The GOP’s Bizarre, Disturbing Passion for Raising Taxes on the Poor
Let’s hope the Republican Party is bought and paid for by the rich, because the other explanation for its obsession with raising taxes at the bottom is far more disturbing
Two explanations jump to mind. The first is that the modern Republican Party is funded by the very rich. Since the 1970s, electoral politics has gotten much more expensive (in real terms). As political scientist Thomas Ferguson and others have argued, modern political parties have adapted by granting leadership positions to those members best able to bring in large contributions—a strategy pioneered by Newt Gingrich but since slavishly imitated by the Democrats.
The result is that the parties’ platforms now reflect the wishes of their major funders, not their median voters. This is why Republican presidential candidates spent the primary season competing to offer the most generous tax breaks to the rich—while Paul Ryan’s budget slashes Medicare, a program supported by the Tea Party rank and file. For the rich people who call the shots, it’s simply in their interest to lower taxes on the rich and raise them on the poor. End of story.
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”). In this warped moral universe, it isn’t enough that someone with a gross income of $10 million takes home $8.1 million while someone with a gross income of $20,000 takes home $19,000.* That’s called “punishing success,” so we should really increase taxes on the poor person so we can “reward success” by letting the rich person take home even more. 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.
Something else of note (pointed out in the article) is that the whole “47% of Americans don’t pay taxes” line that republicans like to use is pure bullshit.
It’s a myth. If you include payroll taxes, it turns out that only 18 percent of households pay no direct federal taxes.
It’s also worth noting that among those, The majority of people who don’t pay either income or payroll taxes are the elderly and that’s because Social Security benefits aren’t taxable for most beneficiaries and many of the elderly no longer work.
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- zenodotus5 said: Wasn’t there also a graph showing there are tens of thousands of people with incomes over $200,000 who don’t pay income tax?
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