“Soak the Poor!” Of course, Republicans won’t run under that slogan. Too bad, since truth in advertising demands they make “Soak the Poor” their campaign slogan.
“Soak the Poor!” should be the Republican slogan because party policy consistently attempts to shift the nation’s tax burden to the poorest Americans while lowering taxes on the wealthiest. GOP policy exacerbates the trend of increasing income inequality, resulting in the rich getting richer and everyone else, from the middle class to the poor, falling further and further behind.
Any doubts about Republican intentions were dispelled Sunday by Sen. Jon Kyl, the number two Senate Republican. In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Kyl forcefully opposed President Obama’s determination to extend for another year the payroll tax “holiday.”
The Arizonan claims the payroll tax cut “has not stimulated job creation. We don’t think that is a good way to do it.” Kyl’s comments provide a preview of the coming fight in the Senate, which plans to vote this week on the payroll tax cut extension.
The president says that if Congress does not act, “The typical family’s taxes will go up $1,000 next year.”
The Democrats want to couple the payroll tax cut extension with modest increases in the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. On Sunday, Kyl objected to that as well, saying, “The best way to hurt economic growth is to impose more taxes on the people who do the hiring.”
This is common Republican rhetoric. The problem is, it’s just not true. American businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars; yet, they have not been hiring. It’s not tax hikes or the fear of them that has caused businesses not to hire workers. Rather, it’s the lack of demand for the products more workers would be making that is the cause of low job creation.
Post-World War II history shows that job creation has been greatest when the top income tax rates were much higher than now. In years when the top marginal rate exceeded 90 percent, the annual increase in employment averaged two percent. In years when the rate has been 35 percent of less, which it is now, employment rose by just 0.4 percent.
It’s not job creation that motivates Republicans. After all, the party seized control of the House in 2010 promising to make job creation its “number one goal.” Yet, a year later, there has been no legislation to do that.
The GOP’s “number one goal” is not job creation but protecting, and ultimately increasing, the wealth of the superrich. The Republican program for America is to concentrate wealth in the hands of a very tiny minority, and to have the middle class and poor bear the burden of paying for government.
Of course, it’s class war, and the slogan, if conservatives were honest, would be “Soak the Poor!” Since the poor in this case is most of us, the 99 percent of us, it’s not a slogan upon which any sensible Republican wants to base a campaign.
Instead, Republicans will muddy the issue by claiming the payroll take cut does not create jobs. The rest of us should not let them get away with such nonsense.