Trump on a wealth tax: A very conservative thing to do, if it’s helping pay down the national debt

posted at 2:01 pm on August 12, 2015 by Allahpundit

Nice catch by Jamie Weinstein from last night’s Trump interview with Hannity. Skip to 3:55 of the clip below for the key bit. To be clear, this an idea Trump proposed 15 years ago, not one he’s proposing now, and he stresses that he would have paired the tax with a balanced-budget amendment to control spending. If you think the hypothetical about 10 dollars in cuts for every dollar in tax hikes is an acceptable trade-off in the name of getting America’s house in order, as some Republicans do, Trump might well agree. The thing is, says Weinstein, lots of conservatives don’t think that’s acceptable. And the reason Trump’s not proposing this tax hike now isn’t because he’s come to think it’s a bad idea, it’s because the national debt has grown so enormous in the intervening years that even soaking the rich wouldn’t pay it down completely. Which means, says Weinstein, that Trump apparently still thinks it’s a good idea on the merits:

Trump’s problem with the tax seems less philosophical than the fact the national debt has increased so much that his proposal would no longer erase it. But that’s not really a good reason to drop the idea. Even if it wouldn’t any longer erase the national debt, erasing $6 trillion or so would go a long way to getting our debt into a more stable position, no?

The point is there are serious philosophical and economic reasons to oppose a massive wealth tax of the type Trump once proposed. But those aren’t the arguments Trump is standing on to explain his reversal in position. Quite the opposite. He maintains the proposal remains fundamentally conservative.

Is it fundamentally conservative now, even if it wasn’t yesterday? Trump is building a fan base among Republicans so ardent that his opinion singlehandedly might carry enough weight with some of them to get them to rethink their view of which position on a given policy matter is the truly conservative one. The conventional conservative read on taxing the rich is that it’ll backfire: More money to Uncle Sam means less capital being invested in the private sector to generate jobs, which means slower growth, which means more economic misery and, ironically, less tax revenue for the government. The view these days among some (not all) Trump fans about conservatism, though, seems to go like this: The establishments of both parties are hopelessly statist, therefore the best way to promote conservative policies is to back the guy who threatens to smash the establishment, whatever his own policies might be. Essentially, Trump qualifies as a “populist conservative” by making up for what he lacks in conservatism with unapologetic populism. So if the establishment’s Republican boogeyman says tax hikes on the rich are worth considering, why not? That’s a small price to pay for sweeping the ruling class away.

That’s how some Trump fans will make peace with this, I assume. For others, resolving the cognitive dissonance of a “conservative” hero endorsing tax hikes is simpler. As one reader put it in the comments to the Headlines item on Weinstein’s post:


This is all a tactic of Trump to confuse the left. It keeps his name in the leftist media, it keeps squishy GOPe people on the defensive and meantime he’s getting tons and tons of free press.

Donald know what he is doing. When he’s done, he will be the perfect conservative nominee, a Tea Party dream.

I think that comment was made earnestly, but I honestly can’t tell some of the parodies of pro-Trump arguments from the real thing anymore. I guess his ongoing defense of taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood is also some sort of brilliant ruse that’ll lead to the total destruction of the abortion industry once President Trump is safely sworn in. Which does, actually, sort of make sense given Trump’s core appeal: If you believe he’d possess some sort of magical power as president through the force of his personality or his wealth or whatever that would somehow force Republicans and Democrats in Congress to bend to his will, then it’s not hard to believe that his defense of Planned Parenthood and tax hikes now will lead to the end of both once he takes power. The beauty of magic is that it seems to make the impossible possible, even when you know it’s an illusion.

Exit question via Rick Wilson: How come all of Obama’s worst traits (not including his fondness for taxing the rich) are okay when they’re found in Trump?

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

He said that about way back then, when the debt was small.

You’re being fooled, by the media, incl. AP.

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2015 at 3:28 PM

You obviously didn’t read far beyond the headline. You’re being fooled by yourself more than you’re being fooled by Trump. Something’s wrong with you people.

CanofSand on August 13, 2015 at 2:19 AM

Define “conservative” via your own “purity test”. Oh and BTW – your GOPe Party says that such tests are verboten.

Augustinian on August 12, 2015 at 3:39 PM

When you and yours are done rolling with the hogs in the mud, THEN maybe you can get all indignant about people whining about what you seem to think is just a little dirt.

CanofSand on August 13, 2015 at 2:22 AM

I see the GOPe trolls and their sock puppets are out in full force. Not very Sport-ing

Brock Robamney on August 13, 2015 at 5:20 AM

Trump is the only one who can win. Nominate Bush and the GOPe Amnesty Crowd at your peril

Brock Robamney on August 13, 2015 at 5:23 AM

Scott Walker supported Tarp

Brock Robamney on August 13, 2015 at 5:24 AM

It would require Congress doing something that it rarely does, especially on matters so yuuuge: It would have to exercise its jurisdictional check on the courts, which have ruled both birthright citizenship to be part of the 14th Amendment, and that states must provide social services like education etc to illegal aliens.

