There are some things all Republicans agree never to say out loud-- although it isn't their homophobia. Yesterday the Associated Press reported that one of the top Ohio Senate candidates, multimillionaire investment banker Mike Gibbons, blurted one of them out. Like Rick Scott (R-FL), Gibbons thinks the middle class doesn't pay its fair share of taxes and that they need to pay more-- while multimillionaires and billionaires should pay less. "The top 20% of earners in the United States," he whined, "pay 82% of federal income tax-- and, if you do the math, and 45% to 50% don’t pay any income tax, you can see the middle class is not really paying any kind of a fair share, depending on how you want to define it." Clearly, Gibbons-- a class war kind of Republican-- does not believe in a progressive income tax.
But, in terms of the midterms, it probably doesn't matter. Like I've been saying, most voters-- who pay relatively little attention to issues-- are in a surly mood and set to take it out on Democrats for not living up to basic promises, from raising the minimum wage to lowering the cost of drugs. All the prognosticators agree-- the wretched asshole and values-and-ethics-free jellyfish Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, the most hated person in American politics, are going to be elected Speaker of the House and Senate majority leader by an American public largely unaware that they're picking the House speaker and the Senate majority leader.
Ben White wrote that voters are mad that prices are high-- inflation is happening worldwide but for most there is no world beyond their narrow vision-- and that the COVID pandemic hasn't disappeared. The sour mood is propelling them towards a GOP who will certainly make their lives worse in every conceivable way. But the general public seems to think the Republicans are now the lesser evil. "And with inflation persisting and Russia’s war on Ukraine stoking uncertainty," reported White, "there are indications that public sentiment is getting worse, not better, posing a growing threat to Democrats’ already slim chances of holding onto Congress, they say. The widely watched University of Michigan consumer confidence survey recently touched its lowest level in almost 11 years. An Associated Press/NORC survey showed that almost 70 percent of Americans think the economy is in poor shape, and 81 percent of those in a poll released by CNBC see a recession coming this year. Gallup found the share of Americans citing inflation as the top issue is now at its highest level since the 1980s. 'The big run-up in gas and food and home prices has really caused great hardship for many households,' said Richard Curtin, a veteran economist who has run the University of Michigan consumer survey since 1976. 'And the Biden administration made a critical error in saying it would be transient and people should just tough it out. It wasn’t transient. A lot of people couldn’t just tough it out. And it caused a big loss of confidence in [President Joe Biden’s] policies.'"
How do the Democrats right this sinking ship? Is it too late? This morning, I talked about this with two progressive Senate candidates, Alan Grayson, the former congressman from Orlando who would like to take on Marco Rubio in November and Dr. Glenn Hurst, the progressive Senate candidate in Iowa. [You can contribute to their campaigns here.] Grayson said that "That Gibbons quote is a good example of 'lies, damned lies, and statistics.' Last time I looked, the U.S. had the fifth most unequal distribution of income in the world. And yet Gibbons thinks that our biggest problem is that the rich don’t have enough money."
Hurst finished his thought, telling me that "The wealth distribution curve in this country is so skewed to the rich that there is essentially no such thing as a middle class. There are the extremely rich and there are the rest of us. As a physician, I have more in common with a drug dealer in terms of ability to generate wealth than I have in common with the top 1%. This is the result of failed trickle down economics for the last 4 decades. That wealth they are so worried about taxing is money that was taken from the American coffer and pocketed for private gain. It's time to get a refund on our investment and begin repairing the damage of 40 years of a failed economy for everyone except the top 1%."