The United States has a large deficit; a growing population of elderly people who rely on entitlement benefits for their livelihoods; a vast military that both parties are committed to expanding; a historic drug crisis; one of the highest rates of childhood poverty in the developed world; and levels of economic inequality so gargantuan, the top 0.1 percent of Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
These conditions have led the political leaders of one of our political parties to an inescapable conclusion: Now, more than ever, the American government must make cutting taxes on rich people its top priority. (For some strange reason, roughly 99 percent of Americans take a different view.)
All that’s to say: The dissonance between the challenges our nation faces and our government’s priorities has become so great, American politics is starting to resemble a heavy-handed, liberal satire of itself. Sometimes, it can feel like the entire country has been living inside an Andy Borowitz headline for the past eight months.
Things have been so grimly absurd, one can almost imagine Trump arguing that the best way to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma would be to expedite his plan for radically reducing federal revenues: “With thousands rendered homeless by natural disasters, it’s never been more important to let the heirs of multimillion-dollar estates collect their inheritances without paying a cent of taxes.”
It sounds crazy, I know. But you can almost picture it, can’t you?