Start Saying: That is Not What Drives Policy
One of the Republican talking points is that the policy of Democrats to increase taxes on the very wealthy to pay for government programs and to reduce the deficit is the result of just pure envy on the part of people. Their reasoning goes that the rest of us envy the very wealthy and as a result pursue policies which will “punish” them for their wealth. Those who support higher taxes on the wealthy deny this.
Ok, the first thing that needs to be done here is to admit that yes, the rest of us do envy the rich. Could anyone ever honestly deny that he or she would not like to have Mitt Romney’s income? On an after tax basis Mr. Romney has $300,000 to $400,000 of disposable income a week! In fact, one worries about Mr. Romney, about how he can find ways to spend that much money. Anyone who says they do not envy the wealth and income of Mitt Romney is just not telling the truth.
But it needs to be pointed out that this envy is not what is driving policy. What is driving policy is basic economics. In order to reduce the deficit and pay for needed government programs taxes must be raised. And given the current level of taxation, the least destructive tax increases are those levied on the very wealthy. Lower taxes for the wealthy is not what creates jobs, jobs are created by investment that takes place in response to increases in demand for goods and services. That increase can only come from aggressive fiscal policy.
So yes Mr. Romney, it is true, we all envy your financial situation. And we would all like at least the opportunity to achieve your financial situation. And if you have to have a little bit less than $300,000 a week to spend in order to provide education, health care, economic and national security and other government services for people who cannot afford these things on their own, well, we think you ought to understand where we are coming from.
Of course, if Mr. Romney were to take his $250 million of net worth and invest it in a business that hired a bunch of people, and if Mr. Romney were willing to take the risk that he could lose all of his money everyone might be willing to have a different take on this issue. But that is not what Mr. Romney is doing, is he, unless he is somehow planning massive job creation in the
Cayman Islands which is where a bunch of his money resides.