment of the rich is merely a byproduct of the market economy rather than its goal. In fact if that were the goal then the free markets would not even be best for achieving it – other types of economic arrangements may perform better. E.g. Russia managed to produce a whole bunch of billionaires within a span of just several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Of course, Russia has also never in history managed to provide decent life for the majority of its population. A

nd herein lies the best reason for Republicans to support free markets in this country - they have generated unprecedented amounts of wealth for the vast majority of Americans. That is also why supporting the market economy (rather than the rich) is a winning proposition for Republicans. At least as long as the economy continues to deliver.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case in recent decades, and most of the benefits of the economic growth accrued to the rich rather than the middle class. Incidentally, the GOP was also doing quite poorly in the presidential elections for the last 20 years (the average Republican share of the two-party vote dropped from 56% between 1970 and 1990 to 48% between 1990 and 2010). Conservatives need to figure out why this is happening and what to do to reverse the trend.

Allowing it to continue is simply not an option. 1) If the GOP continues to be perceived as a party which cares only about the rich (and is willing to do anything – even a government shutdown or national default – to prevent the rich from paying one penny more in taxes), it may eventually go the way of its predecessor, the Whigs. 2) Increasing capital clumping may decrease our economic performance, and that in turn may eventually cause all sorts of nasty problems – from not being able to cope with rapidly aging population to being overtaken by China. 3) Emulating wealth distribution of Russia and Latin America may eventually cause us to emulate the politics of those places as well, with the conspiracy theorists’ vision of the American politics as a Honduras style proxy fight between George Soros and the Koch brothers for control of the country inching closer and closer to reality.

Unfortunately, I’m not very optimistic about the GOP starting to focus on the middle class prosperity very soon. Its reigning orthodoxy is expressed in the Ryan Plan which proposes to cut taxes for the rich (even though they already pay lower effective tax rates than some segments of the middle class) and abolish Medicare for everybody else.

Recent Posts by Andrew Pavelyev

53 Comments so far ↓

  • chicago_guy

    Believing that “the free market” is a winning public position assumes that the people haven’t seen what happens when America’s plutocracy is given free rein to manipulate laws and regulations in their favor.

    If the modern Republican party cared about expanding economic interests across the spectrum, they’d be pushing for legislation that rewards American companies for creating solid, good paying jobs here, rather than offering tax breaks for outsourcing. They would care as much about spending money on education as they did weapons systems, as education is the key toward innovation.

    Unfortunately, the modern day GOP is dedicated to two things only; 1) trying to stop any politician with a (D) after her or his name from passing any legislation, regardless of what it is, and 2) protecting the financial interests of the wealthy. History is what is is, and this version of the Republican party is not markedly different from the version that existed for most of the early 20th century, when they fought every movement that sought to protect the nation’s economy from the avarice of the upper 1%ers.

    • Ogemaniac

      A major failing of conservatives is their faith in free markets, which requires a grossly incomplete understanding of both market theory and the real world.

      Free market theory is laden with assumptions: perfect information, lack of pricing power due to oligopolies and monopolies, lack of externalities or agency, the non-existence of prisoner’s dilemmas or other negative-sum tragedies of the commons, the non-existence of public goods, no barriers to entry or exit, and even the immortality of the brilliant members of Homo Economicus that are supposedly living inside the free market model. Reality, of course, objects.

      Markets can be a highly useful tool for solving certain types of problems. But they often fail catastrophically if their flaws are not fixed. One of these flaws is that capital accumulates at the top until the whole system begins to topple, as we are seeing now. Re-distribution of the unbalanced wealth is necessary for the health of the whole system. There should be no moral objection to this, as it is patently obvious that the distorted distribution that we have has little to do with hard work, merit, or any other factor that one could consider fair.

      • balconesfault


      • think4yourself

        5 Stars (Balcone took the +1)

        • Fart Carbuncle

          - 4 from the top down.

          Marxism doesn’t work.

          I like the picture of the bum laying next to the sign advocating communism. It reminds me of the Soviet Union’s final collapse.

