Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Great Right-Wing Revenue Switcheroo...continued

(Trickle-down economics, brought to you by the political right.)

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled "Ten Ways The Political Right Is Vacuuming Money Out Of Your Wallet With Their Trickle-Down Economics. Welcome To 'The Great Right-Wing Revenue Switcheroo.'"

Since then, we've seen news stories highlighting how governors and legislators in Ohio, Maine, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, and other right-wing led states are planning to (or already have) cut taxes on the wealthy while raising them on the middle-class and poor.

Even Democrat-led states have been forced to adopt or maintain tax systems that put a disproportionate burden on the middle-class & poor. This is because Republicans have fought hard to keep taxes on the wealthy historically low at the federal level, which has resulted in a federal government less willing & able to assist the states. Thus, the states have had to address this lack of assistance by placing a higher revenue burden on the non-wealthy, through a variety of increased taxes, tolls, fees, and fines.

(WPA workers building a new bridge in Harford County, Maryland, 1936. During the New Deal, the federal government gave massive assistance to the states for infrastructure projects. Today, the burden is more likely to be placed on the middle-class & poor--at the state & local level--through increases in sales taxes, property taxes, fuel taxes, "sin" taxes, bridge tolls, DMV fees, water rates, and so on. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)

In my previous blog post about this issue, I mentioned how the middle-class & poor are often a captive population because they are tied to their job locations. Thus, state policymakers target this captive population for revenue increases. Well, sure enough, in explaining his desire to place more of a revenue burden on the middle-class & poor, Maine's Governor Paul LePage said: "When you’re a millionaire in Maine, you leave. I’m trying to keep them here." The end game of this philosophy (as well as other philosophies associated with trickle-down economics), it seems, is to grant tax immunity to the wealthy (after all, we can't tax our holy "Job Creators," right?) and place the entire revenue burden on the non-wealthy.

But the craziest thing about this entire situation is that tens of millions of American voters continue to vote for Republicans who, in turn, keep increasing the revenue burden on those very same tens of millions of voters (!)--either directly with a tax increase, or indirectly by cutting taxes for millionaires & billionaires and creating a budget gap that has to be plugged with some sort of revenue stream that inevitably hits the middle-class & poor with greater ferocity. What makes me really mad, however, is that these increased taxes, tolls, fees, and fines hit me too...even though I didn't vote for the trickle-down tricksters. In other words, conservative voters are taking me for a ride on their crazy train, against my will, and vacuuming money out of my wallet...

...and the name of this crazy train is "The Great Right-Wing Revenue Switcheroo."

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