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A Taxing Issue


A storm is brewing in Congress.  I can’t imagine why that would happen a few months before an election.  Can you?  
Anyway…this battle is over tax breaks.  Democrats in Congress are pushing to extend Bush-era tax breaks to the middle class while letting the tax breaks expire for the wealthy.  Republicans are doing exactly the opposite.  They are pushing to extend the tax breaks for the wealthy while not extending breaks for the middle class.  The war seems to be shaping up as follows:
  • Republicans are saying that Democrats are trying to raise taxes (although they are not specifying that it will only affect the wealthy).  
  • Republicans are saying that letting these tax breaks expire will cause massive layoffs because the wealthy will be so burdened that they will have to let go of employees.  
  • Democrats are saying that Republicans are doing their typical “protect the rich and punish the middle class” act.  
  • Democrats say that ending the tax breaks for the wealthy will help to reduce the budget deficit that Republicans seem to be so worried about without hurting the majority of Americans.
Being a middle class American, I generally side with the Democrats in this debate.  Here is how the numbers play out:
As of 2009 (the last year statistics are available), approximately 2.8% of Americans made $200,000 or more.  The cut-off point for these tax breaks is $250,000.  Since actual statistics aren’t available, I’m going to assume that approximately 0.8% of Americans make between $200k and $250k.  This leaves the “wealthy” category at about 2%.  With the population of the U.S. currently around 311.6 million, this means that about 6.2 million people would see a tax increase with the Democratic plan while about 305.4 million will continue to pay higher taxes with the Republican plan (bear in mind that these numbers include the families of the income earners, but I include them because they will be affected by the changes).  

This evidence seems to point to the fact that the Democratic plan will benefit the most people in the U.S.  Let’s look at the other argument.
  • Republicans claim that the rise in taxes will cost jobs.  Let’s think about this –
  • Republicans complain that job growth has been poor. 
  • They say these tax cuts are what will increase jobs.
  • The tax breaks have been in effect throughout the recession and while job growth has been too slow for them.
  • So how exactly have these breaks helped create jobs? 
I work with a guy who is – well, he’s the most paranoid person I have ever met in my life.  I don’t mean that in a bad way…in fact, I have learned a lot from him.  He is always very cautious about people having ulterior motives.  Now when I look at a situation such as this, I try to determine what the motives are for each party. 
I believe the motives for the Democrats are to gain back some of their lost seats in Congress by providing tax cuts for most of the country.
I believe that Republicans have used this argument to scare people into maintaining their control of the House of Representatives.  They have also historically been the party that panders to the wealthy (partially because many of them are wealthy).  They have never been able to show an increase or decrease in the number of jobs created or lost based on tax breaks such as these.  The lack of evidence to support their claims along with the benefits they will receive by the Republican plan gives me pause.
I’m sure that many people will try to give me the same argument that Republicans have been feeding them.  “Losing these tax breaks will cost jobs.”  That is just not true.  The breaks didn’t create jobs.  If they did, then why are Republicans crying about the unemployment rate?  They can’t have it both ways.  Either it works (in which case the unemployment rate isn’t as bad as their political ads would have us believe), or it doesn’t (in which case they are just trying to protect their bank accounts and scare people into supporting them).  So which is it?  
As I’m sure many of my conservative readers will follow the conservative political plan of fighting everything Democrats are attempting to do, I make one request.  I have given a very logical argument in this post.  If you disagree, which is fine, please don’t argue the silly points that I have already discredited unless you have some kind of evidence.  Posting that I’m wrong without anything to back up your claim other than what these people have told you doesn’t mean anything.  In fact, I won’t even debate the issue unless you post evidence (that does not mean the comments of politicians or media personalities).  
I’m sure I’ll be following this storm as it grows.  I’ll update you all with anything good that arises.  
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