Few political activists have had a bigger impact on the direction of public opinion than Grover Nordquist. Over the past 30 years, he has successfully shifted public opinion—at least conservative perspectives—on two major topics. First, tax cuts. He has made tax cuts the sole conservative solution to the economy in whatever condition it may be in. If the economy is good, we need tax cuts; if the economy is bad, we need tax cuts. He joins others radical conservatives, such as Arthur Laffer, in promoting the idea that tax cut increase government revenue. Nordquist has famously convinced the majority of congress to sign his tax pledge not to raise taxes, which has made it very difficult to manage the deficit, especially during a tough economy.
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There is a reason that the rich don’t suffer in a recession; that middle-class wages have been stagnant for 30 year; that the majority of the nation’s wealth is in the hand of the top 1%. Conservative tax policy has dominated for 30 years. And in this Great Recession, with profits way up, there is not need to hire more people. And in this context, with a skyrocketing national debt, with millions out of work, the Republicans can still talk endlessly of how tax cuts are the answer to creating jobs. No. Tax cuts are the answer to enriching the already-wealthy.
Currently, the richest 10% of households in the U.S. owns almost 70% of all private wealth, while the bottom 50% of households hold a meager 2.8%. This is hardly an even playing field for the market to give opportunity for the best ideas and talents to emerge. Renowned sociologist, Max Weber, said the revenues from the inheritance tax should be evenly redistributed among young members of society, so as to create equal starting conditions for the “market struggle.” Part of the objective of the tax is to even the playing field. In American political discourse, if we can’t agree on equal outcomes, surely we can agree on equal opportunity.
One of the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats is their view of taxes. Democrats believe in progressive taxation–that is, taxing the rich at a higher percentage because a flat tax would take a larger percentage of income from those with lower income. Republicans believe that reducing taxes for high-income earners is better for the economy because it will “trickle down” to the lower income workers in the form of jobs; and they believe that lowering taxes for the rich increases government tax revenues. But is this claim true?