RUSH: Here’s this Wall Street Journal story: “Could Trump Really Be Draining the Swamp?” This is five days ago now. The subheadline is: “The water appears to be receding in key Beltway bureaucracies.” “The Senate still hasn’t voted on Obamacare reform, U.S. workers are still waiting for tax cuts to…” Oh. That’s another story. I don’t know if I’m gonna have a chance to get into it today, but you’ve heard that Bannon has leaked that he wants Trump to go for tax increases on the rich. You’ve not heard that? Yeah.
This came out yesterday, the day before, that Bannon is trying to get Trump to go middle class, lower income tax cut big time, but at the same time a huge tax increase on the 1%, people making 485 grand or more a year. Bannon said he wants to see a tax rate that’s got a four in it. The current top marginal rate’s 39.6. He wants a rate of 42, 43, for people above $485,000 a year.
Now, the reason for it is apparently Bannon believes that Trump’s base and others, that a majority of Trump support comes from populist nationalists and — this is key — that populists, as opposed to conservatives or liberals, populists and nationalists are very open to class warfare. Let me put it this way. Bannon apparently believes that the majority of you who support Trump would also support really soaking the rich, that you have that in common with liberalism, class warfare aspects.
The story I saw, Bannon hasn’t been quoted, so, again, it’s in the media, could be all wet. But there were two stories on this I saw, and one of them said that Bannon firmly believes that to broaden Trump’s base, to steal support from Democrats and independents, that there must be a proposal to raising taxes on the rich, because it is a policy that a vast majority of Americans support whether they’re conservative, liberal, independent, moderates, you name it. And that Trump could go a long way to really damaging the Democrat coalition by peeling off a number of Democrat voters who really relish the idea of raising taxes on the rich.
And so he’s trying to get Trump to do it. There is no indication what Trump thinks about it. Probably a trial balloon that was floated out. The thing that got me about it was, you know, aside from the wrong-headed policy is the belief that this is how you broaden your base. If you’re Trump and your base is populists, nationalists as opposed to conservatives and liberals, that you can really, really own ’em if you support tax increases on the rich.
Now, my gut tells me that a majority of Trump supporters are ambivalent about that, and I don’t think, when you balance that against the rest of Trump’s agenda, they could take it or leave it. I don’t know how many of Trump’s supporters are these rabid soak-the-rich people, as apparently some people and their definition of populism would indicate. My sense, my feeling, my advanced thought process on this is that most Trump supporters are not pedal-to-the-metal raise taxes on the rich, that it’s not one of the things Trump could do that could really cement people’s support for him.
I think they support Trump whatever he does with the top 1% tax bracket or tax rate on the top 1%. I could be wrong about it. I don’t recall at any time during the campaign where the Trump campaign one time talked about raising taxes on the rich. Maybe it happened and I missed it, but what I took away from the campaign was that Trump was for tax cuts across the board for the stimulus of the economy that would occur. Keep more money in the economy, keep more money in the private sector, the economy grows and expands and more people get hired. I just don’t recall Trump standing for or proposing a tax increase. Maybe he did. I don’t recall.
Now I’m starting to recall. I’ve got vague memories. Anyway, it’s out there and again I don’t know whether it’s just trial balloon or whether they’re serious about it. But the point of the Wall Street Journal story is the Senate still hasn’t voted on Obamacare reform, workers are still waiting for tax cuts, and Trump’s trading insults with the media.
By the way, did you notice how quickly Joe Scarborough and crazy Mika vanished from the front pages? Did you notice that? Huh. Well, anyway, Mr. Freeman here at the Wall Street Journal is writing that despite none of these things having happened yet, they’re in the hopper, but they haven’t happened, Trump appears to be making progress in what might have seemed the most difficult job given to him by voters, and that’s reducing the power of Washington’s permanent bureaucracy or the administrative state.
“Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t exactly dying to move to Washington to run a federal department, but he seems to have warmed to the task. Max Bergmann, a former Obama Administration official now at the leftist Center for American Progress, writes in Politico that the ‘deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.’ Discounting for the usual Beltway hyperbole, this probably isn’t as good as it sounds.”
But apparently Rex Tillerson is beginning to clean house over there. And a couple of other federal bureaucracies people are leaving; their overall size is being reduced. It’s not dramatic in big numbers, but it’s starting to happen. This has not happened in previous administrations. And the Journal asks in this story, “Could Trump Really Be Draining The Swamp?” Folks, I think some of this chaos is by design. It is a distraction. It’s designed to get the media paying attention to themselves or looking elsewhere while Trump does things that they would abhor and despise.
I don’t think Trump is the neophyte Washington player that everybody makes him out to be. I don’t think Trump is bumbling around, stumbling into corners and chairs and footstools and stuff not knowing what he’s doing. I think he’s smarter than all of these other people put together, and it’s fascinating because they think he’s such an idiot, a bumbling fool, and that they are running rings around him. It’s kind of an interesting juxtaposition.