Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Class Warfare, Math - And Who Will Win In The End

As expected, President Obama announced a budget reduction and revenue generation plan yesterday as a companion piece to the American Jobs Act he announced a week and a half ago. Even before his Rose Garden presentation on Monday, the heads of many in the GOP began to explode in rhetorical flames, as they cried out that President Obama's proposal to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires was class warfare.

The President was prepared for their false cries, and he threw their lie right back into their faces. “This is not class warfare,” Obama said. “It's math.”

President Obama's right. Since 1950, American businesses grow FASTER when the top level of taxes is HIGHER. It's not a direct causal relationship - meaning higher taxes don't automatically mean faster growth. It is, however, a fact that Republican claims that lower taxes always equal faster growth are complete lies.

That's not the only lie those on right are spewing as they desperately try to fight the facts of the President's math.

As the non-partisan CBO mentioned this summer, if Congress simply does nothing – something the current GOP-led House is incredibly good at doing – by sometime around 2018, the federal budget will balance. That inaction would absolutely cause massive problems for the Medicare and Medicaid programs, among other government services Americans expect - but the federal budget would be balanced.

Unlike the Tea Party Republicans at the last GOP debate, most Americans don't generally think letting people without health insurance die is a good idea. In fact, most Americans - by a three-to-one margin - have NO problem raising taxes on those in our society who can afford it the most.

It's obvious that President Obama has gotten that message from the American people loud and clear. His tax and budget plan would include a tax for millionaires and billionaires - a tax that would affect less than three tenths of one percent of Americans. In a country of over 310 million people, when you can help 309 million by slightly increasing the taxes of less than one million of the wealthiest individuals, it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that decision is a no-brainer.

Yet, the Republicans are claiming the President's entire plan is class warfare.

Let's make sure everyone understands the math. The President and 75% of the American people - including one of the richest Americans in the world, Warren Buffett - want the rich to pay a little more (which they can easily afford), while the middle and working classes get to keep many of their current tax breaks. Since the middle and working classes will spend more of their money sooner, that would boost our economy faster in the short term. This plan could also allow us to make sure doctors get more of their Medicare and Medicaid payments, and help pay down America's debt - which will help keep interest rates low when the next growth boom happens, which is a benefit to every American.

Meanwhile, Republicans and conservatives and the other 25% of Americans want MORE tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, which they CLAIM will bring jobs to America. If their claim had any weight behind it, the unemployment rate in America should be at a record low, since Americans are playing less taxes proportionately than they've paid in over sixty years.

Point blank, Republican math about the President's latest plan is wrong in virtually every way we can imagine. Maybe they need some time with a high school math teacher we used to know who hung meat hooks on her walls as motivation to get the answers right. Or as political reporter and McLaughlin Group regular Eleanor Clift once told right-wing politico Pat Buchannan, “Class warfare is when we burn down your houses, Pat."

Either way, if it's a war the richest Americans and the Republican Party want, they need to remember: the most important math is that there are millions and millions more Americans who agree with the President on his plan than there are those who stand with Republicans and the rich.

It may burn the GOP's hide - but both the odds and the facts are simply not in their favor.

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