Yeah, calling on them to overrule the courts is kind of a big deal…

JohnGalt23 on August 12, 2015 at 10:13 PM

While I think the U.S. should get rid of the idea of “birthright citizenship” and get rid of the idea that any gov’t must give benefits any kind to illegals, I don’t think that is necessary to reduce the flow of illegals and reduce the number of illegals already here.

If the U.S. used E-verify for all employment and all benefits, it would slow down those obtaining employment illegally. Part of that would have to be updating and improving the SS records system so that births and deaths are properly recorded. Using e-verify for entitlements would mean that illegals would be identified.

Start enforcing the borders better. Stop catch-and-release. Reform the immigration courts so that deportation is quicker. Increase investigations/raids on businesses hiring illegals and increase severely fines for hiring illegals.

Get rid of sanctuary cities. Require hospitals and schools to report illegals.

Yes, we can’t “round them all up”, but if we start rounding up more than we do, and quickly deporting them, reduce the available jobs for them, make obtaining education, health care, and entitlements more risky (because alerting authorities to their status), you would see more self-deport and less coming here.

The easier we make it to obtain health care, education, and entitlement – the more illegals we have. Subsidizing something always creates more of it.

the more we allow businesses to hire illegals, the more illegals we have.

We start cracking down on those two things, the less illegals we have.

the only reason we don’t crack down on those things is because business wants illegal labor to keep wages low. That is the only reason from the GOP standpoint. The GOP’s funding wants cheap labor. That’s it.

The DNC wants illegals to expand its voter base and appease its Hispanic constituency.

Birthright citizenship is a terrible, terrible policy. It makes no sense. If a pregnant person comes here on vacation and has a kid – citizen!! If an illegal manages to get across the border 1 inch and drop the baby – Citizen!!

That is just stupid by any reasonable standard. But, realistically, it will likely take a Constitutional Amendment at this point to get rid of it because of SCOTUS precedent.

Requiring entitlements to illegals is also stupid. Entitlements should only be for citizens and legal residents. After that, you are on your own.

If the world were a perfect place, and we had true free trade and no welfare state – I would not have as much of a problem with open borders. But, as long as we have a welfare state and trade is imbalanced, we must protect our citizens above citizens from other countries.

It makes no sense to fight for the free movement of labor before achieving victory against the welfare state – that is where I think Libertarians are wrong. Their priorities are backwards.

You can be Libertarian and still believe that the government’s duty is to its own citizens and protecting them. While there is a welfare state, if the gov’t allows unregulated immigration, it is harming its citizens by imposing the heavy burden of costs for entitlements on its citizens, as well as harming its citizens by forcing wages downward.

Indeed, the Libertarian position on open borders now actually hurts the libertarian position on every other issue, because the immigrants from Central/South America are going to vote with the left (every country they come from is left to far-left, so how anyone believes they would support Libertarianism or conservative ideas is absurd – they were raised steeped in leftism), creating an even bigger, more overbearing gov’t.

So, open borders is a poison pill for Libertarianism. Winning it will destroy any chance of reducing the size/scope of the federal gov’t.

Monkeytoe on August 13, 2015 at 8:53 AM

Another day another article trying to paint Trump in a bad light.

There is nothing he said that is in any offensive or bad, He tied the 2 together and it was not about today like he said.

This is a giant nothing burger.

brainpimp on August 13, 2015 at 9:44 AM

If Trump wants to raise taxes on the rich, and so does Hillary, – and she does – they agree. SAME as obama.

AprilApple on August 12, 2015 at 3:52 PM

… as well as pretty much every establishment candidate! Shame there’s not a differentiator otherwise all this fury could be redirected. I think the moderates are just pissed because Trump isn’t THEIR moderate.

dominigan on August 13, 2015 at 2:46 PM

And the Clinton’s attending his wedding? Yeah – and? So what? What’s the crime here?

Besides the old saw about “Show me who your friends are…”?

JohnGalt23 on August 12, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Or do you mean with Rubio hobnobbing with Schumer over amnesty?
Or do you mean Bush who admitted to wanting to destroy conservatives?
Or do you mean Kasich saying he wouldn’t go after Hillary?

Not sure why you’re so upset with Trump…

You’re just pissed because he’s not YOUR moderate, and you can’t control him.

Scorched earth.

dominigan on August 13, 2015 at 2:50 PM

I think the blocks need to be kicked over. I have no illusions about him being a conservative. I just figure that if we are going to be stuck with Jeb or someone like Jeb, screw it.

Monkeytoe on August 12, 2015 at 3:49 PM

Exactly. That is my point to. I won’t vote for him to represent me. But I will support him as long as he’s tearing the establishment and media to pieces.

dominigan on August 13, 2015 at 2:52 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4