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How the GOP Is Secretly Destroying the Middle Class
If you listen to the (supposedly liberal) mainstream media, it’s easy to get the idea that the GOP is out to help everyone who responsibly manages their money by way of tax cuts. But their actions prove otherwise.
Starting with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and continuing to this vary day, party-line Republicans favor tax cuts for the rich, and tax increases that affect middle-class and working-class Americans most of all. This is by no means a recent trend. But if you’re like 99% of other Americans, you’re feeling the squeeze now more than ever.
How have Republicans been working to destroy the middle class for the last 20+ years? The following are just a few examples. You can find even more with a little research. Their assault seems never-ending.
Republicans Want to Nix Middle-Class Tax Cuts
You won’t hear it much in the mainstream media, but Obama actually cut the amount of taxes most Americans have to pay. This was a 33% cut on the amount Social Security that every working American pays on every cent of their paycheck.
The tax cut to employees cost nothing to employers. Normally, employees pay 6.2% of their income as part of social security taxes, while employers pay another 6.2% on each employee’s pay. The current tax break means that employees pay only 4.2%, while employers pay the same rate as before
This benefit applies to anyone who makes less than $106,800–which means most of us! As you might guess, it’s a benefit that the GOP wants to take away at the end of the year, while the White House and Democratic Congress wold like to see it extended.
“Reagonomics” Didn’t Work for Reagan
It didn’t just start with George W. Bush. Ronald Reagan, who is now something of a mythical figure among conservatives, raised taxes on gasoline almost twenty years ago! The tax was “only” a nickel a gallon, but in days when gas cost just over a dollar, it was a sizable increase. And as you might guess, that nickel per gallon was a lot more costly to middle- and working-class Americans than it was to the rich.
As you can imagine, the Grand Ol’ Party would go absolutely nuts if President Obama did such a thing. But while Reagan did cut taxes during his first year in office, he then raised taxes over a dozen times over the next seven years. Which goes to show that “trickle down economics” don’t work like conservatives claim–and never did.
Read My Lips: I Lied
Trickle-down economics didn’t work so well for King Bush I, either. His now-infamous sound bite, “Read my lips: no new taxes,” turned out to be nothing but an election-year promise.
Less than two years after, Bush tried to run through a budget that would hike gas taxes even more. While that budget was defeated, the budget that won through increased taxes on things like tobacco (at the time, an attack on my middle-class and working-class budgets) and alcohol.
Bush even raised taxes on automobiles. This is one of the few consumer goods that is essential to nearly all families in most parts of the U.S. It’s also the biggest strain on any budget–often even more so than mortgage or rent.
As you might guess, the only people to whom it’s not a problem are the top 2-3% wealthiest Americans. To the rest of us, the automobile tax was just another punishment for not being rich
Capital Gains Taxes (and Non-Taxes)
Capital gains taxes are taxes on something most of us don’t have the luxury of worrying about: the profit made on things like stocks, bonds, and other investments. As you might guess, taxes on these profits are exceptionally low…even though those who make the profits to virtually nothing to earn them!
Aside from being low, they also don’t have to be paid in most cases. Taxes only have to be paid when the assets are sold for a profit (and there are often ways around that!). Compare this to your car, which you have to pay taxes on every year. You’ll also have to pay taxes if you make a profit on it, while the new owner will have to pay taxes as well!
Capital gains are just one example of the kind of tax breaks that Republicans constantly give the rich at the expensive of the rest of us. George W. Bush’s administration oversaw two of the biggest tax breaks for the wealthy in 2001, and again in 2003.
The results of these cuts came home to roost in 2008, and we’re still feeling them. The recession only exists for most of us–the rich are getting even richer. And if you haven’t noticed, their wealth is “trickling down” to us less than it has ever been.
Author: JJ B. Dunn
- Obama team: Keep tax cuts for middle class (content.usatoday.com)
- GOP to make rich tax cuts permanent, while doing away with tax cuts for middle class and poor (americablog.com)
- Political showdown is set on federal income taxes (newsok.com)
- Obama uses Bush tax cuts to bash GOP (content.usatoday.com)
- Battle lines drawn on Bush-era tax cuts – CBS News (cbsnews.com)