I often hear the phrase uttered by the talking heads on TV, generally businessmen, that you shouldn’t tax the rich or corporations because they are the “job creators.”
What that essentially implies is that everyone depends on the generous rich who grace us with their jobs.
Aren’t they nice?
If everyone stopped buying products from Wal-Mart tomorrow, would the Waltons still employ its nearly two million employees out of philanthropy?
The answer is no. Those employees provide a service that allows the company to make money, but if there is no demand for the company’s products, there will be no demand for the employees’ services.
It’s not the supposed “benevolent rich” that create jobs, but the demand for products and services that do.
In a sense, everyone is a job creator.
Every time you buy a Big Mac or even a pack of gum, you create demand for a product, which allows someone to be employed to meet that demand.
The most common argument against raising taxes on corporations or the rich, is that they simply pass it on to everyone else in the form of higher prices.
In effect, it’s a tax on everyone else.
Suppose this is true.
Wouldn’t a shift of the tax burden to the middle and working class simply amount to a tax on businesses in the form of higher wages or less demand for their products?
The economy is not a zero sum game.
If the intent of trickle down economics was to cause a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top one percent, they succeeded.
The top 400 families in America now control more wealth than the bottom 155 million Americans.
Just think about that for a second. Don’t you just feel the wealth trickling down?
Meanwhile, there is a record number of Americans in poverty.
A total of 43.6 million, or one in seven, Americans live below the poverty line.
It takes real gall, in this era of unprecedented wealth accumulation by so very few, to claim your taxes are too high.
Especially since taxes are at historical lows.
Just take a look at Florida Governor Rick Scott, who spent $73 million of his own money in a vanity run for governor.
He whines about how taxes are so high, but he pays much less in taxes as a share of his income than the average Floridian.
Rick Scott earned $24.8 million between 2007 and 2009 and paid just 14 percent of it in income taxes, which is well below the 35 percent bracket he falls into.
State and municipal taxes do not make much of a difference, as Florida is the second most regressive in terms of taxes in the country.
This means that Rick Scott pays less as a percentage of his income in taxes to Florida than you or I do.
Despite this he wants to cut taxes further. Apparently, he is still paying too much.
The only explanation for this is the sheer greed. They would rather keep their obscene wealth and make even more, instead of giving teachers good pay and building public infrastructure.
The rich should pay their fair share and give the middle class more.
When the middle class does well so do the rich.
Alex Caraballo can be reached at email@example.com.