It looks like the so-called “Bush tax cuts” are going to survive for at least two more years, mainly because of continuing rhetoric from Republican politicians who keep telling us that increasing taxes, especially on the wealthy, during a recession will “kill jobs.” I have my doubts that this is the silver bullet when it comes to ecomonic recovery and especially the cure for chronic unemployment.
It was CBS newsman Harry Smith, of the Early Show, during his radio commentary today who got me thinking about this. Smith said that the wealthy, the “rich,” who were the biggest beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts in the first place, should be rushing to get in line to create jobs and stimulate the economy because they are going to save billions of dollars they would have had to pay in taxes. They’ve been waiting to spend their money and create new jobs, we are told, because they didn’t know whether they would be able to afford to take on the cost of new employees if their tax liability was going to increase. So, now that it appears their tax cuts will remain in place for at least two more years, Harry says it is time for them to start doing their part to stimulate the economy by creating private sector jobs.
Well, what are they waiting for?
If this all seems a bit confusing, don’t worry. It is. There’s been a lot of criticism, in the form of political rhetoric but still criticism, of the corporate and bank bailouts. The Republicans actually pulled off the first one, before Bush left office. Obama initiated the second one. Where did this money go? It went to these very same “wealthy” Americans in the corporate world who are the biggest beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts. Some called it “corporate welfare,” while others called it a “bailout.” It was not necessarily “government spending” in that the principle is to be paid back with interest, but the critics see it that way. Funny, the tax cuts are “government spending” in that there is a high cost, almost a trillion dollars, involved in extending them for two years, but you won’t hear that kind of rhetoric from those who support them.
No one seems to be asking the question that is the most obvious one related to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They were voted through before the recession began, and they have been in effect all through the recession, yet they did not prevent the worst economic recession and job loss since the great depression. At least the much-criticized economic stimulus package kept unemployment from soaring upward as high as 15 to 17 percent according to most estimates, even though it didn’t make much of a dent in the existing figures. For all the talk, the tax cuts have been completely ineffective in doing anything except assisting in the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the pockets of the wealthiest 5% of Americans.
So, the tax cuts appear to be on the books for a couple more years. The monkey is now on the back of the wealthy. They need to go get in line to hire new workers, stimulate the economy and solve the unemployment problem. A lot of Americans really want to work. Give them a job and see what they can do for you.