        • balconesfault

          Anyone who labels as Marxism a pitch for a free-market model which has mechanisms built in to ensure that too much money doesn’t concentrate at the top, and that enough money flows into the consumer class to ensure that our marketplaces continue to function rather than freezing up like a piston engine denied oil over time, is just too stupid to reason with.

        • larocquj

          Sounds like someone doesn’t have a good rebuttal to the argument presented by Ogemaniac. It’s a powerful one that has absolutely nothing to do with Marxism.

    • ratgov

      The question is, how do you avoid concentration of money at the top? Do you take money away from the rich? Do you tax at incredibly high rates >50% for high income (which still doesn’t prevent the wealthy from accumulating money)? Do you make a maximum wage? Complaining about income inequality is the easy part of the problem.

      • Ogemaniac

        It’s not hard to take money from the rich. You start with income taxes which include capital gains. You tax businesses as well. You tax inheritances – heavily. You implement luxury taxes. Wealth taxes. Progressive land or property taxes (yes, it’s possible…just exempt the first X dollars per person). You stack heavier regulations on bigger corporations, and break up the biggest.

        There are really a lot of ways to go about it, and the more we use, the better.

  • Bingham

    Break the oligarchs and shut the door.

  • hisgirlfriday

    And herein lies the best reason for Republicans to support free markets in this country – they have generated unprecedented amounts of wealth for the vast majority of Americans.

    As long as Republicans believe this lie, nothing will get better.

    Capitalism has generated unprecedented amounts of wealth, yes. But this wealth has been generated for a small portion of Americans, at least since the “free” market zealots took over. That’s what the income inequality gap is all about. Yet we have learned from this experience of the last 30 years that capitalism only brings broad-based prosperity where there is a strong labor interest to push back against the capital interest so they can hold each other accountable. It also helps where there is some state intervention in terms of an estate tax and a progressive income tax to keep capital from getting so concentrated in places that it inefficiently clogs up the flow of capital and labor through the market.

    The supposed “free” markets of the last 30 years have been nothing but really inefficient Darwinian capitalism. And I will never understand the unholy marriage that has taken place in the last 30 years between people who oppose natural selection when it comes to the human genetics, but embrace natural selection wholeheartedly when it comes to human economic prospects. Calvinism is not just bad religion (IMO), it’s bad economics too.

    • Bingham

      I wish that I had read more of the Brontes and less Austen when I was in college.

    • Ogemaniac

      There is nothing such as “Darwinian Capitalism”. Markets have only the vaguest resemblance to evolution, as the time scales are completely wrong. In evolution, it takes hundreds or thousands of generations for new species to emerge. This possible, as most species reproduce orders of magnitude faster than major climatic or ecological shifts occur. Corporations, in contrast, often outlive the markets in which they embed themselves and cannot live, give birth, and die repeatedly in order to find the optimal solution. Rather than by a Darwinian process, corportions actually more closely track the idea of Larmarkian evolution, where individuals change over time to fit their environment.

      The industry I work in first appeared in the 1940s in the US, with two corporations competing against each other (one a joint venture of two major corporations, the other a division of another megacorp). Within a few years, one corporation each appeared in Europe and Japan as competitors. It’s been over sixty years since then, and the only thing that has changed is the name of one of the companies, as it was bought and sold twice. It’ll probably be the same story the next sixty years.

  • Graychin

    Hatred? Envy? You would really dismiss the left so casually?

    You seriously believe that we lefties envy billionaires? That kind of money is a burden, not a blessing.

    Any hate that we lefties feel for billionares (the Koch brothers come to mind – and The Donald) is because they are assholes, not because they are rich. I’m not aware of any animus towards Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. Or Steve Jobs. Are you?

    • Kevin B

      Whenever a conservative writer describes liberals in this way, I think, “Here is someone who either can’t understand liberals, or can’t be bothered to try.

      On the other hand, this is a post about how the GOP should change its ways in order to be more effective. So maybe it’s okay to use a lazy stereotype of the opposition as a spoonful of sugar, to help the medicine go down with the intended audience.

