Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman lavished more than $7 million on Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration, using his fortune to help underwrite a GOP takeover of the federal government. But the rise of Donald Trump shocked and dismayed Klarman, as did the timid response from the Republican-controlled House and Senate, which have acquiesced rather than challenge the president’s erratic and divisive ways. So, in an astonishing flip, Klarman, at one point New England’s most generous donor to Republicans, is taking his money elsewhere: He’s heaping cash on Democrats.
He’s given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress, according to federal election data from 2017 and a preview of Klarman’s first-quarter donations provided to the Globe by a person familiar with his giving. “The Republicans in Congress have failed to hold the president accountable and have abandoned their historic beliefs and values,” Klarman said in a prepared statement to the Globe, opening up for the first time about the reasons behind his change in political giving. “For the good of the country, the Democrats must take back one or both houses of Congress.”
Klarman is paying for his political donations to Democrats with money from Trump's tax cuts: "A tax cut I neither need nor want," said Klarman. Which makes you wonder what Klarman was thinking when he was helping "underwrite a GOP takeover of the federal government" back during the Obama administration. What did he think the Republicans were going to do once they came to power? Republicans did what Republicans do: slash taxes on the wealthy, create massive federal deficits, and blow up the national debt.
Don't get me wrong: I'm happy that Klarman has seen the light and that he wants to "fight the administration’s flawed policies [by electing] Democrats to the Senate and House of Representatives." But that light was on and clearly visible before the last election. If you're concern about tax cuts for the rich that the they don't need (but most of them want regardless), that light has been on since Reagan's first term.
Like David Leonhardt said...
By now, nobody should be surprised when the Republican Party violates its claims of fiscal rectitude. Increasing the deficit — through big tax cuts, mostly for the rich — has been the defining feature of the party’s economic policy for decades. When Paul Ryan and other Republicans call themselves fiscal conservatives, they’re basically doing a version of the old Marx Brothers bit: “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”
Ever so slowly, conventional wisdom has started to recognize this reality. After Ryan’s retirement announcement last week, only a few headlines called him a deficit hawk. People are catching on to the con.
But there is still a major way that the conventional wisdom is wrong: It doesn’t give the Democratic Party enough credit for its actual fiscal conservatism.