I try to refrain from politics in this blog, but this is one observation I simply must make:
My dear, beloved Republican Party is so out of touch now that it’s simply falling off a cliff. This is the party that said allowing the “temporary” Bush-era tax cuts to expire amounted to a tax increase. Increases cannot be allowed because the vast majority of legislators in the GOP have signed the now infamous Grover Norquist tax pledge, a pledge so stringently applied that even if there were an agreement requiring $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in additional tax revenue, pledge signers are required to reject it. You’ll recall that the lion’s share of those Bush-era tax cuts went to those in the upper income levels of society. Indeed, the higher up the economic food chain the greater the cut, not only in actual amount, but also percentage-wise as well.
Yet, you’ll notice that allowing the one tax cut that most benefits the working class to expire—the Social Security payroll tax reduction—has been met with not so much as a wimper from Mr. Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform.
What lesson is one to take from all this? It’s elementary, my dear Watson. The lesson is that only tax cuts geared mostly to the wealthy are sacrosanct, while tax cuts primarily benefiting the middle class (all income up to $100,100 is fully taxable; any income between $100,101 and $10,000,000,000 or more is exempt—do the math on that one) are willingly being sacrificed in a game of brinkmanship without any compunction whatsoever.
If you make $100,100 or less, you’re about to have your taxes on 100% of you income increased by 2%. If you’re a millionaire, the vast majority of your income (everything above the cap of $100,100) is exempted from that increase.
Now consider this: if all income were subject to the Social Security payroll tax with no income cap, we could all be paying a significantly lower percentage to generate the same amount of revenue for Social Security—far lower in fact than the current 2% reduction affords the middle class. If the cap were lifted and the percentage were not lowered, then the much anticipated doomsday shortfall in the Social Security fund would be eliminated. Entirely. Probably forever, but at least well into the distant future.
This is fair? This makes sense on any level? I think not.
So, when you hear Grover Norquist and the House Republican leadership tell you that they’re fighting tax increases, remember the above. What they really mean is that they’re against any tax increases affecting those earning more than $100,100, and in all likelihood that ain’t you. That also goes for the Republican Governor of Wisconsin and those in Washington, D.C., who want only one specific segment of the middle class to take any tax hits—the ever unpopular government employee. And, yes, no matter how you frame it, if you’re taking more money out of someone’s pocket (even if you call it something innocuous and couch it in populist terms such “an increased retirement contribution” or a “freeze” during a time of inflation), then you have in fact raised someone’s taxes. But, again, this is a tax aimed at a segment of the middle class, so these proposed increases just do not count in Grover Norquist’s world.
Personally, I’m no longer buying this load. Come November, are you?