      • NRA Liberal

        The “your just jelly” defense of free market fundamentalism says more about conservative psychology than anything.

    • rbottoms


      I don’t give a sh*t how much money Donald Trump has.

      The fact that he is a racist d*ckhead who has the GOP front runners kissing his a** is a symptom of how sick the Republican party has become.

  • Bobby McGee

    “Well, I think the divide between sane conservatives and the Tea Party is precisely that the former want the GOP to be the party of market economy and the latter want it to be the party of the rich.”

    You have 2 other posters here pushing the increae corporate lobbying and decrease speech from noncorporate sources. Either the sentence I quoted is completely backwards, of FrumForum is actually a Tea Party website. Which is it?

  • baw1064

    Furthermore, the left often attacks the rich either because of envy and hatred or simply in order to attack the market economy by proxy.

    So you think the country is divided into Republicans and hardcore socialists who want to abolish the free market? There are some such anti-capitalists among OWS, but the idea that they constitute a significant proportion of the country is absurd.

    There’s nothing anti-free market about wanting a tax system that’s less regressive, an adequate safety net, and economic policies that are equitable, rather than being written to favor the largest political donors.

    • rbottoms

      Why bother? No matter how close to reasonable sounding guys like this and Frum are they are convinced the political world is frozen in some time warp where conservatives grow and evolve while liberals are hippies stuck in 1969.

      Welfare reform never happened, we are always an inch away from jacking tax rates back up to 90%, and always, always, always no mater how insane their guys are, The Democrats Would Be Worse(tm).

      • baw1064

        Yeah, I really don’t get the 60′s obsession. I mean, it was half a century ago. It’s as far removed from today as World War 1 was from the 60′s.

      • balconesfault

        No matter how close to reasonable sounding guys like this and Frum are they are convinced the political world is frozen in some time warp where conservatives grow and evolve while liberals are hippies stuck in 1969.

        Great observation. We see this repeated over and over from various commentors here … Sinz immediately pops to mind. Their hatred of the Democratic Party stems from a reactionary faction of the Democratic Party that never really even dominated the Party the way the Tea Party currently dominates the GOP. Look at the Dem leadership during that period … LBJ, Hubert Humphrey, Mike Mansfield, Robert Byrd, Carl Albert, Hale Boggs, John William McCormack … in general, the only “radical” thing most of these men ever did was to support desegregation in the 60′s.

        They were far from anarchist Hippies … while the GOP is currently featuring leadership like Boehner and McConnell, who have declared that their primary legislative intent is to do what it takes to defeat a sitting President in the next election, and Eric Cantor – who IS a fire breathing radical who would happily see Government default on its obligations if that gave him leverage to gut social spending programs.

    • tommybones

      The days of polishing the turd known as the “markets” have come and gone. People are waking up to that sham.

  • SteveThompson

    Here is an article outlining the compensation package for the most highly paid CEO in the United States in the last fiscal year:

    Suffice it to say that Mr. Hammergren’s total compensation for 2011 certainly is eye-opening. Using the United States Census Bureau’s median household income number for 2009 of $50,221, Mr. Hammergren makes as much as 2980 “average” American families. While I’m certain that Mr. Hammergren runs McKesson very professionally and has led it through years of growth, one has to question whether his services really have the monetary value of the services that are rendered by nearly three thousand American families.

    I don’t think that these people need any help from any political party.

  • Scritor

    You know what, if the left is reduced to socialism, which it doesn’t support (social democracy in Europe is not socialism), then the right can be reduced to fascism.

    Note that there are about as many hard socialists as there are hard fascists and that neither is a significant number.

    Note, too, that the Whigs were actually a pretty good party. Kind of elitist, but with its heart in the right direction of boosting national growth and knitting the country together through interstate projects the states couldn’t do on their own. If the Whigs lived in the Gilded Age and irreversibly sided with capitalists defending economic rents in the place of regulation and market competition, then you would have a point. Of course, before Theodore Roosevelt, this wasn’t effectively curbed by Republicans. And after, Republicans of the 1920s went back to side with light regulations and low taxes on the super wealthy, which led to a spectacular speculation bubble and collapse we now call the Great Depression.

