emptying the cupboard and pocketing the goods themselves

Over a period of years they have somehow been able to fool enough voters (and nonvoters!) to get into the position where they can finally acomplish their fundamental but hidden, goals.

There is a method to the G.O.P.'s tax cut madness, beyond the obvious benefits to the very rich. Conservatives have long reasoned that the only way to destroy popular programs that actually help ordinary Americans (Social Security, Medicare and so on) is to starve the government of the money needed to pay for them.
A plan exquisite in its simplicity, and we bought it.