GOP Advocates Middle-Class Tax INCREASE

Let me admit upfront that I agree wholeheartedly with the great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.” About taxes, I am probably the most uncomplaining American you will ever meet.

But now that the GOP presidential field is advocating a middle-class tax increase, I really must object, not to the taxes, but to the assignment of tax burden.

The GOP pronouncement should go over really well in 2012 (are you listening, Democrats?). Here’s Benjy Sarlin of TPM:

In recent months, nearly every major Republican candidate has name-checked a popular statistic that 47% of Americans who file taxes paid no income tax in 2009. Given the GOP’s anti-tax zeal you’d think they’d be celebrating. Nope!

“Right now we know that 53% of Americans pay income taxes and 47% do not,” Michele Bachmann told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday. “I think we definitely need to change the tax code. We need to get more in line. Everybody benefits from this magnificent country. Everybody pay something.”

Go to hell, Michele. Not that Bachmann is alone; the new “hammer the 47 percent” campaign seems to span the Republican spectrum of likely presidential candidates.

First of all, America’s current income tax rates are the lowest since 1954 1930 (see table), and the vast bulk of the tax cuts between then and now 1954 and today benefited primarily the extremely wealthy. Now the middle class is being asked to make up for cuts which they didn’t benefit from anywhere nearly as much as the rich did.

Second, it’s not as if other taxes do not burden the middle class and especially the poor. Every employed person pays the payroll tax to support his or her retirement (if the fund is not raided by a rampaging GOP Congress at some point before they retire). Most Americans pay some sort of state tax, some of which (e.g., Texas’s sales tax) are highly regressive.

Finally,  according to a March 2011 article from The Nation, many wealthy individuals and two-thirds of corporations pay no income tax at all. Among the corporations paying zero or negligible income tax are Sen. Bernie Sanders’s list: Exxon-Mobil, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron, Boeing, Valero, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips, and Carnival Cruise Lines. Many of these corporations received actual tax rebates in one or more recent years.

And Republicans think the middle class doesn’t pay enough. Here you go, from the party that purports to hate tax increases: a large, steaming pile of tax increases on the working population but not on the rich and certainly not on the corporations. Open wide, now…

We can only hope that the working population is also the voting population. If so, the new GOP policy should go over really well in the 2012 elections.

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