It’s amazing that there’s pushback on raising taxes on the wealthy from anyone other than the rich, but there always will be, so long as the GOP can convince the middle and lower class rank’n’file that placing higher taxes on the rich is socialism or deadly to the economy. Sometimes phrasing matters, and it’s important to note that Republicans seem to have an advantage when it comes to controlling the narrative. I’ve never been sure exactly why this is: do we just not fight back hard enough, or is the reach of Fox “News” really that broad? My guess is that it’s a combination of factors.
Just seems to me like a pretty raw deal for most of the country when the wealthy don’t even have to pay their fair share.
It really bugs me, also, when supposedly non-partisan entities play into the GOP’s hands. As far as I’m concerned, once the GOP gains “control” of a phrase and spins it to the most negative associations possible, it’s time for everyone else (who doesn’t have a vested interest in seeing the GOP in power) to either 1) take back control of that phrase, or 2) stop bloody using it at all. There are a million ways to manipulate statistics – and plenty of ways to skew polls, even unintentionally. I look at a result like this:
…and I can’t helping thinking, “Well, DUH.”
Results like that seem pretty clear cut, and they can then be used by Republicans, who say that that at least half of the American public (mostly “average Joes,” in fact) does not want the rich to pay higher taxes. But as far as I’m concerned, a lot of the problem is in the phrasing: “redistribute the wealth.” It’s become a dog-whistle phrase that raises red flags and sets off alarm bells in people’s head because it is now considered “code” for socialism. We need to either fix that or stop saying it. If Gallup rephrased that poll question into, “Should the very rich pay higher taxes since they’ve benefitted the most from all this county has to offer?” then I’m pretty sure results would be different.
But sure, there are plenty of people in this country who will oppose tax increases on anyone, no matter what, under any and all circumstances. So it will be interesting to watch the pushback on this, a commonsense – and much milder measure than actually “redistributing the wealth” – which will nevertheless enrage a large segment of the population:
WASHINGTON – President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.
[. . .]
Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.
Mr. Obama will not specify a rate or other details, and it is unclear how much revenue his plan would raise. But his idea of a millionaires’ minimum tax will be prominent in the broad plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will outline at the White House on Monday.
New York Times: “Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires”
Boehner has already come forth to say that while, yes, there should be tax reform… no, tax increases are not a “viable” option.
In his speech yesterday, per the New York Times, House Speaker John Boehner “rejected tax increases as part of a sweeping effort to reduce the nation’s debt, delivering his prescription for a Congressional deficit-cutting committee ahead of a competing presentation by President Obama early next week. Mr. Boehner urged the new bipartisan committee to focus on cuts in federal spending and entitlement programs as a way of slowing the growth of government. He said tax increases should be ‘off the table’ as the committee works toward a late-November deadline.”
But: “Boehner said that the committee’s efforts should include proposals to close tax loopholes as part of a broader overhaul that lowers personal and business tax rates… ‘Yes, tax reform should include closing loopholes,’ he said. ‘Not for purposes of bringing more money to the government. But because it’s the right thing to do.'”
MSNBC: “Boehner: Read My Lips – No Tax Increases”
Oh, I see. Wants to close a few loopholes. But of course, no new taxes.
I still don’t understand why what was good enough for Saint Ronnie isn’t good enough for today’s GOP. Just for the heckuvit, a reminder:
Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration – I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.
Think Progress: “10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You to Know About Ronald Reagan” (original emphasis)
Facts are a funny thing, huh?
I have to admit, though, I’ve got the jitters about some of the administration’s ideas to reduce the deficit. Maybe that’s because I’m still not entirely clear on what they are.
WASHINGTON – As Congress opens a politically charged exploration of ways to pare the deficit, President Obama is expected to seek hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in Medicare and Medicaid, delighting Republicans and dismaying many Democrats who fear that his proposals will become a starting point for bigger cuts in the popular health programs.
The president made clear his intentions in his speech to a joint session of Congress last week when, setting forth a plan to create jobs and revive the economy, he said he disagreed with members of his party “who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid.”
Few Democrats fit that description. But many say that if, as expected, Mr. Obama next week proposes $300 billion to $500 billion of savings over 10 years in entitlement programs, he will provide political cover for a new bipartisan Congressional committee to cut just as much or more.
New York Times: “Democrats See Perils on Path to Health Cuts”
But the tax thing? That I can definitely get behind. I really enjoyed Warren Buffet’s Op-Ed piece in the Times last month. For those of you who haven’t read it, you should give it a look. Lots of good information and insight.
Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
New York Times: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”
And I like the “Buffet Rule” – it’ll make things easier on future high school students who have to remember it for their exams. Poor kids. Already they have 8-10 more years of history to rote memorize for their tests than I did in high school.
But enough of my opinion? What do moose, old and new, have to say about all this?
Run with it.