You may recall that yesterday I explained to some five-year-olds how the economy works.
Today, the over-simplified political discourse continues.
The opposition to raising taxes on the extremely wealthy generally comes down the value of their status as “job creators”. People and corporations with incomes well into the millions or billions of dollars provide employment for numerous workers across the country, the argument goes, and raising their taxes will cripple their ability to stimulate the economy in this vital way.
The implicit claim, then, is that making sure super-rich people don’t pay too much tax is good for everyone. The country as a whole benefits from their existence, and it will actually hurt more than just the fat cats at the top if you stifle their growth by raising their taxes.
Whether this is true in any given situation depends on too many factors for me to competently consider. But here’s one thought that should maybe temper our concern for the billionaires and all the good they do us:
With a debt of, as I keep hearing, around $14,000,000,000,000 to be paid off, some decisions may come down to either adding to the burden of the mega-rich – which, by the reasoning mentioned earlier, could possibly have negative repercussions for even the most socially disadvantaged Americans down the line – or simply placing the burden directly on those most socially disadvantaged by cutting welfare programs and the like.
This isn’t to say there are no savings to be made in the realm of social welfare spending. But telling us that not raising income tax on billionaires is the best thing for society as a whole is going to ring hollow when you have to take away people’s food stamps to do it.
The people who’d love the chance to work a 40-hour week at minimum wage to stop their family going hungry are society. For all that politicians claim to want what’s best for them, I worry about how they’re actually doing.