After a discussion with a (Republican) friend of mine, about “whether Republicans care about the American economy more so than Democrats” (although I should remind you, I’m not a Dem, just a devil’s advocate), I received an e-mail, enclosed with the New York Times article “Senate Votes to Extend Investor Tax Cuts,” allegedly as an illustration of exactly how the GOP “cares” not only for the American economy but (and this is the kicker) the average American worker. Apparently, Republican politicians/legislators demonstrate this concern by way of their economic and fiscal policies – policies that “take from the poor and give to the rich,” according to my friend, a recent Cal Poly grad.
What my friend was describing, and what Senate Republicans were in the process of passing into tax law, is the “trickle-down effect” of the “Reaganomics” of the 1980’s – a political era about which most Republicans still reminisce. In theory, trickle-down economics works something like this: The government gives tax breaks to businesses and wealthy individuals, who in turn spend or invest those tax savings – pumping money back into the economy – which benefits all of society (since economic goods and services are always distributed and diffused equally throughout society, duh.) Thus, poor people benefit when they are left to suckle from the tax savings swollen plutocratic teat. And we wonder why Republicans have such sensitive economic nipples?
According the New York Times, ” – (Democrats) have continuously complained that the tax cuts – give tax relief only to the wealthiest. Several (Democrats) cited a recent study that found the average tax savings of $2.00 among those earning $10,000 to $20,000 a year (a bracket in which many college students fall into), while the average savings for thoase earning more than $1 million would be $42,000.”
I asked my friend how he, as someone with a business degree, could agree with the idea that in a time of economic crisis (record trade deficits, record debt, operating on a record high budget, i.e. expenditures due to Iraq, Katrina and Dick Cheney’s 24-hour medical detail) that it is in the best interest of the average American worker to REDUCE our income (i.e. tax receipts)? When viewed from an economic or business “sense,” such policies make none.
Why then, do Bush and Congressional Republicans support such nonsensical economic policy?
Sadly, while such policy makes little economic sense, it makes a great deal of political sense, at least to Republicans who have little of either, much less any common sense.
Voters don’t trust Bush and the GOP (Bush Jr. just tied his father’s lowest rating of 31 percent – like father like son, eh?). Nosebleed gas prices are pissing people off. Iraq is festering while Iran is arming. Republican “leaders,” elected and appointed alike from the White House, Congress and CIA, are dropping like flies, while post Sept. 11 promises of “security” still go unfulfilled (thanks, Mexico).
Now, moderate Republicans and centrist independent voters who hesitated to vote for Bush and/or other Republicans in 2004, equivocate no longer. With mid-term elections on the horizon, those few Republicans who haven’t been caught lining their own pant pockets with taxpayer’s money are busy crapping their pants, watching their likelihood for re-election plummet with poll numbers.
These new tax cuts are purely political, designed to bolster the bank accounts of Republican elites, not average American citizens. Sensing that the American people are wising up to the deception and corruption, Republican legislators are banking on old-school tactics, hoping that greed is still the common denominator among Republican circles. Sadly, such tactics will probably work.
Jack Ingram is a political science senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.