I can vividly remember my conservative friends telling me that class warfare wouldn’t work for President Obama. Wrong, I told them. Class warfare would work, envy is a powerful force, most Americans would have no problem if taxes were to go up on the so-called rich. Why should they care, they would figure? “My taxes aren’t going up.”
I bring this up not to gloat, but to make the point that the Republicans can’t win this “fiscal cliff” battle. The president’s message is so simple that even your typical not-too-bright American who thinks the “rich” owe him something could grasp it: The rich have to pay their “fair share.” They can afford a tax hike. Your government needs their money, so the rich need to cough it up. Case closed.
The Republican position is not nearly so easy to grasp. Let’s close loopholes, they say, and keep tax rates where they are (or maybe even lower them) and raise money the same amount of money that way.
But why is that better than simply raising rates? Because, the GOP says, raising rates will hurt job creation and slow the recovery. To which the typical American who’s barely paying attention asks: But if taxes are going up on the rich one way or the other, and the same amount of money will be coming out of their pockets, what’s the difference? Why not just go with President Obama – who cares about people like me — and get this whole thing over with?
Trying to tell Bozo America that the rich already pay more than their fair share would, of course be a waste of time. Telling them that the top the top 1 percent of American households paid 39 percent of income taxes in 2009, according to the most recent data compiled by the Congressional Budget Office, and the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid 64 percent, would just leaving them scratching their empty heads and saying, “huh?”
Acknowledging that income taxes alone do not tell the whole story, because lower-income Americans do pay payroll taxes, and explaining that even then, the top 1 percent paid 22 percent of federal taxes while earning just 13.4 percent of household income and the top 5 percent paid 40 percent of all federal taxes, despite earning only 26 percent of all income … wouldn’t make a dent in their thick skulls, either.
The (Washington) Examiner says, “No matter how you slice the numbers, it’s hard to understand why anyone would think the wealthy aren’t already shouldering a burden commensurate with their blessings.”
That is, assuming that most Americans have a clue, which they don’t.
So what should the Republicans do? Here’s my free advice:
Tell the American people that the Republican Party will not raise any taxes unless President Obama gets serious about cutting spending. Yes, I know, they’ve already said that.
But they haven’t said this: We know that you, the American people, will blame us, the Republican Party if we go over the cliff. We know you will blame us when we slip into another recession and millions of Americans lose their jobs. We know that if a giant meteor falls out of the sky and kills a pussy willow in Wyoming you will blame us for that too. Good thing we no longer care what you think.
So let us, the Republican Party, make this very, very clear: We don’t give a damn if you blame us. Blame the hell out of us if it makes you feel better. BUT WE WILL NOT SELL YOU, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DOWN THE RIVER, SO BARACK OBAMA CAN MAKE HIS LEFT WING BASE HAPPY. WE WILL DO WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE SENSE TO APPRECIATE IT.
The American people have never heard such a clear, unvarnished message from politicians. It might wake them up. It might make the dolts say, “Hey these people really do care about people like me.” Or it may not. If it doesn’t, no harm no foul. They were going to blame Republicans anyway, so the party will have lost nothing by being blunt.
On a personal note, I hope that every small business operator whose taxes go up, fires somebody – or several people – to make up for their lost revenue. First, they should find out if, during the presidential campaign, the employee thought raising taxes on the rich was a good idea. If yes, fire him or her and make sure he or she understands why you did it. “My taxes went up, my profits went down,” the business person will say, “and you’re going to pay the price since you thought Mr. Obama had such a great idea when he said the ‘rich’ need to pay their ‘fair share.’ Bye Bye.”
Sure, this will cause a lot of pain and suffering. Too bad I’ve reached the point where I don’t care anymore. Barack Obama doesn’t understand how the economy works and neither do the slugs who voted for him. They deserve each other – and the consequences of their actions.
Copyright © 2013 BernardGoldberg.com