Cenk Uygur on Tax Cuts for the Rich

Cenk Uygur has been slowly breaking into the mainstream for a while. He now has his own segment on Ratigan’s show.

It’s interesting that Cenk Uygur used to be a Republican. This makes obvious why he left the Republican party.

The question I wonder about is: What is the motivation for Republicans being for and Democrats being against tax cuts for the rich? Many like to argue that both parties are in the pocket of the wealthy elite. But if that were the case, Democrat politicians should support tax cuts for the rich as much as Republicans do.

10 thoughts on “Cenk Uygur on Tax Cuts for the Rich

    • My most recent post might answer your question.


      It’s part of what is called “Starve the Beast”. The plan that Republicans have followed in recent decades is to cut taxes to the rich which vastly decreases the wealth of the govt. The idea is to shrink the govt until it’s small enough to drown in a bath tub.

      The tricky part is that Republicans don’t seek to lessen govt spending on their favorite expensive issues such as military. What they really want to get rid of is social programs, but social programs are so popular that they can’t get rid of them in a direct fashion. So, they simply seek to create a massive national debt which will eventually create an economic crisis and which will force spending to be decreased on social programs.

      Republicans understand that the American public trusts them the most during crises. So, they seek to keep the country in endless destabilization. It proves them correct. Republican politicians use small govt rhetoric in saying the federal govt doesn’t work. When they get in office, they do all they can to undermine the federal govt so that it won’t work.

      Ultimately, Republicans want a private sector of big business that is more powerful than the federal govt. One interesting example is the military. Republicans love the military, but they claim to hate socialism which is a bit problematic considering the military is the most socialist part of the entire govt. This might be why the military has been slowly privatized. Once upon a time, the US govt made all of it’s own weapons using govt facilities, but this has been increasingly contracted out to the private sector. In order to avoid implementing a draft, former president Bush contracted guns-for-hire (such as Blackwater which was even used domestically such as after hurricane Katrina). The military-industrial complex hasn’t shrunk. It’s merely being privatized.

      What all of this does (tax cuts for the rich included) is to make wealthy capitalists wealthier. The wealth disparity has been increasing for decades. The living wage of the average American hasn’t improved (become worse if anything) while the wealth of the upper classes has grown immensely.

      I’m in the middle of writing another post about this topic which I will probably finish in a short while.

      • I should point out that, according to Lakoff in his book Moral Politics, Republicans do all of this according to their moral vision. It may seem evil to a liberal, but it’s perfectly moral to many conservatives.

        In US conservatism, the private sector is seen as a free market and so represents meritocracy. Conservatives tend to believe wealthy people deserve their wealth because they supposedly earned it. So, taxing them is wrong. The entire govt based on taxation is suspect because politicians don’t earn the money they spend.

        Republicans see only two moral purposes that federal govt can serve: (1) National self-defense which is why they love the military; and (2) ensuring the moral order. Since the wealthy deserve their wealthy, it follows the poor deserve their poverty. Having a high wealth disparity ensures this rigid “moral order”. If the federal govt undermines this moral order, then the federal govt itself should be undermined. In fact, it becomes a moral obligation to undermine such an immoral govt.

        This is why Republicans hate Communism. It’s not that Communists are totalitarians, but that Communism opposes capitalism. Republicans are fine with totalitarianism just as long as it supports the capitalist “moral order”. OTOH Republicans see no problem with the incidents of the US govt using it’s power and influence to topple democratically elected govts when those govts didn’t fit their notion of a moral order.

        Conservatives fear democracy because democracy gives power to the average person and the below average person, but the lower classes shouldn’t have such power because (like wealth) they didn’t earn it. The wealthy elite deserve the right to maintain their power. As conservatives see it, if you give the public majority power, they will become a mob and the country will be ruled by a mobocracy. Conservatives don’t trust the average person which I think goes back to the Protestant theology of a chosen elect who are saved, who are morally worthy, and hence who should lead the morally inferior.

        Liberals, of course, see nothing moral about this conservative vision of society.

  1. Damn, that is some crazy shit. I can’t wrap my head around it, uh-uh, it is not amenable. Then, my country doesn’t really have a problem? Recently, I read quite a few classic novels and what you described is akin to 18th century England. Funny shit. Doesn’t make sense, how do they believe this, how do they think? It puzzles me

    • Well, it particularly seems crazy because I’m a liberal explaining a conservative worldview. Any part of what I’ve explained can be portrayed in terms that seem the height of sanity and morality.

