Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Two Years Ago?

The Republican Party has drawn their line in the sand; they flatly refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy.  Their argument is that higher taxes kills job creation.  Proponents phrase this as, “lower taxes creates jobs” and “we cannot tax the job creators”.  This is a circular logic, which is not substantiated by evidence.  And yet, this is the course they chose to take.  Republicans were even bold enough to draft and sign “A Pledge to America” which defines their stance, where the first pledge is to “permanently stop all job-killing tax hikes”.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked out on a bipartisan debt ceiling negotiation to “protect taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies, tax breaks for corporate jets, and tax breaks for millionaires”, according to Rep. Chris Van Hollen.  Though Cantor’s staff added, “..the bottom line is that the proposals pushed by Democrats would increase taxes by hundreds of billion of dollars on individuals, small businesses, and employers at a time when we need to focus on job growth.”  This sentiment was carried into the Republican Presidential Primary in New Hampshire, where every candidate suggested lowering taxes.  Michele Bachmann was even brazen enough to ask Reagan’s question, “Are you better off now than you were two years ago?” reported “Since 2009, 88% of income growth went to corporate profits, just one percent went to wages.” and “…many Americans are still struggling while S&P 500 corporations are sitting on $800 billion in cash and making massive profits.  They also reported, “CEOs of largest U.S. companies received 23% pay raise last year”.  David Cay Johnston wrote in his book, “Free Lunch” how businesses are handed tax breaks and tax subsidies to support or entice businesses.  Instances of government programs being slashed to protect tax breaks and tax cuts for businesses have been reported on in New Jersey, Arizona, and Texas.  So obviously, someone is better off now than they were two years ago.

Republicans have blocked many job creation bills, which would have been invaluable assistance to millions of unemployed Americans.  What we find in place of job creation bills are austerity measures and a conservative political party entrenched in protecting taxes for the wealthy.  Again, we are told that “we cannot tax job creators”.  Without exception, every Republican presidential candidate asserts that Obama made the Recession worse.  Surely, ineffective tax cuts inbedded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill) had no ill effect on the stimulus effort.

Addressing the efforts to curb our economic recession and to spark job growth, we should quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt who very aptly said many years ago, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”  Addressing the Republican’s line in the sand, we should quote John F. Kennedy who aptly stated, “We cannot negotiate with those who say, What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”  Addressing the Bachmann’s question, “Are you better off now than you were two years ago?”, we should reply with “which party has been trying to aid those in need and which party has only protected their own self interests?”