Payroll Tax Holiday, Income Inequality, GOP Hypocrisy, and the Fall of Rome

In 2009, the GOP supported a two month extension of the then current payroll tax holiday. They argued that it was important still because it would “effectively stimulate the economy.”

Of course that was before the GOP decided to reject any and all attempts to stimulate the economy, and then to do two things again and again: 1) lie about the obvious successes on keeping us from further collapse when the stimulus measures passed two years ago worked, including saving American automobile manufacturers; 2) at the same time always show up at events celebrating an economic success due to one of the stimulus package programs, in order to take credit for it on TV and before the cameras.

I know, who would have ever dreamed the GOP was capable of such hypocrisy?

So here we are ending the year 2011, a year characterized above all else by the growing recognition by the majority of Americans that they have been royally screwed by the growing accumulation of wealth in the hands of a tiny percentage (1% to be precise) of the population. This realization has been coupled with the absolute refusal of the GOP in Congress to allow the massive tax cuts from the Bush / Cheney administration to expire. Even though those tax cuts represent a huge percentage of the cause of the current deficit and debt. Simply by letting the tax rates on the super wealthy return to Clinton era levels, which were already historically low, doing nothing else would push the budget back towards reasonable balance in just ten years. Just think how solid the economy would be if we returned to the halcyon days when that Socialist Commie Dwight Eisenhower was president, and the top marginal rate on the rich was in the 91% and 92% or higher range!

But of course now we see the same GOP fighting tooth and nail to let the current payroll tax holiday expire. That tax cut saves the average middle class families about $934.00 a year. I mean, really, they would probably just spend it on food, or medicine, instead of private jets and schools for their kids.

But we can’t have this. Also, economists estimate that letting this payroll tax holiday on the middle class expire could negatively impact the still limping recovery, and possibly push us right back into a worse recession. Analysts Say Economic Recovery Might Suffer if Tax Break Is Allowed to Expire.

But then, the GOP has made it clear repeatedly that that is not what is important to them. They have made it crystal clear they are willing to destroy the economy and the middle class and the entire safety net, if it means the American people will blame it on Obama, and put the GOP back in power. That is all they care about. Anyone who believes otherwise is really just deluding themselves.

Grover Norquist, whose boots the GOP lick every chance they get, strolled through Congress a few weeks ago and told his flock of GOP members of Congress that white was black, and day was night, and letting this tax break on the middle class expire was not the same as letting the tax breaks on the super rich expire.

And the GOP listened, and so for this year’s Christmas present, they are working like furious little last minute elves in the house to leave a lump of coal in the stockings of the middle class.

The Senate passed a two month extension, packed up and left town, assuming that Boehner and the House were on board. Then the so called Tea Party members rebelled. And now Boehner is scrambling, demanding that Senate come back and compromise and negotiate.

I of course hope that the House does screw this up so badly that the tax holiday expires. Why? Because although an insane minority of Americans and members of the GOP think the American people will blame Obama for this, his approval rating just hit 50%, while Congress’ rating bottomed out at 9% approval rating recently.

I wonder why that is? So please, I encourage the GOP members of the House. Go ahead. Make our day. Build a bomb, sit on it, and flip the trigger. America is watching. And America is very, very eager to get to that voting both next Fall. And I do not think it is because of their love for the current incumbents in Congress.

Some recent historical studies suggest, in fact, that income inequality in the United States is now dramatically worse than it ever was in the Roman Empire.

In the United States, the top 1 percent controls roughly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. According to the study, which examined Roman ledgers, previous estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages, Rome’s top 1 percent controlled less than half that at the height of its economic power, as Tim De Chant notes at Per Square Mile:

Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control.

Of course, the millions of Romans at the bottom of the empire’s class structure — the conquered and enslaved, the poorest Romans, and the women who had little civic or economic empowerment — would probably disagree with the study’s conclusion. Still, it serves as yet another highlight of how large the income gap in the United States has become over the last three decades.

Study: Wealth Inequality In America May Be Worse Than It Was In Ancient Rome


Author: Ron