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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Kempism

Peter Spiliakos writes at First Things:
Kempism started as an opening to the working-class. Kempism argued—somewhat persuasively under the circumstances of the late-1970s—that the needs of entrepreneurs and wage-earners overlapped. Today, Kempism has degenerated into a rationalization for the interests and priorities of the affluent.
Kempism speaks for a Wall Street Journal editorial page that prioritizes tax cuts for businesses and high-earners above everything else. Kempsim speaks for the employers who want to make it easier to find workers (and to pay those workers less) as the labor market finally heats up after the Great Recession. The social basis of Kempism is now the business lobbies, and politicians like Paul Ryan whose experiences with the world of conservative think tanks are utterly alien to those of most American wage-earners.
On taxes, Kempism was a victim of its own success. Reagan-era tax reforms (in which Kemp played a big role) took many people off the income tax rolls entirely:  as of last year, about 45 percent of households (mostly lower income) paid no federal income tax at all.  As a result, income-tax cuts now disproportionately benefit the affluent.  

The other half of Kempism, which the article doesn't mention, consisted of proposals to help the poor, such as tenant management of public housing.

Good stuff by itself, but Kempism offered little to the people in between -- the blue-collar and pink-collar workers now flocking to Trump.