As the battle rages over extending the Bush-era tax cuts and Republicans continue to argue that 2% of the wealthiest Americans should have permanent tax cuts, it is becoming more evident that this issue is moral as well as economical. Democrats want to extend the tax cuts for all Americans except the rich, and Republicans are holding firm that the wealthy’s tax cuts are necessary to create jobs and help stimulate the economy. The Republican argument is wrong.
During the 8 years George Bush was president and the wealthy had their taxes lowered, the number of jobs created was a one million net increase. According to Republican rhetoric, if the wealthiest 2% is allowed to keep their tax cuts, they will create more jobs and spur economic growth.
When Bill Clinton was president, the wealthy paid a higher tax rate, and in 8 years of Clinton’s Administration, there were 22 million jobs created, and there was a budget surplus that Bush squandered with corporate and wealthy tax cuts plus two protracted wars. The argument that jobs will be created if Bush-era tax cuts are extended permanently is utter nonsense, and if the tax cuts are extended, the most Americans can hope for is 1 million new jobs over 8 years.
The job creation meme aside; there is another economic downside to extending the cuts beyond $250,000 for the richest people in America. For every dollar given to the 2% of Americans who earn over $250,000, only 30 cents is returned to the economy. That is hardly a decent return on investment, especially when only 2% of Americans earn over $250,000 a year. When one considers that the $250,000 figure is taxable income, it works out to much more in real income before deductions. It seems reasonable to give tax cuts to 98% of Americans unless you are a Republican with a twisted sense of fiscal responsibility. They continue to advocate for the wealthiest Americans instead of the majority because they have to protect their donors and the corporations their donors own.
Republicans are refusing to extend unemployment benefits because they claim it is too costly, and that the unemployed will keep the money and not spend it. According to budget analysts and economists, for every dollar an unemployed worker receives, it works out to $1.60 infused into the economy because the money is spent on life’s necessities like food and a place to live. It is good economic policy and a good investment. In fact, the investment not only will spur economic growth, but it will save unemployed workers’ homes and keep them from living on the street.
Besides the economic advantage to extending unemployment benefits, there is the moral policy that says it is good to take care of citizens who have worked 20, 30, 40 years and lost their jobs to outsourcing and the recession that Republican policies caused. The financial industry benefited from lax or no regulations for 8 years, and without oversight, they damaged the world economy as well as set America’s economic stability back a decade if not more.
Some unemployed Americans worked their entire adult lives, paid taxes and bought homes only to lose them because of greedy bankers and corporations that outsourced jobs with Republican support. In the past couple of months. Republicans blocked job creation legislation and legislation to take away the tax incentives for companies that move jobs out of the country. Unemployment insurance is just that; insurance against losing a job, and the money was paid in for years of a working life only to be halted because Republicans are greedy for their corporate donors and 3% of the richest Americans.
People who are unemployed are not lazy, and they wouldn’t get any unemployment benefits if they had never worked. In some cases, Americans who worked for 30 – 40 years had money contributed by their employers for unemployment insurance, and like most insurance, when it’s time to pay up they balk, and Republicans are happy to fight for them.
It is morally and economically reprehensible that Republicans consider giving tax breaks to rich people who return 30 cents on every dollar to the economy, but refuse to extend unemployment benefits to hardworking Americans who will return $1.60 for every dollar they get. It is not difficult to understand the moral and economic ramifications unless you are a Republican. They are still pushing the trickle-down theory that has never worked, and they are putting Americans on the street. Besides not having living expenses, unemployed Americans are losing their homes, and one would think that banks would be concerned about losing revenue, but they have been making obscene profits off of mortgage foreclosures and Republicans are thrilled.
America is sliding closer to insolvency because of economic malfeasance at the hands of Republicans, and while corporations are getting richer, thousands of Americans are falling into poverty every day. Republicans claim that Democrats are waging class war against the wealthy, but when the facts are made manifest, the only war is the slaughter of the middle class by the Republican Party. It is economically and morally wrong, but that is what Republicans do best; wrong the American people.
Image Credit: White Rabbit Cult Political Blog
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.