President Obama is once again asking Congress to have the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Specifically, he is proposing that all Americans receive a continuation of the Bush tax cuts (at 35%) on the first 250k of their incomes, and pay the Clinton-era rates (39%) for any income earned above that level.
At first glance, it would appear that this economically-sound proposal would receive immediate approval from the “deficit-hawks” and the “fiscally responsible”. But then again no change worth making comes easy.
Republicans claim that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on any income earned over 250K would hurt small businesses, hurt the job creators, hurt our growing economy, and hurt all working-class Americans. But despite the partisan rhetoric seen on Fox News, the facts are indisputable.
First, a recentTreasury analysis found that only the top 2 percent of all households, and only the top 2.5 percent of small-business owners, would face higher taxes from our president’s call to expire the tax cuts on the wealthiest. But for these individuals, I assume paying anything more than the 15 percent rate that their capital gains/dividend yields are currently taxed at is asking for too much.
It is also important to understand that the main reason businesses are not creating more jobs is because of the decreased demand for their goods and services. Put simply, if people don’t have money to spend, the economy cannot grow. Therefore, we need to ensure that the middle-class (ie. the REAL job creators) are provided the same opportunities the wealthiest have, including affordable healthcare, lower taxes, and access to higher education.
Second, the notion that Obama’s policies have bankrupted our nation is blatantly false. It was due to the leadership of the last Democratic president that the economy generated 22 million net new jobs, and income levels for all Americans grew at historic levels. On the other hand, it was the policies of the last Republican administration that took a $200 billion surplus and drained it to a $1 trillion deficit. Ironically, these same failed policies are being proposed by the “pro-business” “job-creating” Republican nominee for president.
It is because of President Obama and his so called “socialist” policies that we are not in another Great Depression: unemployment is lower than three years ago; home foreclosure rates are lower than three years ago; we are safer than we were three years ago; more people have healthcare than three years ago; the American auto-industry is stronger now than it was three years ago; and there have been more jobs now than there were three years ago.
Third, no one in the Democratic Party resents wealth. What we resent is the distribution of wealth to the very rich; when profits are privatized while losses are socialized; when the few wealthy individuals get tax credits on the backs of millions of working class Americans; where the very rich have continued to prosper while the 98% of the population have not.
And why not simply extend all the Bush tax cuts? Because we can’t afford to. Therefore, the loss in revenue from continuing the tax cuts on the top 2 percent needs to be balanced with equal cuts in something else. Unfortunately, these cuts are usually taken from programs that are specifically designed to benefit a middle-class family living paycheck to paycheck.
Given this choice, we need a president who understands that “our prosperity has always come from an economy that's built on a strong and growing middle class…so that's why I believe it's time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire,” (Obama).