04.06.09

Why do Republican voters support tax cuts for the wealthy?

Posted in Fiscal responsibility, Taxes at 11:49 am by angela

So the question came up in Yahoo Answers, and I answered it. It was picked as a “best answer” by voters, and I decided to share it with you, as it is an interesting issue why Republican voters keep falling in line to vote against their own interests.

They have fallen for what I would call The Great Republican Lie of Income Redistribution”, which is, “Rich people work hard for their money, and people who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.” This lie is based on false premises and leads people to internally inconsistent conclusions. Here are the arguments, as you can read in the thread.

1. “Rich people work hard for their money”

Implied: How hard a person works can be shown by their income, so a person who makes $20,000 a year is working 2x as hard as someone who is making $10,000 a year, and the person making $10 million a year is working 1000x as hard.

False conclusion that the listener is supposed to draw: “People who don’t make much money aren’t actually working hard and are lazy, but I work hard for my money, too, so I am like a rich person.”

Truth rating: False. Most rich people do not work any harder for their money than anyone who works a job and does it well. The hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous work out there is some of the worst-paying.

Not only that, but most rich people started higher on the ladder than poor people. They had someone to pay for their education at a pricey school where students hobnob with the wealthy and well-connected, and their connections that enabled them to get a job that a person born poor could never hope for his children to achieve, even if he borrowed enough money to pay for their college. Or like many rich people, they were already born rich.

2. “People who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.”

False conclusion: We should lower taxes for people like the rich who work hard. I work hard, so therefore I will get a tax cut, too.

Inconvenient fact: Historically, Republican “tax cuts” have resulted in huge tax cuts to the wealthy and much smaller if any tax cuts to the rest.

Hidden inconvenient fact #1: Lowering taxes disproportionally for one group of people means increasing the tax burden for all other groups. During the past generation the tax burden in real dollars on the working poor and middle class has risen while their incomes have fallen.

False conclusion: We can just lower taxes, and nothing will be affected, or the government will cut programs to those who don’t deserve it. (Remember, we have defined “undeserving” above as “not making as much money as a rich person”.).

Fact: Money invested in speculation rather than production of goods and services does not result in the creation of new wealth, but rather in a bubble effect.

Fact: Government policy over the past generation has encouraged the abandonment of our manufacturing base and funneling of money into high-risk investments and fraud schemes based only on the ability of the designers to get away with what any other citizen would be charged with a crime for doing.

Fact: Following this path has brought the country to its knees. Continuing to do more of the same will destroy us.

Conclusion: The Republican establishment has been manipulating their voters to vote against their own self-interest for a generation. Without not only the support of these voters but their complicity in attacking their fellow workers, government would have long ago had to answer for their crimes.