      Conservatives can go on and on about the moral superiority of free markets and their rhetoric can be quite inspiring in its own way. They really do believe in meritocracy. I agree it’s a noble ideal to strive for, but where I disagree is that their vision of meritocracy (and their methods of getting there) doesn’t seem very meritocratic to my egalitarian sensibilities.

      There are two distinctions that should be made.

      First, there may be a distinction between what conservative leaders believe and what conservative followers believe.

      I was mostly explaining the worldview of Republican politicians who are mostly neoconservatives with a penchant for libertarian rhetoric. How much they believe their own libertarian rhetoric is anyone’s guess. Reagan quite likely did believe that decreasing govt spending was important, but maintaining the moral order was even more important. Reagan was willing to sacrifice his fiscal conservativis in order to enact his moral vision. Tax cuts to the rich was part of his ideal of meritocracy. It makes perfect sense if you agree with conservatives that the wealthy are wealthy because they earned it and that their earning it proves their moral worth, their moral superiority even.

      The question is: Does the average conservative voter actually agree with all of this? Does the average conservative even understand why Republican politicians implement certain policies? Do they understand the implications of all this? If they do understand, why do working class or even middle class Republicans support tax cuts for the rich? One explanation is that they also believe in meritocracy and so they believe that if they work hard then someday they too will get tax cuts.

      The second distinction is between rhetoric and reality.

      You could argue either way about whether any given politician actually believes what they preach. I generally think politicians will say whatever gets them votes and whatever will sound like a good rationalization for their actions. The average conservative voter obviously believes the rhetoric. When a politician says they’re against govt spending, it wins elections. It really doesn’t matter if he decreases spending and few will remember this fact at the next election. Plus, the average conservative shares the same vision of a moral order.

      I’d also add the data from Bob Altemeyer’s research. Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) is more common, at least in the US, among conservatives (especially social conservatives). RWAs make good followers. As long as their leader says the right thing, RWAs don’t tend to question or criticize. I’d like to know much of Republican politics is dependent on the RWA base which is a decent portion of society. In the US, RWAs are mostly found among the religious right which is a very powerful and influential political demographic.

      You ask, “how do they believe this, how do they think?” I’d simply say it’s a coherent and self-contained worldview. It makes sense from within the worldview itself. Any worldview can look a bit odd from the outside. However, from within, a worldview will always make sense because the person within it believes it makes sense and everyone they are surrounded by tells them it makes sense.

      This is what Robert Anton Wilson referred to as a reality tunnel. Maybe there is no final and singular correct worldview, but that isn’t to say all worldviews are equal. Choose your illusion with care or else someone else will choose your illusion for you.

      Most people would rather not be responsible for having to choose their own worldview. Maybe that is forgivable. Trying to actually understand the world can make one’s mind hurt. I sometimes wish I was just some ignorant schmuck who believed what the media tells me or what the preacher tells me. Life would be simpler if I didn’t think so much.

  2. Truly, life would be far, far simpler. It was in Goo Goo Dolls song, ‘Name’ that I heard this: ‘grew up way too fast, now there’s nothing to believe’. I remember reading in one of Bertrand Russells essays that he asked when young that if God caused the world then what caused God? One of my own thoughts when young. I’m starting to be like a CD on loop (with all the p-type talk) but let me say it’s being bandied around that Russell was an xNTP so…

    For me, thinking is one of the most enjoyable things, no, it is THE most delightful thing and I can’t stop; whatever I see is going to go on my mental Ferris wheel with the whole viewed with X-ray vision.

    But, it can be annoying especially for topics involving beliefs like this one. The annoyance usually comes from that ‘self-contained’ belief; no objectivity of the stance. That attitude of mechanizing humanity is the most anoying. Most worldviews hold that ‘this will, that will’, with no reservation. Without a thought for the complexity of the human animal, these worldviews proceed. Maybe, they do recognize the sense of the objections but still press on.

    For the most part, we allow it to happen, not that we are inclined to do this or that. Believably, worldviews cannot predict human behavior with all it’s complexity, the future is never really well factored into the thought; they tend to project today on tomorrow and just pust beards and breasts on the kids, and color the adults hair white, discounting the changes that they will undergo and the changes that will occur around the system used for the projection. Okay, I allow it to happen. Unfortunately, majority of the population follows and is fooled into thinking that ‘this is how we are’, rather than being unpredictable.

    I want to say something but it is more appropriate for the either of the other posts I commented on.

  3. Sorry, that third paragraph doesn’t read well(though I know you will get it), it’s supposed to be ‘okay I allow…’ before that bit on beards and white hair. Just want to clear it up for my own minds exculpation.

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