It is standard procedure for large organizations to select one person to represent and speak for their organization, and it is equally true in the political world where one person speaks on behalf of the entire party. For a country, it falls on the government to speak for, and represent, the will of the people as a population, and for over thirty years Republicans have taken it upon themselves to speak for the population they claim demanded that government protect the wealthy and their corporations at the expense of the people.
According to a twisted economic theory promoted during the Reagan administration, the key to a thriving economy was cutting government spending and giving the proceeds to the richest Americans and corporations that failed to deliver jobs or economic growth for the people. Still, for the past four-and-a-half years Republicans continued to claim they spoke for the people they argued whole-heartedly supported pursuing an anti-government agenda comprised of gutting domestic programs that killed millions of jobs to fund greater tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Prior to, and throughout, their 5 week vacation this past August, Republicans boasted that when they returned from their hiatus they would ramp up their “fight against Washington for all Americans” and drastically cut domestic spending and oppose taxes on the rich and corporations because as House Speaker John Boehner said, “it’s what the American people want us to do.”
According to a recent poll, what the American people overwhelmingly want Congress to do is increase government spending to create jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare, and expand social programs by requiring corporations and the wealthy to pay higher taxes to “shoulder more of the burden of supporting government.” The poll’s results reveal a year-long trend among Americans who favor abandoning the Reaganomics of tax cuts for the rich and shrinking government down to a size Republicans can “drown it in a bathtub,” and is a stark departure from what Republicans claim the people demand from Congress. In fact, the poll revealed that 68% support strengthening the economy with job creation while only 28% support teabagger and Republican policies of cutting corporate and the wealthy’s taxes, slashing domestic spending, and reducing government to cut the nation’s deficit.
The poll also revealed that even teabagger Republicans favor progressive tax and spend policies by 25%, and that nearly 80% of all respondents want corporate tax loopholes closed to fund government spending. Republicans claim the American people oppose closing corporate loopholes because it is a “tax hike” on corporations that have posted record profits and claimed most of the wealth from the tepid recovery after Republicans crashed the economy in 2008. Voters also favor maintaining current tax rates on offshore corporate profits and enacting the “Buffet Rule” on income over $1 million by a surprising 70% that Republicans oppose as a brutal imposition on “job creators.” The poll’s results belie a perpetual Republican assertion that the American people believe the richest Americans pay too much income tax and deserve greater tax breaks such as those in the Ryan Budget.
This latest poll reinforces, and is consistent with, several other polls during the past year the belie Republican claims that Americans demand a “cut spending” only economic approach such as an ABC News/Washington Post poll in October showing that nearly 60% of Americans favor a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Five different CBS News/New York Times polls this year produced nearly identical results to the latest poll including an Associated Press survey that showed 6 in 10 voters support the “Buffett Rule” of a minimum tax rate of 30% on incomes over $1 million. The Hart poll found that, like Gallup polls going back nearly ten years, an overwhelming two-thirds majority of Americans believe corporations pay too little in taxes that is contrary to what Republicans claim Americans believe.
Republicans are completely out of touch with the American people who are finally coming to their senses after three decades of handing over their tax dollars to the rich and their corporations and funding the taxpayer largesse by cutting government. Last week going into to bicameral budget negotiations Ayn Rand sycophant Paul Ryan flatly stated that any talk of new revenue from closing corporate and wealthy tax loopholes is “not going anywhere” as he proposed drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security on top of more cuts to safety nets. The latest poll reinforces the argument that the public is deeply opposed to the Republican sequester that has cut services and slated to kill an additional 1 million jobs within the next year. If nothing else, the poll’s findings reveal that Americans reject the Republican’s three-decade old contention that job creation and economic prosperity depends on reduced taxes on the rich that has never borne fruit.
Ronald Reagan has been dead for over nine years and it is time to kill his absurd notion that cutting taxes on the rich and corporations would produce a balanced budget, create jobs and economic growth, and engender marvelous prosperity and wealth for working Americans. What Reagan’s three-decade experiment in tax cuts for the rich and Draconian cuts to government spending have produced is massive federal debt, job losses, cuts to safety nets, and worse-than decreasing wages that put 2012 median wages at their lowest levels since 1998. All the while the richest Americans pay a significantly smaller share of their incomes than workers earning close to poverty level wages; billionaires pay next-to-nothing to support the government they have profited from in ways most Americans could only dream of.
Republicans claim they speak for the American people, and to a point they may be right, but it is not the great majority of Americans. They speak for the Koch brothers, Wall Street CEOs, the extremely wealthy, and corporations that all demand cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, infrastructure improvements, healthcare, and education to make room for greater tax cuts for themselves.
Conversely, the American people support expanding and strengthening Social Security by finally eliminating the cap on earnings that will keep the New Deal program solvent forever, and spending on programs that create jobs and prosperity for all Americans as well as assist the most vulnerable citizens. The people are weary of seeing Republicans take everything they have; their retirement, wages, healthcare, and nutrition assistance for the poor and then have the audacity to claim it is what the people want. Democrats would be wise to pay heed to the preponderance of poll results that decry three decades of Reaganomics and support the tax and spend policies the majority of Americans clearly and overwhelmingly support.