At a Senate Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s budget proposal, ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) destroyed the Republican myth of wealthy job creators who must be given tax cuts.
During his opening remarks at Senate Budget Committee’s hearing on the president’s budget proposal, Sanders said:
Mr. Chairman: This is not just a moral issue, it is an economic issue. Seventy percent of our economy is based on consumer spending, and when working people don’t earn enough income, they are not spending money. They are not buying products or services. The “job creators” in this country are not the heads of corporations. They can’t sell products and services unless people have the income to buy them. The real job creators are those millions of Americans who every day go out and purchase goods and services – and if they don’t have adequate income, the economy suffers.
This simple phenomenon, that an economy cannot do well unless there is low-unemployment and decent wages, impacts not only the lives of ordinary people, but also our deficit and national debt — and important government programs like Social Security. In other words, if we are going to reduce the deficit, we have got to make sure that every American who is willing to work hard is able to get a decent-paying job.
The debate we are having this morning will have a profound impact on the lives of the American people. The Republican philosophy of cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare, cutting Medicaid, cutting nutrition programs for hungry kids, while providing huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires would move this country in exactly the wrong direction.
On the other hand, if we are serious about rebuilding the disappearing middle class, reducing income and wealth inequality, and strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid we need a budget that creates millions of jobs, raises wages, makes college more affordable, and demands that the wealthiest people in this country pay their fair share. In all of these matters, the President’s budget moves this country in the right direction.
The entire debate on budgetary and tax policy is centered around one simple question. Who does the government help? Republicans believe that the government should be helping the wealthiest Americans and corporations by cutting taxes and rolling back regulations. Republicans believe that these steps will lead to increased economic growth. Democrats and Independents like Sen. Sanders believe that government should be helping working people and those who are in the middle-class. Democrats has decades of history behind them that proves that helping working people make or save more money grows the economy.
One of the reasons why the promotion of Sen. Sanders to the highest Democratic position on the budget committee was a big deal is because the person in the top Democratic seat on the committee is talking about middle-class issues. Sen. Sanders destroyed the myth of the “job creator.” The American economy is driven by consumer spending, and the biggest consumer are people who are living week to week, buying groceries, paying rent, and putting food on the table.
In 2013, the wealthiest Americans were saving cash at a record pace. When the wealthy get a tax cut, they don’t put that money back into the economy. Unlike middle-class folks, the wealthy don’t fix their car or buy the kids some new shoes when their income tax refund is bigger. The wealthy take their tax cut money and save it, or invest it.
Sen. Sanders was correct. There is no special class of job creators. Every single American that puts money back into the U.S. economy is a “job creator.” If Republicans want to protect the job creators, they should be cutting taxes for every American in the middle-class and below.