A couple of things don’t make sense in this debate over letting the tax cuts for the top 2% expire. Don’t make sense on the surface, that is. Dig a little deeper and it becomes perfectly clear.
Why is there such angst in Congress about raising taxes on the wealthy? Members of both the House and the Senate in both parties say they are so concerned with the deficit, but yet extending the cuts will add about $700 billion to the deficit. Many say raising taxes will kill job creation, but those same cuts led to little or no job creation during the 9 years they have been in effect. So what’s the big deal about raising taxes on millionaires?
Because they would be voting to raise taxes on themselves. One percent of Americans are millionaires, but 44% of the members of Congress are millionaires—237 out of 535. They would be voting not only to raise taxes on themselves, but their friends, their associates, and most importantly to them, the people who write the large campaign contribution checks.
Here’s the other thing that doesn’t appear to make sense. Naturally, most Republicans are against letting the cuts expire, for no other reason than that President Obama is in favor of it. But why are an increasing number of Democrats coming out in favor of an extension? Besides the fact that many if them are included in that number of millionaires, that is.
I know some probably get tired of me beating the drum for the importance of organized labor, but unions were once the largest constituency group and voting bloc who stood up and spoke out for working and middle-class people. Into the “vacuum” left by decreasing union membership and its influence on politicians and policy has stepped corporate interests and their money. From Winner-Take-All Politics via Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:
“Unions…are the particular focus of business animus. As they decline, they leave a vacuum. There’s no other nationwide organization dedicated to persistently fighting for middle class economic issues and no other nationwide organization that’s able to routinely mobilize working class voters to support or oppose specific federal policies.
With unions in decline and political campaigns becoming ever more expensive, Democrats eventually decide they need to become more business friendly as well. This is a vicious circle: the more unions decline, the more that Democrats turn to corporate funding to survive. There is, in the end, simply no one left who’s fighting for middle class economic issues in a sustained and organized way. Conversely, there are lots of extremely well-funded and determined organizations fighting for the interests of corporations and the rich.”
In my opinion, this also explains why some who vote Republican and support Republican policies, other than those who are simply anti-anything Obama related, are against raising taxes on the wealthy even though very few would be affected by an increase on those making over $250,000 a year. They’ve bought into the corporate-interest saturated media theme that unions are evil and that the wealthy special interests are looking out for them.