How Liberals Should Frame The Tax Debate

by R. Hurst on September 19, 2011

in GOP 2012,Politics,Taxes

Welcome back 2008 Barack Obama! I feel like calling him Senator again! While I understand that the nuances of governing are very different from the nuances associated with running for election, it is nice to know that the President is still capable of bare knuckled politicking. His gloves have come off. He has played nice for the last few years and now the GOP will be held accountable for all of the sound bites they have deposited in the Win-the-Daily-News-Cycle Bank and have to face reality. Over the next year and a few months we will be reminded of the Ryan Budget, the Romney Budget (assuming he is the nominee) – a budget that assumes more drastic cuts than even the Ryan Budget without actually spelling out what will actually be cut, the Ponzi Scheme quotes and their votes on FAILING to cut middle class taxes all salted with birtherism, Tea-Party Nihilism, and their votes against raising taxes on those who make more than $1 million and pay less than the 29% many in the middle class pay. President Obama will remind voters how he GAVE THE GOP EVERYTHING THEY WANTED AND THEN SOME in the debt ceiling debate and they still wouldn’t actually make a deal. When voters are confronted with the actual facts of the debate, I firmly believe they will make the sanest choice.

With all that said, I want to give my liberal friends a good way to frame the tax debate.

First, the debate needs to be framed in terms that people can understand. And second, the fundamental assumption of the debate need to be altered. As it stands, people perceive the marginal tax rate debate in terms of punishment for the hard working and innovative entrepreneur – you know, the guy you work for. The line of reasoning goes as follows: “Hey, don’t tax the innovators and productive class because you might get fired!” We all know this is complete BS – but it is the dominant narrative associated with the tax debate.

In my view, the best and most simple way to frame this debate is in transactional. Instead of “punishing” the “productive” and “innovative” class we should “ensure that those who take the most from the system pay for what they take.” In essence, we should be arguing that those who benefit most from the social and real infrastructure created by the American Government pay the most for the disproportional benefit that they reap. Surely, the person who gets a 2 hour full-body deep tissue massage from the world’s best masseuse should pay more for that service than the person who gets 5 minute massage in an uncomfortable face chair at the mall from some person who has no idea what they are doing, right!?! Why should taxes be any different?

It would be really hard to argue that those on Wall Street don’t benefit from a stable currency, free and safe shipping lanes, international trade agreements, domestic transportation infrastructure, the world’s best university system a social welfare system that makes risk taking possible, investments in innovation and the protection of intellectual property. These people suck all the benefit from this big system that they can (as we all do) and pay less for what they take in benefit from the system (in relative terms) than the average Joe who wasn’t a member of the lucky sperm club.

So, YES, YES America! It is more than fine – if not morally right – to ask those who get the most to pay the most. It is not class warfare and it is not a punitive. AND THIS IS ALL MORE TRUE WHEN TAXES ARE AT HISTORICAL LOWS.

So the next time you hear the word vomit meant to deflect from the actual heart of the tax matter – something like, “47% of all households don’t pay taxes” – don’t falter. Remind the idiot perpetuating this nonsense that 47% of households don’t pay taxes because poverty is at all-time highs (15% or 46 million people) and they don’t benefit enough from the system to meet the minimum requirement of income to have the opportunity to pay taxes. Let’s be honest, all 47% of those families would love to pay taxes – BECAUSE THAT WOULD MEAN THEY ARE MAKING MORE MONEY! And then tell this person: “I am personally of the opinion that those who take the most in benefit from the system pay the most for the services of the system. I mean, don’t you think you should pay for what you get?”

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