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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

"The GOP's Bizarre, Disturbing Passion for Raising Taxes on the Poor"

James Kwak says the explanation I gave yesterday for why Republicans ignore the interests of the poor and the unemployed, that the Party is simply expressing the wishes of the wealthy interests that fund campaigns, is not the most most disturbing explanation for the recent behavior of the GOP:

The GOP's Bizarre, Disturbing Passion for Raising Taxes on the Poor, by James Kwak: ... The vast majority of Republicans in Congress have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which commits them to vote against any bill that would either increase tax rates or increase tax revenues.
That should be the whole story. But it isn't..., leading Republican figures ... as well as a majority of party members, argue that taxes should go up ... on the poor. They are talking about the famous "47 percent" who don't pay federal income taxes. ...
If you include payroll taxes, it turns out that only 18 percent of households pay no direct federal taxes. ... The majority of people who don't pay either income or payroll taxes are the elderly... If Eric Cantor wants to solve the "problem"..., he should push to make Social Security benefits taxable. Good luck with that.
Almost all of the other households that don't pay direct federal taxes make less than $20,000 per year. So, it turns out, the only people that Republicans want to raise taxes on are the very poor -- and they want to do it so much that they are willing to consider breaking the Pledge. ...
Two explanations jump to mind. The first is that the modern Republican Party is funded by the very rich. ... The result is that the parties' platforms now reflect the wishes of their major funders, not their median voters. ...
The other, even-more-disturbing explanation, is that Republicans see the rich as worthy members of society (the "producers") and the poor as a drain on society (the "takers"). ... This is why today's conservatives have gone beyond the typical libertarian and supply-side arguments for lower taxes on the rich, and the campaign to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich has taken on such self-righteous tones.
This just goes to show how pathological the Republican Party has become. It would be so much simpler, more logical, and more politically appealing if they would just draw a line against higher taxes for anyone. ... The fact that Eric Cantor feels compelled to go out of his way to talk about raising taxes on the poor shows how the nasty instinct for class warfare is undermining what should be a simple, small-government agenda.

    Posted by on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 10:07 AM in Economics, Income Distribution, Politics, Taxes | Permalink  Comments (104)


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