According to an article in the New York Times, Senate Republicans are attempting to filibuster debate of the so-called “Buffet Rule.” The Senate fell nine votes short of the 60 necessary to stop the filibuster.
The Buffet Rule was hatched as a way to make the tax code more based on billionaire Warren Buffet’s lament that he gets taxed at a lower effective rate than his secretary. He believes, as many Senate Democrats do, that millionaires and billionaires should have to pay 30% of their income in taxes, whether it be on capital gains or on their generous salaries.
Republicans are having a hard time stomaching this because it is their belief that no one’s taxes should be raised in this time of economic turbulence. They are continuing to refuse to raise taxes on “job creators.” To top it all off, Senate Republicans are accusing the Democrats of wishing to raise taxes to fuel their own governmental spending desires.
House Republicans will vote on a bill to cut taxes for businesses with less than 500 employees by 20 percent, which will cost the Treasury $46 billion; $1 billion less than the amount of money passing the Buffet Rule into law would raise. However, extending Bush era tax cuts is expected to cost the treasury another $160 billion over the next ten years.
If any of these Republicans were in my Economics or Government classes, they most certainly would fail the final exam.
Not everyone who makes over $1 million per year has created a business. Some are simply investors or speculators who made a few right calls and now enjoy a large capital gains income, taxed at a measly 15%.
Those who have created a business will not see tax cuts as an incentive to put up the help wanted signs. Most likely they will pocket the extra cash and perhaps invest more money in finding ways to make production more efficient (i.e. do the same amount of work with less workers).
The only thing that will cause business owners to want to hire more people is if there is a greater demand for whatever it is they are selling. If they cannot produce enough to meet public demand, they will hire more people to meet the demand lest the competition do so and force them out of business. (Economics 101)
The best and most effective way to increase the demand for products is to put money into the hands of those who wish to spend it (the 99%). There is no way that the spending habits of the 1% could ever equal the spending power of the 99% in any economy.
I have already suggested a reboot of the Works Progress Administration which would offer jobs to people fixing our roads, repaing city water pipes, electric grids, and the rest of our crumbling infrastructure. The money for this could come from slashing the military budget by 10%. Yes, our veterans would certainly be eligible to take these new WPA jobs if they were created.
Yet, instead of offering practical, long-term solutions as the Democrats have, Senate Republicans instead choose to stall the legislative progress on a bill that might also be used to fund a WPA reboot, or pay off some of our $15 trillion debt. They won’t even entertain the idea of allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire, despite the additional revenue that could be experienced for the government.
This is where Senate Republicans also fail the Government final exam. Nowhere in the Constitution is there even a hint of a provision for a filibuster. Even if it could be justified by the Necessary and Proper Clause, the Constitution provides that a simple majority in Senate should be considered sufficient to carry out any legislative process, including breaking a filibuster.
However, it is obviouos that none of our current representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, have read the Constitution recently or are even remotely familiar with how it is to be applied to the operation of our Federal Government.
Instead of trying to block debate, Senate Republicans should be open to debate. They should be willing to hear the arguments of the opposing side, and present arguments of their own to the contrary. Then, both sides should try and hammer out a compromise that is agreeable t0 both sides.
At the very least, Senate Republicans should acknowledge that continually cutting taxes will not create jobs, only more wealth for the 1%. They should realize that government must be paid for, and is paid for through taxes. There are only so many government programs that can be cut before the government ceases to exist.