Opinion | Freedom is just another word for not paying taxes

After Donald Trump was convicted on 34 counts, the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank that has, among other things, produced the Project 2025 agenda, a planimetry for politics if Trump wins – an American flag was flying upside downwhich has become an emblem of MAGA support in general and voter rejection in particular.

This action may have shocked some old-line conservatives who still thought of Heritage as a serious institution, but Heritage is, after all, just a think tank. It’s not as if the upside-down flags are being waved by people we expect to defend our constitutional order, like Supreme Court justices.

Oh wait.

But Heritage’s embrace of what amounts to an attack on democracy is a useful symbol of one of the truly worrying developments of this election as it heads into its final stages. Inheritance It shows up as a defender of freedom, but his real mission has always been to produce arguments, often based on poor research – for low taxes on the rich. And his tacit support for lawlessness illustrates the way many American plutocrats – both in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street – after flirting with the bizarre candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., they rallied around Trump.

Why should billionaires support Trump? It’s not that they performed badly under President Biden. Stock prices – which Trump expected would collapse if he lost in 2020 — they have skyrocketed. High interest rates, which are a burden to many Americans, are if anything a net benefit to wealthy people with money to invest. And I doubt the super-rich suffer much from rising fast food prices.

Rich Americans, however, are surely betting that they will pay lower taxes if Trump wins.

Biden and his team offered quite explicit indications on their tax agenda, which would directly raise high-income Americans and also raise corporate taxes, which indirectly would be mostly a tax on the rich. These measures would not have produced top-level taxes remotely comparable to what they were during the Eisenhower years, when the top marginal income tax rate was 91 percent and large estates could face inheritance taxes of up to 77 percent. However, Biden’s plans, if realized, would make the rich a little less rich.

Trump has been much less explicit, but he clearly wants to keep the 2017 tax cuts in full, and his allies in Congress are committed to more than that. tax cuts but a hungry the Internal Revenue Service resources, which would allow the wealthiest Americans to avoid legally owed taxes.

So billionaires are not wrong in thinking they will pay less taxes if Trump wins. But why aren’t they more concerned about the bigger picture?

After all, even if all you care about is money, Trump’s agenda should make you very worried. His advisors’ plans to deport millions of immigrants (presumably only the undocumented, but do you really think many legal residents wouldn’t get caught in dragnets?) would reduce the U.S. workforce and be extremely disruptive. His protectionist proposals (which would be very different from Biden’s targeted measures) could mean an all-out global trade war. If he gets any good, his attacks on the independence of the Federal Reserve will risk inflation far more severe than anything we have experienced in recent years.

On top of all this, Trump will almost certainly seek to weaponize the justice system to prosecute his perceived enemies. Only someone completely ignorant of history would imagine themselves safe from that kind of weapon – even if Trump considers you an ally now, that can change in an instant.

And if you’ve been following Trump’s chart, you’ll know that his rhetoric is becoming less rational and more vindictive as the week goes on. Yet his support among billionaires seems, if anything, to be consolidating.

So what’s happening? Here’s what I think, although it’s certainly speculative.

First, American oligarchs likely believe that their wealth and influence would protect them from the arbitrary exercise of power. Trump and company might turn corrupt law enforcement and a cowed judiciary against other people, but definitely not them! When they realized it how wrong they wereit would be too late.

As I’ve written before, the super-rich can be extraordinarily narrow-minded and ignorant when it comes to history.

Secondly, on some level I don’t think it’s about money. How much does a billionaire’s quality of life change if he has to settle for a slightly smaller superyacht? At the top of the pyramid, wealth depends largely on status and personal importance; ace Tom Wolfe he wrote long ago, it’s about “seeing them jump”.

And when politicians don’t jump, when they don’t treat the richest with the deference and admiration they consider due, some of them get angry. We have seen this when many Wall Streeters he turned against President Barack Obama – after helping bail them out during the financial crisis – because they felt insulted by his occasional criticism.

Biden is certainly no class warrior, but he clearly doesn’t love the superrich. And too many of them turn to Trump out of sheer meanness.