Raising Taxes On The Rich Shouldn’t Be A Political Issue, It’s Good Economic Sense

trickledownshamPresident Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans by targeting the money that is passed down through inheritance. Naturally, Republicans are not happy about the idea and will undoubtedly block the proposal at every turn, despite the fact that President Obama’s plan is touted as beneficial to the middle class, a group that both Democrats and Republicans claim to be champions in every political ad. The GOP will drag their feet and loudly state that by raising taxes on the rich, this will somehow disrupt the magical trickle-down that they’ve promised us would be coming any day now, for the past few decades.

There’s a problem with that talking point though, and the tired old promises that giving more money to the wealthiest people would stimulate the economy are about to be challenged once again. Here’s the thing: the rich are already rich, and now they’re about to get even richer, according to troubling report by Oxfam:

The world’s richest 1% will soon amass wealth that represents more than the entirety of that owned by the rest of the people on our planet, a new report released Monday by the British anti-poverty charity Oxfam claims.

The study, published ahead of this week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, suggests that by 2016 the gap between the world’s rich and poor will widen to the extent that those at the top of the income pile will control over 50% of total global wealth. That percentage is up from 48% in 2014.

In 2014, the 80 richest people had a collective wealth of $1.9 trillion — a rise of $600 billion, or 50% in four years, according to the report, Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More. (Source)

At what point does this concentration of wealth become unsustainable? At what point will this whole economic house of cards come tumbling down? Certainly if trickle-down economics worked, wouldn’t we all be rich by now, or at least better off than we were before the Great Recession? When will people wake up to the fact that continuing to give more tax breaks and incentives to corporations who have no intent of hiring more workers (or giving their workers raises) is nothing more than undeserved corporate welfare?

Even Mitt Romney who is considering yet another run for the White House in 2016 is aware of the growing dissatisfaction with an economy that is only benefiting the very wealthiest of Americans. The “new Romney” makeover he’s trying out includes being an anti-poverty and anti-inequality candidate, which is already going over like a fart in church with the Republican Party. While this may be political suicide within the GOP, at least Mitt Romney understands that people are frustrated and just barely getting by.

This is an economy with low unemployment but the problem is that the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession never came back. They were replaced with lower wage jobs, some of which are only part-time instead of full-time. The economy recovered, but only for the wealthiest of Americans and maybe, just maybe, Republican voters are starting to see that – if only they could get past the knee-jerk reaction to anything proposed by President Obama. In fact, more Republicans support raising taxes, as long as you mention Ronald Reagan:

When asked whether they support raising the tax rate on personal income above $1 million annually, 36 percent of Republicans supported the plan and 47 percent of Republicans were opposed. The rest were undecided.

But when asked whether they supported raising the personal income tax on those earning $1 million a year to 50 percent, “the same rate taxed under President Reagan,” Republicans shifted their support, with 53 percent supporting and 33 opposing.

Overall, 54 percent of those polled support raising the tax rate on millionaires, 31 percent are opposed and 12 percent were neutral or undecided. Democrats supported the idea by a 72 percent to 16 percent margin, with the remainder undecided or neutral. (Source)

Despite the constant accusations of Marxism and welfare handouts by many conservatives, many liberals don’t have a problem with the wealthy having money. There’s certainly folks like Bill Gates who worked hard or invested wisely and earned billions of dollars – nobody’s disputing that. Yet, the fact remains that when there’s less money for 99% of people to spend, it’s bad for the economy overall. Raising taxes on the rich back to Reagan-era levels shouldn’t be a partisan issue, it’s just good economic sense.


Facebook comments

  • Jim Bean

    If the Obama plan has something in it to offset the losses in campaign contributions that the Pubs would suffer by supporting this (and I’m sure it does because he’ll do whatever it takes to benefit the middle class) he’ll have no trouble getting bi-partisan support.

    • Cemetery Girl

      So Republicans need to be bribed to take action to help stabilize our country? It speaks volumes of our politicians when even you admit that the only way there will be improvement is if we find a way to purchase them from their masters.

  • BobJThompson

    Don’t just say you’re raising taxes on the rich. Spell out what those higher taxes will do. What infrastructure that will fix? What big projects that will benefit the masses it will allow? Make sure they know it’s only the super ultra wealthy that these taxes would apply to. Make sure they know that it’s going to benefit the nation and not just go to fattening government wallets.

    In my lifetime, I’ve never seen a government that will actually do something for people who make less than $100,000 a year. Fix it. Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.

    • Di Kelley

      I’d like to see more things like the free community college that Obama is trying to get done. I had said months ago I felt every american had the rights to have, no matter their wealth or social status, a small handful of things. Adequate food and shelter, adequate medical care, (I am a firm believer in taking the insurance companies out of the equation of health care and instituting a fully socialized health care system which the longer lifespans in the countries that have one shows has worked) and adequate schooling to be able to have a good life here. Make sure all three of those are freely accessible and the rest will fall into place for a good 90% of Americans.

      • BobJThompson

        Totally agree with your thoughts about health care. I’d like to also add that it’s time to upgrade our transportation system. We have the ability now to make things such as the hyperloop. It would be like clean jet travel. And to make something like that into a nationwide network would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs. Stop making pipelines for oil and instead use that knowledge to move people faster, cleaner, and cheaper than ever in human history. Let’s lap Europe and Japans train systems.

      • strayaway

        Every one of those things you mentioned could be done at the state level in states where voters want that to happen. Vermont, for instance, tried to institute an “affordable” Canadian like single payer health care plan but the affordable part was forbidden by (un)ACA bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.. Maybe the federal government should get out of the ways with its redundancies and pork barrels sometimes. Of course states don’t have magical dictatorial pens and phones to accomplish unconstitutional legislation.

      • BobJThompson

        The ACA was a chipping away of medical insurance companies. Unfortunately they still are basically in control of our health care. That needs fixed ASAP. Obama blew the golden opportunity he had there.

      • strayaway

        Google “Elizabeth Fowler ACA” and it makes sense. Just as half of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were made permanent, the (un)ACA locked in insurance company interests and insured that states like Vermont wouldn’t be able to do away with the need for private health care insurance policies.

      • Di Kelley

        I would like to see it nationwide, to be very honest.

  • Cemetery Girl

    I was reading yesterday of predictions of a second Great Depression. (I can’t remember where, I admittedly fell down a rabbit hole of articles.) What caught my interest was the prediction is based on examining history (which that always gets my attention), but in so many ways we are mirroring the 1920s, and the economic collapse then was inevitable.

  • strayaway

    Is this the same Obama who was a cheerleader for Bush’s Wall Street bailout, did not try to raise these taxes on the rich when both the Senate and House were Democratic, and who passed half of Bush’s temporary tax cuts for the rich making them permanent, brings in foreign labor to replace working class and middle class Americans workers at lower wages, who passed three additional free trade treaties, and who is trying to fast track the TPP?

    Barack Obama: more “hope” and “change we can believe in”

  • Macdoodle

    The top 10% of earners pay 68% of all income taxes while the bottom 50% pay a mere 3%.The rich bleed enough as it is.

    • FD Brian

      And it’s really saying something that many of those individuals are paying less of a percentage of their income in taxes than the rest of us.

    • Steven78

      Sir, can you possibly pinpoint the exact moment when you decided to spew Republican’ts crap?