Here's Why Wall Street Won't Make The GOP Fix The Debt Ceiling

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 3 2013 11:39 AM

Here's Why Wall Street Won't Make The GOP Fix The Debt Ceiling

181171099
The US Chamber of Commerce will always be there for tax cutters.

Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

One of the White House's fondest hopes is that elements of the business community—especially including but by no means limited to the major Wall Street firms—will force Republicans to come to their senses on the question of the debt ceiling. It won't work.

Think about it this way: The main thing business groups want all the time is lower personal income taxes on business executives. Business groups, after all, are controlled by businessmen. And businessmen, like all people, really dislike paying taxes. So the debt ceiling will either be raised by October 20 or it won't, and the consequences of that will either be disastrous or they won't, and either way by the time kids go trick-or-treating whatever's happened will have happened.

Advertisement

And at that point it will still be the case that people don't like paying taxes. It will still be the case that because making rich people pay higher taxes is popular Democrats will be calling for that. It will still be the case that rich businessmen are people, and that like all people they don't want to pay more taxes. Republicans will have their back on that. And businessmen will be happy about that. They'll be grateful. And most of them will back Republicans, just as they always do. The businessmen know that. And the Republicans know that. So it doesn't matter whether businessmen think Republicans are being crazy and irresponsible now. They may beg and plead or do whatever. They may even be sincere. But come November 2014 there will be one party arguing for higher taxes on rich businessmen and rich businessmen and the firms and trade associations they control will be backing that party. There's no leverage here.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.