Call it a “protest” if you like — that wouldn’t be too far off the truth. Call it a “put your money where your mouth is” litmus test for lip service to the middle class. Of course, Republicans are all about lip service; behold the wonders they’ve worked for veterans, who are supposedly their heroes. Or, the very Christian love they’ve shown to the poor and downtrodden, the Jesus-like way they’ve eschewed materialism and personal gain. Yes, Republicans specialize in talking from the corners of their mouths, paying lip service while talking their way out of footing bills. So, let’s see how they talk their way out of this one.
The other day, we published an article titled “New Poll: Upper Middle-Class Americans Really Hate the Poor, and a Surprise Twist From the Very Rich.” In that article, we found that the GOP’s thickest supporting base lay in the upper-middle class, the $75K-to-$100K group. Generally, clock-punching yuppies, corporate ladder climbers and small business owners. And the reason that these people so heavily support the GOP (aside from being afraid of black people) is pretty simple: they get reamed more than anyone else on income taxes. If you were the sole proprieter of a small business in this class, there’s a pretty good chance you’d end up giving up around half of your yearly income to taxes. That’s a pretty bitter pill compared to the 15% millionaires pay, and the 0% percent paid by The Poors.
So, a tax cut to the most heavily burdened workers in this country would go over pretty well among the Republican base. Or so you’d think. Let’s see.
Yesterday, the top Democratic member of the House Budget Committe announced that he plans to put forth a series of proposals to make life easier on the Republican’s thickest base. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said of the recent “recovery,” which has primarily been only a recovery for Wall Street:
“It’s no wonder so many Americans feel like they’re on a treadmill or falling behind. Republican trickle down economic theory has crashed miserably in the real world.”
To amend the situation, Van Hollen has introduced a blatantly Progressive tax plan similar to those already in use in the UK, France, Singapore and Hong Kong. Measures like this (very popular among labor unions and progressive groups) have been introduced before, but failed to pass even when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. Essentially, the plan is this:
- A $1,000 “paycheck bonus” to those making up to $100,000 a year, directly reducing the amount of income taxes they’d have to pay by $1,000.
- A “saver’s bonus,” which would add another $250 credit to anyone who saves at least $500 of his $1,000 tax credit.
- Huge child and dependent deductions, from a maximum of $1,800 today to $4,000 per dependent under Van Hollen’s plan.
- A “second earner” tax deduction for families in which both parents work. Under this provision, families would get an additional 20% tax deduction on up to $60,000. According to Van Hollen, a two-earner household making a combined $90,000 would save up to $900 a year on taxes.
Just from this, it’s pretty clear that Van Hollen’s plan would add up to some truly massive savings for working families clearing $50K to $100K a year — which, again, is the best possible description of the GOP’s hardest voter base. He’s also introducing a measure to bar corporate CEOs from deducting over $1 million in pay unless they also provide workers with pay increases relative to worker productivity and inflation. And how else does Van Hollen plan to pay for all this?
By capitalizing on Wall Street’s massive growth since the “recovery,” which has yet to really profit anyone but Wall Street traders. Say this in your best Vincent Price voice, as a terrifying concept to the Republican base:
“RRrrrredistrrrribution of WEALTH!!! Ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!!”
- He wants to limit tax breaks for the very rich, the top 1% of income earners. Not increase taxes per se, just limit the deductions they can make onand tax-free treatment they get on retirement savings, state and local deductions, capital gains and dividends. Van Hollen says the tax deductions now enjoyed by the very rich are hugely disproportionate, so these measures would only help to level the playing field slightly.
- A 0.1% tax increase on Wall Street trades, which Van Hollen calls a “High Rollers’ Fee.” This would really only impact people who trade in massive quantities on Wall Street, the big-time bankers and hedge fund managers. Very few other people would notice the increase, especially compared to one everyday kind of fee. As he explains: “If I had $100,000 worth of stock and I turned over my entire portfolio in a year, it would cost $100 bucks. When people go to the ATM machine, they take out $100 bucks, and they pay three bucks. That’s three times the percentage we’re talking about.”
It all sounds pretty great, right?
Especially for the GOP voter base, who could see some truly legitimate and noticeable savings from their grossly disproportionate tax burden. If passed, this would probably be the first truly good thing to happen to the GOP’s thickest voting demographic since…well…it’s hard to think of when.
All told, Van Hollen’s plan would bring in a fat $1.2 Trillion over the next decade or so — money which comes straight from the pockets of the uber-rich, and goes right into those of the working middle class.
But, it’s already a given that it won’t pass through our Republican Congress. Not because it was introduced by a Democrat, which will be reason enough for some. Not just because it’s supported by progressive groups and labor unions, which will be plenty enough reason for others. And that will undoubtedly come up as the GOP smokescreens for emotional appeal. But mostly because….something about Reaganomics.
That’s almost certainly going to be the go-to play for Republicans as they try to justify killing a plan that would benefit thier own constituencies more than anyone else. There’s nothing like citing a mythological, utterly debunked economic theory like “trickle-down economics” to get Republicans to vote against thier own best interests. It makes them feel smart, like they understand something about The Economics that no commie libtard ever will. Despite the fact that what they “understand” about economics has been subsequently debunked as Libertarian Bullsh*t 101.
So…appeal to hatred…a pean to emotion…citing pseudoeconomic principles designed to siphon cash from the working class and put it into the pockets of people whose idea of “working for a living” is “shuffling around other peoples’ money.” Yep.
That’s how Republicans vote against thier own best interests.
Be interesting to see how this bit of lip service plays out.
Well, that didn’t take long.
Behold, flat rejection via Tweet. Not even from Boehner himself, but from his spokesman Chad Pergram:
So, there you have it, Republican voter base. There’s your guy. The same one who didn’t hesitate to approve a $440 billion tax break to corporations last month…he says the tax code is “too broken” to do anything for you. No justification, no reasoned response, no invocations of Reaganomics even; just a kind of flat “Nah, we’re not doing that.”
Via Tweet. From a subordinate, no less. He didn’t even have to open his mouth.
But for certain, he and the rest of the people elected by the Middle Class he screwed are going to say plenty about how they’re “working for America.” About how they care about thier voters and constituents, and are in no way owned by their corporate and Wall Street donors. The flat mandate of reality, though, comes by way of simple Tweet.
Now that’s what we call lip service.