Taxing Their Patience: GOP Fed up with Corporate Wokeism

April 25, 2022

If you gave 1,000 American voters three tries to guess the top policy proposal of the Republican party, not one would answer "more taxes," but many might associate the GOP with "lower taxes," or "pro-business" policy. It might surprise them that a new document released by the Business Roundtable calls for more taxes, practically the opposite of its stated goal, to "promote a thriving U.S. economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans." The tax they propose, "a price on carbon," is basically a tax on living, moving, and especially producing. The "tone deaf" proposal is "the last thing we need," noted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), "harmful to working families... already struggling from inflation [and] high gas prices."

The Business Roundtable's Leftist climate tax proposal is just the latest incident in the ongoing divorce of mega-corporations and the Republican party. "The [U.S.] Chamber [of Commerce] left the [Republican] party a long time ago," summarized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), noting it endorsed more Democrats than Republicans in the 2020 election. The problem is "woke corporate CEOs," diagnosed Scalise, "embracing the Left's social policy," even to the point of pressuring "corporations to go against the very things those corporations do." As just one example, "they're trying to get the energy companies to be anti-energy."

Like most of the Leftist ideas, the businesses pushing for higher taxes are the "super large corporations, not your mom-and-pop small businesses," Scalise explained to me on Washington Watch. Small- and medium-sized businesses create more jobs and generate more productivity. "They don't want higher tax rates at all because they're barely struggling to get by. They can't find workers. They're competing against the federal government, who's paying people not to work. They've got a mountain of new regulations coming at them," said Scalise. "If a woke CEO wants to crush his smaller competition... no better way to do it than [with] mountains of regulations.... That's not what I'm about. I'm about opportunity for everybody."

As the Woke Disney Corporation is discovering in Florida, big business needs Republicans more than Republicans need big business. Now that Republicans are fed up with corporations constantly poking them in the eye, we're fast approaching the day when corporations have to beg for tax favors from Elizabeth Warren and other Leftists. And they'll discover "they hate all of those, big corporations as well as small businesses," Scalise predicted. "The far Left hates every industry... the energy industry, the banks -- you name the industry, they're going after them."

Public polling bears this out. Americans' satisfaction with the "size and influence of major corporations" fell 15 points from 2020 to 2021, down from 41 percent to 26 percent. Among Democrats, it barely budged because it had already hit the floor (from 25 percent to 24 percent), but among Republicans, it cratered (from 57 percent to 31 percent). Basically, Democrats still don't like big business, and now neither do Republicans. Big business has orchestrated its own, very public, character assassination by, as even the Wall Street Journalput it, "aggressively antagonizing the very Americans it has long relied on to protect it from government control."

Republicans and conservatives stand for free markets and economic opportunity because we believe markets work better with fewer taxes and less regulation. But it turns out big business -- the corporate empires who subsist on the government's corporate welfare -- no longer shares those values, nor the social values of most Americans. They're too busy squandering their brands and frittering away their social credibility as they push the political agenda of the radical Left. "The Republican Party is still the party of the small business person and competitive free markets," said Liberty University School of Business Dean Dave Brat, "but we're turning against the oligarchs."