It puzzles me that low/middle income Republicans support the GOP's "no tax increase for the rich" policy knowing it will cost them thousands of dollars. Also bewildering is how Herman Cain received such favorable polling numbers with his blatantly obvious 9-9-9 plan.
Even after the Tax Policy Center exposed his plan as strongly favoring the rich (see Standard-Examiner report of Oct. 19th) his poll numbers remained high. Under his original plan, 84 percent of us low/middle income earners, Democrats and Republicans alike, would receive whopping tax increases while those making $1,000,000 or more would receive an average 50 percent decrease. And Rick Perry's alleged flat-tax plan which eliminates taxes on all investment income (zero capital gains tax) is so obviously pro-rich it is laughable.
Of course the GOP has accused Democrats of waging class warfare over the issue of raising taxes on the rich. Warren Buffet countered that assertion recently when he said (paraphrased), "Of course it is class warfare. The wealthy started it and the wealthy are winning it." Every time the tax rate for high income earners is lowered or another loophole favoring the wealthy (e.g., lowering capital gains tax to 15 percent) is put into place it is another attack on the pocket books of the poor and middle class and the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" widens. Look at the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office:
Over the past 30 years, the share of the nation's total income for the bottom 80 percent dropped by 18 percent while the next 19 percent saw a 65 percent increase and the top 1 percent saw a whopping 275 percent increase.
That means the rich's piece of the pie keeps getting bigger while ours gets smaller. Some argue that half our income earners pay no income tax at all so the wealthy are paying most of the taxes. That is indeed true, probably because most of those who pay nothing fall below the poverty line and the top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation's wealth according to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz using 2007 figures. Add the disparity between the average CEO salary and the average worker salary (reported to be 344 to 1 in 2010 for the S&P 500 companies by the MSN Money Report May 18, 2011) and it's hard to believe the rich need a tax break. Is it any wonder the Occupy Wall Streeters are angry?
So the question remains; why do low/middle income Republicans continue to support tax cuts for the rich? There are several theories. One is that the poor admire and cherish wealth and aspire to be wealthy. Therefore, since wealth might be their future, it is in their best interest to guard it by keeping taxes on their future fantasy income low.
Another theory is that they believe "trickle-down economics" works for them although the findings shown above paint a different picture. Another is the "single-issue-voter" theory; e.g., if they oppose gun control or abortion or gay marriage they might vote GOP regardless of the impact any other issue might have on them. Of course, if they believe in all the other GOP core policies they might also vote GOP.
I honestly don't know the answer. However, it seems that not all Republicans support tax cuts for the wealthy. In fact, it seems the majority do not. An Oct. 11 Bloomberg poll shows that 68 percent of those polled want to see taxes for the wealthy raised and that includes 53 percent of Republicans. Further, an Oct. 27 Wall Street Journal story reports the results of a Spectrem Group survey of millionaires showing that 68 percent of them support raising taxes on themselves. Yet the GOP Congress and GOP presidential candidates vehemently oppose taxing the rich.
If the polls are even reasonably accurate, it means the GOP leadership is not in tune with its constituency on this issue. Perhaps, on this issue, they are more in tune with their corporate sponsors. Do you remember the members of Congress who signed Grover Norquist's "no-tax" pledge? Do you remember the debate where the GOP Presidential candidates were asked if they would refuse to support a 10 for 1 cost-cut versus tax-increase and they all raised their hands? They seem okay with raising taxes on the poor and middle class as evidenced by Cain's 9-9-9 plan and Perry's flat tax plan, but heaven forbid they cross Grover Norquist or listen to their constituency. If you are part of the 53 percent or the 68 percent maybe a call to your representatives or senators will tell you who they work for, you or Grover Norquist.
Beauchamp is a retired aerospace marketing director and consultant and a member of the local Coffee Party living in North Ogden.