I note that the Bush-era tax cuts are back in the news again with the argument over whether to extend them or not heating up fast. Democrats in Congress can read polling numbers and – whether they want to admit it or not – they can understand what angry constituents showing up at increasingly rare town hall meetings are saying. The clock’s winding down on the Dem’s ability to just do whatever they want and to hell with the People’s will. Their incentive to govern in accordance with that will is decreasing exponentially, leaving them with little more than trying to justify their decisions as quickly as they can. Part of that justification is to continue to mislead people on the matter of these tax cuts, both in terms of what they are and in terms of what they do.
“Tax cuts for the wealthy” is the titled they continually glue onto those cuts, enacted during the Bush administration and set to expire in January. As has been repeatedly shown, however, is that those cuts applied to every citizen in the United States, regardless of income level. Someone making $30,000 a year got those cuts just the same as someone making $300,000 a year. The fact that those cuts generate a larger sum for someone making a larger amount of money isn’t injustice, it’s mathematics. And no one has yet explained to me why one American is owed less consideration for the “bread [he] has earned”1 than another merely because that first one makes more bread. The point is that the tax cuts were not for “the wealthy,” they were for all of us.
Now that they’re in the position they’re in, the Dems are trying to make it all about a “tax cuts for the wealthy” situation by proposing to extend the tax cuts, but only for families making less than $250,000 a year. Republicans are resisting that but it’s not a function of just wanting to protect the rich at the expense of the common Joe. The fact is that most of the job creation in this country – assuming you disregard the government, which isn’t generating jobs that actually help the economy anyway – is coming from small business. Small businesses are owned and operated by people with the cash to start up and maintain (mostly) but not with cash reserves sufficient for them to be buying luxury yachts2. In other words, the people comprising families making $250,000 annually. In many parts of the country – like the one I live in, for instance – making that kind of money isn’t a huge stretch for a double-income family. Allowing these tax cuts to expire is hitting our economy in the job-creation engine right at the time we need it to be firing on all thrusters.
Lastly, let’s quit accepting the notion that speaking of what extending these cuts will “cost” us is the right frame of reference. Since when did letting our citizens keep the fruits of their labor equate to an expense? When someone like Best Buy only makes $2 million in a month instead of 3, would any of us think it was reasonable for them to assert that we consumers “cost” them a million bucks? Not a chance. This circumstance deserves the same regard.