“Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.” ~ George Carlin
The national debate triggered by the Occupy Wall Street protests has given the wealth gap a renewed focus in the public arena. And with good reason. That gap is wider today than it was just prior to the Great Depression; wider, in fact, than it has ever been. The brutality of that economic disparity has thrust our nation into a bitter and persistent recession. But it has also inspired millions of Americans to step forward and demand reforms that not only restore fairness, but readjust the balance of political power.
Conservatives regard this new activism as a declaration of class war. But it’s important to note that they only call it war when we fight back. The war was already in progress and, as Warren Buffett said, “We (the rich) are winning.” Now a new survey reveals that Buffett is not the only one-percenter that is fighting on our side. The Wall Street Journal (ironically) is reporting that…
“A new survey from Spectrem Group found that 68% of millionaires (those with investments of $1 million or more) support raising taxes on those with $1 million or more in income. Fully 61% of those with net worths of $5 million or more support the tax on million-plus earners.”
We can also count Bill Gates amongst the one-percenters who advocate more progressive taxes.
[Note: The same segment from ABC’s This Week was posted on Fox Nation with a headline that perverts reality beyond all recognition: “Bill Gates Knocks Down Obama’s Millionaire’s Tax.” Gates did no such thing. He continues his remarks saying that taxing millionaires by itself will not solve the debt problem, but no one is suggesting that it will. And his support for taxing the rich more is clear and unambiguous.]
When two-thirds of the people that will be affected by a tax increase support the increase, it begs the question, who are the opponents? For the answer you need look no farther than the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives:
John Boehner: “[T]here’s nothing that’s disappointed me more over the last 8 weeks than to watch the President of the United States basically give up on the economy, give up on the American people.” […] “People are frustrated, and that’s why the House has been focused all year on trying to create a better environment for job creation in our country.”
Boehner is wrong about Obama. The President has not given up on the economy or the American people. He has given up on Boehner. And Boehner’s assertion that the House has been focused on creating jobs is laughable. He and his Republican troops have done nothing but obstruct progress on every legislative attempt to stimulate job growth. In fact, they have been working hard to recast the issue as one that is centered on those they call the “job creators.”
House Republicans have a web site at jobs.gop.gov. The funny thing about the site is that it has no content whatsoever that addresses the plight of workers or the unemployed. The site isn’t really about jobs at all, as the heading makes abundantly clear: The House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators. That’s an admission that the Republican agenda for jobs is really just an agenda for business owners and corporations. Click through to their plan and you will see a short list of proposals that hew narrowly to tax cuts for business, deregulation, and deficit reduction. It’s the same tired parade of failed policies that Republicans put forth as their solution to everything. None of those policies will produce jobs and, more importantly, they aren’t even what small businesses, the biggest driver of jobs, say that they want.
A new Gallup poll asked small business owners “What would be a primary motivation or reason for hiring any new employees?” The top three responses, representing 63% of respondents, were all related to demand.
“Small-business owners point to increased revenues (27%), an improving economy (20%), and growth or expansion of their business (17%) as their top motivations for hiring new employees in 2012.”
This survey affirms the analysis of most economists who agree that companies do not expand hiring when their taxes are cut or regulations are relaxed. They hire when they need to satisfy increased demand or exploit an economic opportunity. The Wall Street Journal surveyed a group of economists and concluded that…
“The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.”
Once again, that’s the conservative Wall Street Journal reporting. It’s fair to presume that the economists the Journal surveyed were not from some sleeper cell of de-thawed Bolsheviks. In addition to this widespread agreement by experts that the GOP fixation on tax relief for the Upscalers is fiscal folly, the popular sentiment on Main Streets across the nation overwhelmingly favors making those who have benefited the most contribute more to restoring our country’s economic health. After all, the rich are the only ones who have not been called upon to share the sacrifice.
When the big picture is unfurled there are conclusions to draw that are too obvious to ignore. The American people support raising revenue via taxes. Economists agree that demand, not tax relief, drives job creation. And a majority of millionaires believe that their own tax rates are too low. Yet Republicans in Congress continue to stonewall. The intransigence of the GOP serves no constituency and has no discernible benefit politically. The only plausible return for their bullheadedness is in the form of financial support from a deep-pocketed minority of one-percenters who simply cannot abide one more cent in taxes.
That’s the naked truth that Boehner & Co. are having such a hard time defending. That’s why the Occupy movement has captured such a broad swath of public support. And that’s why it is all the more peculiar that the media still fails to present these issues honestly, and that many in the Democratic Party, including the President, have not unambiguously acknowledged the voice of the people and joined the fight for economic justice. If the wealthy have conceded that the people’s position is the one that ought to prevail, then where are the people’s representatives?