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‘Useful idiots’: NYT’s Krugman blasts shortsighted billionaires who tolerate Trump’s racism for the tax cuts

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On Monday, Nobel Prize-winning economist and political commentator Paul Krugman relased a New York Times column blasting billionaire executives like Stephen Ross, who claim to not support President Donald Trump in everything he does, but support him enough to hold six-figure private fundraisers at their mansions.

“Most reporting on the Ross event has focused on the possible adverse effects on his business empire: The young, educated, urban fitness fanatics who go to his gyms don’t like the idea that their money is supporting Donald Trump. But the foolishness of Ross’s Trump support goes well beyond the potential damage to his bottom line,” said Krugman. “I mean, if you’re a billionaire who also happens to be a racist, supporting Trump makes perfect sense: You know what you’re buying. But if you’re supporting Trump not because of his racism but despite it, because you expect him to keep your taxes low, you’re being, well, an idiot.”

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Krugman pointed out that tax cuts don’t actually help billionaires in any meaningful sense. “People who’ve studied the extremely rich argue that money, for them, is largely not about being able to buy things but is instead a way of keeping score; their satisfaction comes not from more consumption but from overtaking their perceived peers,” said Krugman. “And tax cuts don’t help on that dimension, since your peers get the same tax breaks you do.”

“More to the point, Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime,” said Krugman. “And even billionaires should be terrified about what their lives will be like if that attempt succeeds. This is especially true if you’re a member of a minority, even if your skin happens to be white. Ross is Jewish — and anyone Jewish has to be completely ignorant of history not to know that when bigotry runs free, we’re always next in line for persecution.”

Most billionaires, Krugman argued, don’t really want to live in a country that embraces fascism and persecutes ethnic minorities.

“So what are they thinking raising money for a would-be authoritarian?” Krugman wrote. “The answer, of course, is that they aren’t thinking. Instead of considering what a consolidation of Trumpist power would mean, they’re reacting mindlessly out of a combination of greed and ego.”

“By the way, the greed part is obvious. But it has also been clear since the Obama years that a fair number of the superrich aren’t satisfied with being immensely wealthy; they also want adulation. They expect to be praised as heroic job creators and are enraged at any suggestion that some of their number may have behaved badly, let alone that they may have benefited from a rigged system,” added Krugman. “Hence the hatred for even reasonable, pro-market progressives like, say, Elizabeth Warren. It’s not just that these progressives might make billionaires a bit poorer, but that they make them feel small.”

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“But this is no time for such pettiness. Vast wealth brings many privileges, and it will continue to do so even if progressive Democrats win big next year,” Krugman concluded. “What wealth doesn’t bring is the right to let self-indulgence turn you into a useful idiot, lending aid and comfort to a movement that’s trying to destroy America as we know it.”


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2020 Election

These corporations are spending the most to undo our democracy — thanks to Citizens United

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It has now been exactly 10 years since the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates for special-interest political advertising in its Citizens United ruling. To mark the occasion, the Center for Responsive Politics has published an excellent report detailing how political spending has changed over the last decade.

One significant finding is that, although Citizens United overturned the prohibition on independent political expenditures by corporations, most companies have not taken advantage of that new right directly. The biggest surges in spending have come from wealthy individuals and from Super PACs.

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‘Erratic, reckless, impulsive and destructive’: Group of psychiatrists urge a evaluation of Trump as he poses ‘a maximum danger’

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A Yale psychiatrist leads a group of medical professionals who have called on Congress to demand that President Donald Trump undergo a mental health evaluation after he ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian military official Qassem Soleimani.

Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine who has consulted widely with state and international governments on a public health approach to violence prevention in communities and in prisons, told Salon that Congress should convene a panel of mental health experts to determine Trump's fitness for office. Lee serves as the president of the World Mental Health Coalition, which issued a statement formally calling on Congress to convene a panel of mental health experts to assess Trump's fitness.

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Michael Avenatti says he has El Chapo’s former jail cell — which the drug dealer described as ‘torture’: report

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Attorney Michael Avenatti, the colorful attorney who came to prominence representing Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump, is unhappy with his jail conditions.

On Monday, his attorney wrote to the federal judge overseeing his trial to complain about the jail conditions Avenatti is experiencing during pre-trial detention.

Scott Srebnick, Avenatti's attorney, wrote to Judge Paul Gardephe to complain about the "notorious 10-South" section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is being held in the Special Housing Unit.

"He is in a cell reportedly once occupied by El Chapo, on a floor that houses individuals charged with terrorism offenses," Avenatti's attorney wrote.

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