An Iron Grip

This is a tweet from the GOP Majority’s Communications Director at the House Ways and Means Committee, the main tax writing committee.

Around the same time, Comcast announced that it too was giving out bonuses to celebrate the passage of the GOP tax bill. I’m not terribly familiar with Fifth Third Bancorp. But AT&T and Comcast are heavily dependent on regulatory kindnesses from the executive branch. They both just profited immensely from the overturning of the 2015 net neutrality regulations. And AT&T, as we’ve discussed, is desperate for the Justice Department to allow its acquisition of Time Warner. Boeing is extremely dependent on government contracts and what it doesn’t sell to the US government is highly dependent on exports, which are of course also highly dependent on trade policies of the executive branch.

There’s no doubt each of these companies is, corporately, extremely happy with the passage of this bill. It pushes through a major cut in the tax rates for corporations. It’s just as obvious this is a choreographed effort to validate administration claims that the bill’s payoffs to the super wealthy will actually be passed down to ordinary Americans. It is just as obviously currying favor with an administration that has repeatedly shown a ready willingness to act capriciously with its regulatory powers – to reward friendly businesses and punish those who don’t show reflexive support.

Despite the President’s behavior and that of his obsequious appointees and confederates, the US is not yet an authoritarian strongman government. But that is clearly what the President aspires to and feels is his right. But it is in the nature of authoritarian government’s to secure lockstep alliances with major corporate entities seeking favor and preferment. This can all happen very quickly.