Why is there no pro-business conservatism in America? At first the question might come as a surprise. After all, conservative thinkers and politicians pose as champions of the private sector.
But in reality, the economic agenda pushed by the American right benefits chiefly “rentiers” or investors — the minuscule number of individuals who are wealthy enough to live on streams of income from their investments. An alternative pro-business conservatism would find many points of agreement with the center and center-left — and would be strikingly different from today’s American right.
The prevailing economic theory of the American right is that economic growth is driven by investment; investment is driven by capital; and rich people own a disproportionate share of the capital. Therefore, cutting taxes on the rich will lead directly to more investment within the United States, which in turn will lead directly to more broadly shared economic growth in the United States. This supply-side, trickle-down theory provides the rationale for Paul Ryan’s plan to eliminate capital gains taxes completely.
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