Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Fox News Sunday today. Chris Wallace asked both about extending the current tax rates. Sen. McCaskill indicated the Senate Democratic position was shifting from the original proposal — raise tax rates on joint taxpayers earning $250,000 or more — to raising tax rates on joint taxpayers earning $1 million or more.
To drive home the point, she managed to include “millionaire” as a quasi-epithet four times in her first 99 words.
WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, would you support a temporary extension for several years of the Bush tax cuts both for the middle class and for those making more than $250,000 a year?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think we should draw the line in the sand for millionaires. Honestly, with all the talk and the righteous indignation about the deficit, are we really going to hold up tax cuts for all of America just for the millionaires? And I think that’s where we should draw the line.
Our deficit is serious. Anybody who believes that that small tax differential for millionaires is going to make a big difference on job creation hasn’t been paying attention. There’s many things we can do that’s much more stimulative to the economy than taking care of the millionaires.
Class warfare proved such an effective political message in the 2010 campaigns, let’s redouble the rhetoric!
The Wall Street Journal on Saturday published a timely letter from Louis B. Mendelsohn reacting to an op-ed on tax rates by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, and Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders, “Tax Hikes and the Small Business Job Machine.”
In his letter, “Create Jobs? I Know How It’s Done,” Mendelsohn relates how he built his software development company founded in 1979 into a multi-million-dollar operation with more than 50 highly compensated employees and customers in more than 125 countries. Indeed, Mendelsohn is President and CEO of Market Technologies, renowned as a pioneer in the application of personal computers and trading software to the global financial markets. He observes:
Contrary to the class warfare portrayal that the “millionaires and billionaires” comprising the top 2% of income earners would not create more jobs if their current marginal tax rates are extended, the opposite is true. Portrayal of the wealthy as selfish opportunists while characterizing small business owners/job creators as “the backbone of our economy” is a fallacious. The wealthy are, overwhelmingly, the job creators in our economy.
Fostering job creation through tax incentives (such as the R&D credit) and lower marginal tax rates is not trickle-down economics; it is Economics 101.
If the Obama administration and Democrats want to demonstrate they are not tone deaf to the concerns of the middle class about jobs, then they should agree to extend all current individual tax rates, if not permanently then at least through the 2012 election. To do otherwise risks the untenable prospect of extended joblessness for millions for the foreseeable future with the added danger that unacceptably high structural unemployment will become the new normal and threaten the stability of both our economy and our societal order.
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