So, what do you think about the Presidents State Of The Union speech last night? All of the pundits on both the left and the right have their take on what was said. But, the real important people who need to digest what was said is the American People. I can only give you my view of it, you will have to decide for yourself what you think.
There were some very interesting items he brought up. This is the first time I really believe that the President threw down the gauntlet towards the Republicans. Whether or not you liked his ideas, at least he laid out a plan to move the country forward. For the last six years, the Republicans have done nothing. Our economy has grown in spite of the Republicans not because of them.
They have been proven wrong time and again. They say that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. Yet in areas that did raise the minimum wage, jobs are growing faster than next door where it wasn’t raised. They said the ACA would cause health care costs to skyrocket. Yet, the cost of health care has gone up at its lowest rate ever. They claimed that allowing same-sex marriage would “destroy traditional” marriage. It hasn’t.
So, now that our economy is getting better, the President offered some ideas that would actually “help” the middle-class. Things like increasing the EITC, tax credits for child care, and free Community College education. Not being a Republican, he actually laid out a plan to “pay” for his middle-class tax cuts. But, we all knew what the Republican response would be to that plan since it calls for raising the capital gains tax and closing some inheritance loopholes.
According to the Republicans and their propaganda machine, the speech was nothing more than the “redistribution of wealth.” After the speech I heard a Republican Representative from Illinois say something I have never heard a Republican say. He said that the idea to raise capital gains taxes in order to pay for tax breaks for the middle-class was “redistribution of wealth.” When was the last time you heard a Republican say tax cuts were “redistribution of wealth?”
To be honest, he is such an important figure I cannot remember his name. But, when the President said “if you really believe you can work full-time and raise a family on less than $15,000 per year, try it.” This gentleman tweeted, “it is just as hard raising a family at 10.10 per hour”. See he is against having a minimum wage at all. He also claimed in the interview, that those people who are making minimum wage are teens who are getting their first job. Of course, statistics prove him wrong, but what is a lie between friends.
This is at the real heart of the matter on the tax proposals the President is making. If taxes are cut for the top 1%, especially the top 0.1%, it is a good thing for America and it is being fair. If taxes are cut for the other 99% paid for by capital gains taxes, it is “redistribution of wealth.” I think that more than anything else the Republicans have said over the years shows exactly what their economic plan is all about.
Here is something else that the right doesn’t want to talk about. That 28% capital gains tax rate the President wants, is exactly the same capital gains tax rate under the sainted Ronald Reagan. The rest of the money comes from closing loopholes in inheritance taxes. See, rich people leave their portfolios to their children. The children then use a loophole to not pay any taxes on those portfolios that they did nothing to earn.
The biggest reason that inheritance taxes were invented in this country was to make sure that America did not gain an aristocracy class. It was determined that the “old money” of England was not good for society and that it would not happen here. Problem is that Republicans believe they are the “old money” in America and America’s aristocracy. Therefore, they shouldn’t have to pay any taxes on money they inherit.
The Republicans seem to think that we can lower tax rates across the board and not have to pay for it. They like their voodoo budget tricks to show they are balancing the budget. But, under Ronald Reagan, the budget deficit grew. Under Bill Clinton, the budget was balanced. Then, under George W. Bush, the budget deficit grew exponentially and the economy collapsed. As a result of two unpaid wars and the collapse of the economy, our deficit grew to about 18 Trillion Dollars. All of this from a budget that was a surplus when Bush took office.
Funny thing, both Reagan and Bush gave massive tax cuts to the rich and did not pay for them. They may not like it, but at least the President said how he would pay for his middle-class tax cuts. But, instead of looking at the proposal and working out a compromise, Mitch McConnell said it is “just another tax and spend plan” that the President has been proposing all along.
Look, we all know that “redistribution of wealth” has been going on for the last 40 years, at least. The problem is that this redistribution of wealth has been going to the wealthiest people, not the working class people. 95% of all the wealth in this latest recovery has gone to the top 1% earners while the working-class pay has gone down.
The Republicans have brought up the cry that the middle-class is still struggling due to wage stagnation. I agree. But, whose fault is that? Is it the worker’s fault? No, it is the wealthy who own companies and pay out wages who is at fault. While they line their pockets without paying taxes on the money, the rest of us are forced to struggle.
While the wealthiest get richer, Republicans across the nation have voted to take away the workers right to unionize. They have made it impossible for workers to negotiate pay raises through union representation. They have basically rigged the system against the 99 percent of the people they are supposed to represent!
That is why the Republicans are against any tax hikes. They want the 99 percent to continue to redistribute their money to the top 1% earners. They want the 99 percent to struggle just to make ends meet so the rich can get richer. You cannot keep taking money out of the Treasury and expect to “balance the budget” as Republicans like to say. Without revenue, the budget cannot be balanced.
As you can see, it isn’t necessarily what the President said in his speech last night. It is what Republicans are saying in response. These past Republican plans were “exceptional” ideas but are now socialist plans. And, yes, the President’s plans are taken straight out of Republican ideas. David Camp, a Republican was the first to suggest taxing financial institution stock transactions. Ronald Reagan believed that 28% was a “fair” tax rate on capital gains.
While they wail against the President’s speech last night, they are mute about their plans. We are still waiting for the Republicans to publicly state their economic agenda to ensure the middle-class gets pay raises. They keep telling us they want to “repeal and replace Obamacare” but refuse to tell us what their plan to replace it is. They keep saying they want a ‘fair flat tax plan” yet keep trotting out a plan that will save tens of thousands of dollars for the top 1%, and raise taxes for the 99%.
The next two years will be interesting at best. They will be dangerous at worst. The only thing we have to protect us from the continuing Republican’s radical wealth redistribution to the top 1% is the President’s veto pen. Hopefully the 99% will wake up during these two years. Otherwise, the future will be very bleak.