New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has a great article Thursday concerning business’s role in the Republican Party that has gone awry. Joining the Republicans in cynically using racism, xenophobia, misogyny and division of the country in order to win elections, business is suddenly being bitten in the ass by the monster they built:
The thing is, big business is reaping what it sowed. No single cause brought us to this terrible moment in American history, but decades of cynical politics on the part of corporate America certainly played an important role.
What do I mean by cynical politics? Partly I mean the tacit alliance between businesses and the wealthy, on one side, and racists on the other, that is the essence of the modern conservative movement.
For a long time business seemed to have this game under control: win elections with racial dog whistles, then turn to an agenda of tax cuts and deregulation. But sooner or later something like Trump was going to happen: a candidate who meant the racism seriously, with the enthusiastic support of the Republican base, and couldn’t be controlled.
Recently Tom Donohue, the chamber’s head, published an article decrying Trump’s mistreatment of children at the border, declaring “this is not who we are.” Sorry, Mr. Donohue, it is who you are: You and your allies spent decades empowering racists, and now the bill is coming due.
Krugman then goes on to discuss the various ways that Trump (and therefore Republican) policies are biting the very businesses that built the monster. From threats directly to businesses such as Harley-Davidson, to the spawning of the tariffs, to the concerns of a potential authoritarian executive.
Krugman’s article distills the very cynical game that businesses, particularly the Chamber of Commerce, have been playing for decades all in the pursuit of bigger and bigger tax cuts. They got their tax cuts not only from the federal government but also from states like Iowa, but in the process built a monster that they can no longer control.
Costs of government have been pushed on to a shrinking middle class while businesses pay less and less and get more and more through their “campaign contributions.”
Much like Frankenstein’s monster, the monster built by business has now been let loose on the public. Subduing it will not easy.