|First the good news. The Obama plan which includes not extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy squeeked through the Senate:
The Democratic bill--which extends tax cuts through 2013 for all individuals except those who jointly earn over $250,000, passed in the Democratic-controlled Senate by a vote of 51 to 48. The bill saved Democrats the embarrassment of having a measure supported by the president fail in the chamber they control, but the bill has virtually no hope of passage in the Republican-controlled House.
And of course, Republicans made the same tired argument for extending the rates for the wealthy, whining about "small businesses" and "jobs" and the fact that if you inherit over a million dollars that you must pay taxes on it:
Republicans argued the Democratic bill extended death or inheritance taxes and raised taxes on small businesses, as well as raising taxes on the wealthiest earners. Democrats said the Republican bill failed to protect the middle class and shielded the wealthy.
Republicans took up the opposing mantle. "With unemployment still above eight percent, the only vote on taxes that matters to the American people is a vote to stop the small business tax hike the president wants that Ernst & Young says will cost our economy 700,000 jobs," House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) said in a statement. "The House will vote next week to stop that tax hike, and until the Senate does the same, the threat to our economy remains."
Predictably, the President was more upbeat about the votes in the Senate:
The Democratic bill's passage fuels the party's talking points on the subject of middle class tax cuts. "With the Senate's vote, the House Republicans are now the only people left in Washington holding hostage the middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans and nearly every small business owner," President Barack Obama said in a statement following the vote. That sentiment was publicly repeated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democratic leaders immediately following the vote.
Which leads to the question, who is right? It seems with two competing, opposite opinions on this subject someone has to be wrong does it not? Well, the truth is easy to find if you just look for it.
First to the Republican claim that losing these tax cuts will cause our "job creators" to crawl under a rock and stop creating jobs. Uh, in case they have not noticed with over a decade of these cuts our "job creators" are not doing a very good job of creating:
In fact, they are just as wrong about this as they are about the relationship between marginal tax rates and overall economic growth. In the past 60 years, job growth has actually been greater in years when the top income tax rate was much higher than it is now.
More pesky facts for Republicans:
In fact, if you ranked each year since 1950 by overall job growth, the top five years would all boast marginal tax rates at 70 percent or higher. The top 10 years would share marginal tax rates at 50 percent or higher. The two worst years, on the other hand, were 2008 and 2009, when the top marginal tax rate was 35 percent. In the 13 years that the top marginal tax rate has been at its current level or lower, only one year even cracks the top 20 in overall job creation.
Another fact is that as this chart shows rates for the wealthy are lower now than ever:
What has been the result?? As another chart shows economic growth as shown by the gross domestic product has been terrible with lower taxes:
But this is the tax argument in a nutshell and what all Americans should be asking of Republican "leaders". If these tax cuts are so good at creating jobs then where the hell are they? If they are so good for our economy why did it crash off a cliff? These cuts have been in effect for over a decade now and what has happened? Treasure has been horded to the top, jobs have been lost and our economy is in a sorry shape indeed.
What the Republicans fail to tell you is that if these cuts worked then they would be working right now. It would all be sunshine and champagne for working Americans. However, the truth of the matter and the tax argument simply is this. The only reason for extending the Bush Tax Cuts for the very wealthy is uncaring greed on the part of the very few and unknowing idiocy on the part of the American people.
If we allow them to be renewed once more we are merely getting what we deserve.
Just one more thought. Why does it seem that the Senate only needs 60 votes when McConnell wants 60, and 50 whenever else?