    Argue on the merits, please. I’m tired of reading about how Republicans are really the party of equality of opportunity while Democrats are the party of equality of outcome. When have you ever heard the Democrats say that they want everyone to earn the same amount? Wanting everyone to have equal access to health care is best understood as equality of opportunity. We have a universal education system–where is the equality of outcome?

    Republicans, based on this essay that fails to converge on an argument that they are not the party of the rich, are probably best understood as the party of persistent inequality of opportunity, which is explained away by saying it’s a natural condition and governmental attempts to fix it are destined to fail.

    • Demosthenes

      Note, too, that the Whigs were actually a pretty good party. Kind of elitist, but…

      “But”? What’s the matter with elitism?

      • Graychin

        At Frum Forum, nothing.

        Nothing at all.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        you mean apart from the sin of pride…
        “…And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

  • ottovbvs

    “Furthermore, the left often attacks the rich either because of envy and hatred or simply in order to attack the market economy by proxy. Such proxy attacks are more effective than actually arguing about the comparative economic merits of socialism and free markets,”

    This is a bit of a strawman argument and the differentiation between “sane” conservatives and the tea party is one entirely of Pavelyev’s invention. There is no substantive difference between them. No one is proposing turning the US economy into socialist one and Pavelyev knows it. In any case the fact is markets in the US aren’t perfect in the classical economic sense. They are subject to massive distortions by oligopolistic forces and government legislation and to suggest this is going to change in any material way is a bit silly. In fact you could easily argue that Republicans have been at least as active in distorting markets as the Democrats. There’s a classic case playing out in the committee charged with finding savings in the federal budget where Republicans on the committee are attempting to shield the Defense industry on the grounds that such cuts in spending would cost jobs. Of course this is enabling Keynesian economists like Krugman to have a lot of fun with Republican claims that cuts in education or infrastructure spending will result in more jobs while cuts in defense spending will cost jobs.

  • mannie

    The way I see it, the many of the “industrialized” nations are finding themselves wrong-footed with regards to finding a place in the new economic paradigm. They have too many citizens who are unexceptional, and thus unable to command any wage premium over an “emerging market” worker. Now in responce to this event, you have one camp who are ready to say “well, nothing can be done, so lets do nothing. Let the market work it out”. You have another camp who say, “lets not go down without a fight!” This is the camp who want to see more taxation and intervention, more money for education and infrastructure improvement, and perhaps, like me, ready to accept initiatives to devalue the USD and the Euro. I like the second camp, because they are ready to fight to generate some competitive advantage, rather than throw in the towel.

  • nister

    When competing suppliers submitted their price lists to me at Scott National [a produce/paper goods distributor], their prices invariably matched..regardless of the complexities entailed. Only a fool would believe they had not colluded to set the prices.

    Undoubtedly this was not always some point these companies decided the free market was perfect for others.

  • bamboozer

    Not well written but fundamentally correct. If the GOP puts all it’s eggs in the rich mans basket at some point the majority of people will realiz it’s not working for them. I would suggest we’re at that point. Side issues like abortion and guns softens the blow but in the long term Worship Of The Rich is not going to win elections, not even in that land of dillusion we call the south.

  • DeathByIrony

    This seems a perfectly fine premise fatally undermined by especially tired liberal strawmen.
    Liberals do not want a socialist republic any more than Republicans want to abolish farm subsidies and industry tax exemptions.

  • ottovbvs

    “Only a fool would believe they had not colluded to set the prices.”

    I’m not saying price fixing doesn’t happen it obviously does, but comparable prices are usually arrived at by more innocent and routine means. You just find out what price your competitor is charging and fix your price accordingly dependent on where you sit competitively. This is why price structures in some businesses are often masterpieces of complexity. And I speak of what I know. And the idea that large corporations want free markets is a complete myth. They want certainty or as close to it as possible and this means they try to stifle competion or at least manage it. The perfect business organisation for the corporation is the cartel, but our Mr Pavelyev has a rather naive view of business I’m afraid.

