President Obama recently proposed $1.5 trillion in tax increases on American corporations and the American wealthy in an attempt to reduce the nation’s annual deficit. To be fair, the term “tax increase” is not entirely accurate as the president’s plan would not increase taxes per se but would merely close corporate tax loopholes and let the Bush-era income tax cuts expire. CNN’s political ticker posted a great blog summarizing the various responses of GOP leaders to Pres. Obama’s debt plan. In general, the response from the Republican leadership has been to condemn the president’s plan as class warfare.
Class warfareis a term typically used by communists and socialists to describe the struggle between the rich and the poor. In fact, according to Karl Marx, class warfare is necessary as it will lead to the violent overthrow of capitalism. In other words, the republican response to proposed tax increases as class warfare is an attempt to imply the plan as ideologically and inherently Marxist and thus un-America and illegitimate. Conversely, if asking the top 5% to pay their fair share is analogous to class warfare, what is cutting services to the middle-class to avoid rising taxes on the rich? The American middle-class have stood idly by as:
- Corporate lobbyists maintain more influence in Congress than the American people
- The U.S. Congress facilitates the outsourcing of American middle-class jobs to China via tax breaks
- Corporations receive bailouts and/or subsidies devoid of strings
- Colossal military spending goes unimpeded while the average American soldier is underpaid
- Bank of America and General Electric paid zero taxes to the IRS in 2009 and 2010 due to tax loopholes
The “cut government spending” counter-solution presented by Republican Party leaders make for great politics but contradicts history. Historically, there has never been a nation that has “cut” its way into prosperity. However, history is filled with examples of nations building their way to prosperity with the United States being one of them. Asking the super wealthy to pay higher taxes was not a partisan issue under the republican Eisenhower administration when the wealthy paid a whopping 90% of their income to the government. So why is asking the rich to simply pay their fair share, who are currently paying the lowest taxes since World War II, an issue today? The answer is unfortunate but simple – party politics.