Well, I was, uh, initially very supportive of the President's proposed Buffet tax based on the premise that no millionaire or billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a check-out clerk at Alberton's supermarket or a small business owner who only earns $40,000 a year. Seemed fair to me. But, you know, then I started listening to the Republican response. And it's pretty heavy, and really gives you pause to think whether or not this is a good idea for our country. It's class warfare. It will hurt job creation. You know, these are arguments . . . that it won't raise money. These are arguments that are certainly very, very, very telling. In fact I have some direct quotes from one Representative. 'This is really the Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy. It will kill jobs, kill businesses, yes, even kill the higher tax revenues. These suicidal tax increasers hope to gain.'
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Another Representative [said], 'class warfare may win political campaigns, but it doesn't spur economic growth. Raising the capital gains tax may garner political capital, but it will not create any jobs.' And then finally of course, 'when are we going to get it? We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.DeFazio summed up:
Those are heavy criticisms. And what if those proved true? What a disaster it would be for America. Now these criticisms were all leveled in 1993 the last time we had a Democratic President propose that millionaires and billionaires should pay a fair rate of taxes in this country [my emphasis].And here we are again . . . Sound familiar?
He went on to say that the first criticism was from Rep. Christopher Cox, who he described as "total idiot." Cox ran the Securities Exchange Commission, "while Wall Street gambled our economy into the tank."
DeFazio also pointed out that the health of the economy was far better under Clinton, and unemployment was at 3.8%. And at that time, the country was asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.
And then he asked "What have [the Republicans] done to create a single job this year? Nothing! In fact, they have eliminated jobs. But that's because," he said sarcastically, "we want to give the 'job creators' a break. We don't want to tax them . . . all to protect tax cuts."
And now what? DeFazio reminds us that there has been "$5 trillion of tax cuts over the past decade! $5 trillion! Five-thousand billion dollars of tax cuts! Heavily oriented towards the 'job creators,' the millionaires and the billionaires. Where are the jobs?!?"
The jobs?!? The jobs are disappearing still and rapidly! That's right, folks. They are cutting them! DeFazio knows that. I know that. You know that. We know they are cutting jobs left and right. Look at Bank of America's recent announcement. They are going to lay off 30,000 people! Cisco Systems has gotten rid of over 12,000 employees, claiming that they are running more efficiently as a result! The list goes on . . .
As DeFazio continued to ask, and so do I, and so do you, "Where are the jobs?!? Where are they?!?"
He concluded: "It doesn't work. First, it was eight years of Bush tax cuts, and then two years of Bush-Obama tax cuts, and now we had President Obama's proposed further tax cuts. Tax cuts don't create jobs."
Meanwhile hedge fund managers on Wall Street, DeFazio asserted, enjoy less taxes on the billions of dollars they make on speculation than the small business owner or the Army Captain who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq.
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That's why we need the Buffet Tax. That's why Congress must pass the American Jobs Act.
And here's a critical nugget about student loan debt and financial aid. DeFazio said:
[With the Buffett Tax], we can create jobs, stabilize the economy, get down the deficit, and continue to fund critical programs . . . that ironically, that was in the grand deal . . . that was adopted back here a month ago - that I voted against - there was only one specified cut. One cut specified in that bill. Graduate student financial aid. That's because at the country club they don't meet anybody who can't put their kids through medical school. We need doctors. We need other professionals. We need to help the next generation succeed. Education, infrastructure investment, and we need money to pay for it!Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!