    • nister

      Price lists for products such as kraft paper are usually bound into booklets, because there are that many mils and sizes..didn’t stop them from being identical, or arriving on my desk within days, or hours, of a competitor’s. This was in the mid 70′s, before the web.

  • HighCountry

    To say that people on the left “hate the rich” (or envy them) shows a massive misunderstanding of what’s going on. I can’t even count how many times I’ve had to say this to my more conservative friends and family, but it’s NOT the rich people in and of themselves that are being protested. It’s the fact that the playing field is obviously tilted in their direction, and with the help of our politicians, our tax code, etc., the tilt is becoming more and more pronounced every day.

    • rbottoms

      To say that people on the left “hate the rich” (or envy them) shows a massive misunderstanding of what’s going on.

      Misunderstanding my a**. How about willful blindness that keeps Frum and his buddies inside a party that is not only working t eliminate abortion, but contraceptives as well.

      A full on theocratic nut house which they call the GOP, but is really Arkahm with keepers like Frum pleading with the Joker to only blow up half the city this time.

  • Watusie

    According to Forbes, the following people are all billionaires:
    Giorgio Armani
    Richard Branson
    Michael Bloomberg
    Steve Jobs
    Ralph Lauren
    George Lucas
    J.K. Rowling
    Steven Spielberg
    Oprah Winfrey

    I’m a liberal. For the record, I don’t hate or envy any of them.

  • jamesj

    “Well, I think the divide between sane conservatives and the Tea Party is precisely that the former want the GOP to be the party of market economy and the latter want it to be the party of the rich.”

    With much respect, I don’t see any evidence that the Tea Party wants the Republican Party to be the “party of the rich”. What they want, clear as day, is for the party to take its free market leanings to extreme levels. In other words, old-school Republicans like myself support free markets within reason because we think they will create good outcomes for actual human beings, but the Tea Party and the modern Republican Party support extreme markets for their own theoretical sake, without a clear understanding of the bigger theoretical picture or the negative consequences.

    “…free markets within reason…”

    I chose that phrase carefully. If “free markets” don’t result in the greatest possible well-being for the greatest number of Americans, why should I support them? The very laws of basic economics that you learn in econ 101 and 102 dictate that there will be major problems of negative externality, lack of perfect information, monopoly, and resource clumping in any completely “free” market. Free trade likely would increase the overall wealth and well being of the entire system if market actors had perfect information about their true needs and desires (which they don’t), but even then we should note that it is possible for Americans to suffer negative consequences while the entire system still realizes a net benefit. Even if “free” markets are the best way out of many imperfect ways to distribute resources, we must still recognize their obvious problems.

    Everyone who’s ever studied the dismal science has known the truth that there are no 100% correct answers in economics. There is no 100% right way to do things. No matter what economic policy you implement, there will be some consequences that some people are not happy with. But there are certainly WRONG answers. There are certainly policies that would result in massive pain for the majority of market actors.

    The modern Republican Party, led by the Tea Party, is choosing a path that has serious negative consequences for the majority of Americans and indeed the national unity. It is not the usual “let’s do the best we can for the majority of people and try to spread the burden equally”. It is more like “free markets are beautiful and perfect in my mind and I want to strip away any affront to their shiny magnificence”. I don’t think they truly understand the ramifications of the policies they support, and their focus is clearly not on the well being of humans beings but instead on the theoretical beauty they find in a specific interpretation of economics.

    It is funny how the Republican Party was once known for vigorous opposition to similar theoretical utopian economic theories. Times have changed.

    • drdredel

      Excellent post.

    • NRA Liberal

      “old-school Republicans like myself support free markets within reason because we think they will create good outcomes for actual human beings”

      “Old-school Republicans” such as yourself are now known as “Democrats”.

