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The ESA has endorsed the GOP tax plan as “igniting greater economic opportunity and innovation”

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The ESA; gaming’s biggest industry body, and a source for lobbying and political endorsement within the games industry, has made what some would consider a controversial statement about Republican plans to cut taxes for corporations in the United States.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) came out in favor of the House of Representatives’ proposed tax reform bill, which it first detailed earlier today. The trade association, which runs the Electronic Entertainment Expo and serves the interests of U.S.-based game publishers, gave a thumbs up to what it sees as a system that could potentially stimulate the gaming job market.

“Igniting greater economic opportunity and innovation, today’s tax reform proposal promises to boost the US tech sector,” the trade body said in a press release. “For the 2,600 US-based video game companies competing in the $100 billion worldwide video game market, a competitive, pro-growth tax system that encourages IP development and investment in US jobs is imperative. We commend Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Chairman Hatch, Chairman Brady, Secretary Mnuchin, and Director Cohn for their diligence in crafting this proposal and look forward to working with all policymakers as the effort to enact tax reform moves forward.”

No one should really be surprised by this endorsement though. The ESA has been engaged in efforts within the Trump administration to see tariffs that would affect the profits of game developers and hardware manufacturers reduced or eliminated. It’s worth mentioning that the ESA has spent over $5 million lobbying in Congress for this and related issues in 2017.

The common argument from the right-wing is that lower corporate taxes see a trickle-down of increased wages and benefits to the lower echelons of major corporations. Although it’s often phrased differently, such as the idea of “general prosperity” that appears to underpin many right-wing economic arguments on the subject. And of course that’s just the beginning, as other forms of economic relief are often given to corporations with the idea that they will enrich their infrastructure and provide better benefits to the workers, thereby stimulating the economy.

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Left-wing opponents to the concept of “trickle-down” economics argue that the capitalist class uses these reduced taxes in combination with other benefits from the state to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class. The efficacy and realism of the various arguments for or against cutting corporate taxes are debatable, and it’s causing many to ask questions about how companies spend their money. And all these questions and more are making a resurgence in the gaming industry this week because of the ESA.

The replies to the ESA’s tweet about the bill are filled with backlash, as industry members argue that it’s the upper-level company staffers who stand to benefit, not the lower-level workers — like game designers.

It remains to be seen how the ESA and those that agree with their position respond to the blowback.

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