Roy Blunt’s so-called jobs plan makes it clear that he’s going to go to the wall to defend the Bush tax giveaways for his rich friends – even though he hasn’t got the chutzpah to do it upfront, but instead tries to use the discredited claim that it will create jobs. As for Robin Carnahan, we all know that she’s opted for strategic camouflage, trying to blend into Missouri’s Republican woodwork when it comes to this question.
Arguments against the tax giveaways seem to fall just short of cutting through the GOP flim-flam in spite of the fact that it is clear that extending tax cuts for the wealthy will not only fail to create jobs, but will feed the dreaded deficit. You do remember the deficit, don’t you – the club that Republicans and a few neutered Democrats have been using to beat back initiatives, like the currently languishing small business aid package, that might actually create jobs?
Given this environment, a little perspective on the costs of extending tax cuts for the richest 2% of the population might be apropos. According to Kathy Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water in their summary of the 2010 Report of the Social Security Trustees:
The 75-year Social Security shortfall is about the same size as the cost, over that period, of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans (those with incomes above $250,000 a year). Members of Congress cannot simultaneously claim that the tax cuts for people at the top are affordable while the Social Security shortfall constitutes a dire fiscal threat.
If you like visual props, this graph demonstrates the relationship:
Shouldn’t somebody ask our senatorial candidates whether the 315,000 families with a minimum yearly income of a million dollars are more deserving than millions of Americans who can look forward to a secure old age thanks to Social Security?
As much as I would like to see both Blunt and Carnahan cornered and made to answer just that question, with no retreat into stale, dishonest talking points allowed, I’m not taking odds that such a thing will ever happen. Consequently we’ll just have to guess where they would stand, and when we do so, we should remember these facts:
–When it comes down to floor votes, Blunt has always been firm that the top 2% of Americans, the richest of the rich, shouldn’t be expected to pay their way like the rest of us do. That’s why he get’s a 0% ranking from Citizens for Tax Justice.
–Carnahan … well, she has indicated that maybe she doesn’t think the Bush tax giveaways for the wealthy should be made permanent – and, hey, we’re Democrats after all. In Missouri it seems we have to take what little we can get.
Addendum:Some thoughts from Ezra Klein on the intra-pundit controversy generated by the CBPP contention that the tax giveaways equal the projected social security shortfall.
*2nd paragraph edited slightly for clarity.