      Here’s a good essay called “The Marxism of the Right”:

    • Andrew Pavelyev

      jamesj, I basically agree with everything you wrote. I did not necessarily mean that the Tea Party consciously sees their goal as making the GOP the party of the rich (they may well be motivated by very dogmatic approach to conservative economic ideas). But it’s very instructive to look at their priorities during the debt ceiling debates. They strongly preferred preventing all and any tax increases on the rich to such important Republican priorities as reforming entitlements (and cutting other spending) and preventing massive defense cuts. No wonder 69% of voters say Republicans in Congress favor the rich – and that was actually the starting point for my article.

  • kuri3460

    There is a growing feeling that many of the biggest corporations and wealthiest individuals in America acheived their status not through the sweat of their brow and the strength of their ideas, but through greed, corruption, and ethically questionable practices. Because of their wealth, they possess a disproportionate amount of political influence, and use it to buy their way, directly or indirectly, into playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

    That’s what people have a problem with.

    They don’t have a problem with people who are rich – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, and George Lucas, just to name a few, are all billionares and all well-liked, or at least not disliked solely based on their wealth – but those who maintain their wealth by profiting on the misfortune of others, or for self-serving political purposes are another story, and rightfully so.

    Ironically, the isn’t capitalism either.

  • MurrayAbraham

    You have a good point when you say the GOP should champion the free market not the rich.

    Sadly you can’t keep yourself from building a straw-man – the left that wants Socialism- to make an argument.

    Nobody with any influence in this country supports Socialism, i.e. the collectivization of means of production. (Even Bernie Sanders is a Social-Democrat, not a Socialist). Using that straw-man will instantly turn off any Independent or moderate Dem.

    • drdredel

      It’s sort of the left’s fault for not coming up with an easy rejoinder term for what we *do want. It’s certainly not socialism, but rather a more safety net(ish) regulated capitalism. Maybe not quite as controlled as Sweden, but not too far fro that. But that certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue! We need a last name to attach to this idea…. (for my money, preferably not a Jewish one).

  • think4yourself

    Andrew, an interesting premise, but your article meanders around without making a clear point and no connection to get there.

    “Steve Jobs was probably the most popular billionaire in the country in recent years.” Well his products have been the most popular. I would suggest that Buffet and Oprah Winfrey were both more popular – And what does that have to with your point about the GOP & the rich?

    “the divide between sane conservatives and the Tea Party is precisely that the former want the GOP to be the party of market economy and the latter want it to be the party of the rich.”

    - Really? The Tea Party does not want to be the party of the rich. In fact, that party has it’s own with Wall Street. The TP has it’s roots in Libertarian tradition. It wants the end to gov’t intrusion and wealth has nothing to do with it. The Koch Brothers support the TP, because they want end to gov’t intrusion also, but their reasons (I believe) are not out of patriotic altrusism in support of the rights of the individuals – rather their desire to pursue profit, unfettered by gov’t oversight of any kind, regardless of any harm they do to others.

    My TP friends support the movement because they are tired of outsiders telling how to live their lives (it’s focused at the Federal level but they feel that way about all gov’t).

    As for your argument that the sane conservatives just want a market economy – you need to define that better. Do they want a market economy unfettered by any oversight where those who have the gold make the rules? Or do they want a market economy that is DESIGNED to provide the best outcome for the most amount of people which is not really a market economy? I hear the “sane” GOP arguing to lower taxes on the rich because that will lift up all ships, when tax levels for most are at historically low levels. I don’t hear too many GOP arguing that investing in systems that benefit those who are not rich (healthcare, safety net, etc.) will help the country become more competitive.

  • ASmith

    I think its time that Republicans revisited Adam Smith. Championing markets goes hand in hand with defending government from special corporate interests bending regulation to their advantage.

    I don’t think there should be anything at all inconsistent with conservatives adopting a Buffet Tax, and adding a damn substantial wealth tax on top, in fair exchange for lifting the layers of skewed regulations affecting businesses, or eliminating taxes on business profits.

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