The Failure Of Clarity in the Tax-Cut Extension Debate

By Michael S. Pappas

We in Flyover Country are getting pretty sick and tired of sound-bite media. This goes for the right as well as the left. We are not stupid. We can tell the difference between one-size-fits-all and going to the big-and-tall shop. We also like complete information, not just by mentioning important points once but by having important points given the same weight as all points in the debate. To date every news outlet, including our favorite, Fox News, has failed us.

The issue in the tax-cut extension debate is being framed by the left. It is class warfare, and it picks on a number, here $250,000, gives it a moniker, here “rich”, and starts pounding away. The right finds itself back on its heels, defending the extension as if it was being pushed into timidity and having to apologize for taking the stand that the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended without change. For God’s sake, people, grow some onions, tell the whole story, attack the liberal strongholds, which hold the example you need to make your point, and win some more voters. What’s that, you don’t understand how? Aw, for Pete’s sake, if we in Flyover Country have to tell you how to do it again, so be it. Just don’t say that we didn’t tell you, because we now have.

The real issues here are creating jobs, being fair to all and not thwarting growth. Period. This is not a class warfare issue, although many would recognize it as such. So, we begin the lesson. Listen real close.

There are two types of people in this country, those creating jobs and those working those jobs. There is no slight intended here toward those working the jobs; it’s more that some people are wired to be able to identify a market opportunity and need – if the price is right – others to execute the tasks that fill the market need. Human nature being what it is, these people, as creators of jobs, want to be compensated more than those they hire to do the work, and that is fair!. After all, as the market changes, the risks associated with the created company’s continuing success dictate that these creators must steer their ships through business waters so that they can continue not only being successful, but continue employing others to do the work. This is risk, and risk should by right carry with it some attendant rewards. Otherwise, why should they bother? More taxes makes the price not right! With me so far?

To put an arbitrary number like $250,000 on success misses the point in two ways (careful, media, I’m going to ask you to think). One, if the incentive to creating jobs is hindered, fewer jobs will be created. Those creating the jobs will see the money that could go toward hiring extra workers going to taxes instead. They will hunker down, protect their own nest, and operate with fewer employees. They will be forced to get a bit selfish. And in the final analysis, who can blame them?

Two, $250,000 means different opportunities to people in different parts of the country. As anyone who has spent a few days in the biggest cities of this country can attest, everything costs more, and is already taxed more. And here, sports fans, is where great opportunity lies for the right to attack the left at its core, and pound a message of discrimination – yes, discrimination, down the left’s throat continuously for the next two years.

If we’re talking the biggest cities, we’re talking about the more liberal places in the country. This is why on election night you see a sea of red representing counties Republicans win and small pockets of blue around Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the numbers the blue and red represent are basically the same. In those cities it is entirely plausible for a school teacher and a factory worker to make it to the $250,000 threshold the left labels as the “rich”. Are they rich, or are they trying to make ends meet in the high-cost area in which they live? There is a great opportunity here for the right to mercilessly inundate these people with the obvious discrimination foisted on them by the liberal lawmakers who masquerade as their protectors. The dirty little secret here is that the left isn’t protecting anyone with a job. It’s ideological. If the left had its way everyone would earn in a narrow band of earnings levels, as their hearts bleed.

What would follow is a gradual lowering of the “rich” threshold. We’ve already seen Mr. Obama do this in his speeches before and after the ’08 election, under the guise of “well, the numbers just won’t work”. The numbers won’t work because of profligate spending; this is a socialization of America that has gone on for about half a century now, and left unchecked will continue right down to our ruin. Kids getting out of college start at $50,000 and higher in many areas – is it only a matter of time under this ploy when are they going to be labeled “rich”?

There is no allowance in the liberal lexicon for those trying to be comfortable, have a spare buck or two and work to improve themselves. There’s only the “rich”, and those they label as not so. This is folly. In a land where a pastrami sandwich can go for $6.00 in Manhattan, Kansas, and for $16.00 in midtown Manhattan, New York, such an arbitrary threshold makes no sense. And we’re not even talking about housing or other costs, which can be more of a differential than a lousy hunk of meat between two pieces of rye.

So, to create some space for the specious liberal argument, some lawmakers have bantered about the $1 million threshold. They hope this can give them some traction as they try to maintain faithfulness to their ideology, but now it really does get worse. The higher up the income level one goes, the more that person has the ability to grow his/her business. Read: add more jobs. If lawmakers really believe that people with million-dollar incomes are “rich”, they’re nuts. People at this income level are just a little bit further protected from catastrophe, that’s all. And some of them aren’t even that. True, the standard of living of million-dollar earners is higher, but the propensity to grow what got them there must not be overlooked. The libs don’t understand that for these people to have this income potential in the first place, they must have a lot on the ball. They are smarter than lawmakers; they will find ways to protect themselves at others’ expense if pushed, and more taxes is the biggest push they could get. As has been stated before from Flyover Country, for every law that 535 lawmakers conjure up, there are 535,000 people who are smarter and more innovative trying to find ways around the restrictions that law creates.

The issue is so very much ideological that the time has come for this dynamic to become a permanent part of the discussion. Consider that only a totalitarian state will prevent people from using their God-given intelligence to better themselves. Consider that the liberal position most definitely discriminates against the very people liberals represent in their urban strongholds. And consider that there is an ideological battle to be won here on the basis of this discrimination, jobs and growth. Period.

About GShep


  1. Patrick Hart says

    No one should get tax cuts while we need to reduce spending and increase revenue, George, least of all Republicans making over $250K or $1 million per year. You actually argue that letting them off the hook from their tax burden creates jobs? That is an extremely naive position, George; most experts agree this is the lest efficient way to boost the economy. You say there are two kinds of people. You may not know this, but there are two kinds of Republicans. The wealthy ones and the far larger group: Their army. That latter group wants to be rich someday so they argue on behalf of their generals…who don’t care about them.

    • Patrick is right. If the Bush tax cuts can create jobs, why are we woefully short of jobs? Actually, the economics of the Clinton administration offers a more effective model for example. We’re doing the opposite of what has worked int he past. That’s because both parties love their money. And their “army” among the middle-class and working poor love their simplistic partisanship. That, in many cases more so than their confessed religion, gives them the drive for their daily struggle.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Luke, as to your question about tax cuts: what was the unemployment rate when Bush was president? What is it now. (I know, I know, Bush is to blame because Pelosi lost her job.) Let us take this a step further: if the Bush tax cuts could not/did not/cannot produce full employment, then why did Obama drag Clinton in to to implore the Dems to extend them for another two years. (I will leave aside all comment on the delicious irony of two Dem presidents going to the mattresses for the “hated” Bush tax cuts.)

  2. I replied on your website, “Michael”.

  3. George:

    First, congratulations on your new blogsite. Lookin’ good.

    Second: “There are two types of people in this country, those creating jobs and those working those jobs”. You forgot about the other two: the leaches and the radicals that feed them.

    Third: Patrick obviously knows nothing about economics. The tax rate extention may not create jobs (what we need is a tax cut) but it will keep us from losing jobs that a tax hike is sure to do. And, by the way, there are also two kinds of Democrats: the ones that have their right hand in my pocket and the ones that have their left hand in my pocket. I have a better chance of not getting robbed in the New York subway.