The question is, what happens if we dispense with this bourgeois conception of work and the ego ideal that attends it? Instead of repatriating work from overseas, or reclaiming factory labor from the robots on the shop floor, or increasing public spending to create full employment, what if we said, fuck work? Or, more politely: “We prefer not to. Work and life are not the same thing. And now that work matters less in the making of our character because socially necessary labor is, practically speaking, unavailable, we can create lives less burdened by its demands.”
Then, and only then, will we be able to address the real questions: How to detach income from work without hating ourselves, the recipients, for doing so? How to justify getting something for nothing—receiving income and consuming goods without producing anything of value? How to build individual character in the absence of real or meaningful work that pays a living wage? What is meaningful work, anyway?
While Trump has long refused to abide by the customs and traditions that dictate tax disclosure by presidents and presidential candidates, we know enough about his taxes to see that his new plan, although sorely lacking in detail, will serve his personal interest above all. (No, he didn’t put “America first.”) Although tax policy is often complicated and numbingly dull, the changes that Trump is seeking to benefit himself are really quite simple. The plan’s biggest “reform” is to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent — including the rate on so-called pass-through companies. Unsurprisingly, Trump owns more than 500 such firms, which allow his income to be taxed at the lower business rates rather than payroll rates. It also cuts the personal income tax rate on the highest earners, such as Trump, and the 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on unearned income. The reforms eliminate the alternative minimum tax, which required Trump to pay $31 million in 2005, according to a tax return that leaked last year. And the plan establishes a “territorial” tax system leaving all the profits earned by The Trump Organization in foreign countries. He aims to take care of his children, too, if not yours or America’s — so his plan also eliminates the estate tax entirely, allowing his billions to be inherited absolutely tax-free by Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, Barron and perhaps Tiffany.
To be a modern Republican almost necessarily entails a degree of comfort with epistemological nihilism. This insistent, all-encompassing bullshit is disorienting and a little stunning;