If anyone still believed that the Republican Party had become a party of economic populism, the tax bill that the party is set to pass in Congress will burst their bubble. …
But the Republican tax strategy has roots in the American populist tradition, too. That strategy is to disregard experts and rile up the base with tax policy arguments that would not survive professional scrutiny.
Populists did this on behalf of the poor. But the man who first put this strategy to work for rich people was Andrew Mellon, the millionaire who became secretary of the Treasury after World War I. Poor veterans of the war were clamoring for expensive public benefits. Rich men wanted their income taxes rolled back. CONT.
Isaac Martin (UCSD), New York Times