Just remember this:
When a Republican says "You"- He (Or she) really means: "Them".
Yesterday, I heard House Minority Leader John Boehner declare, that "The era of big government is back and Democrats are asking you to pay for it".
YOU! YOU WILL PAY! YOU!
As I contemplate an uncertain world and the possibility of layoffs, these words would tend to strike fear into my heart...I AM GOING TO PAY? ME? I CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY!
But then I remember- Obama's "Tax Hike" is aimed at those people who make A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR or MORE...I don't make anything CLOSE to a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS a year...think of it, every 4 years, you earn a million dollars...nope, that's not "me"...
That is Not Me...and, what's more, that is not anybody I know... and I even know some people who are pretty comfortable with what they make...Doctors, Small Business Owners, etc.
So, when John Boehner points his finger straight at the camera (I heard him on the radio, so I'm imagining that part) and declaims in that big deep, stiff voice: YOU ARE GOING TO PAY!
You have to stop and ask yourself: YOU WHO?
And the answer comes back: The Wealthy.
Okay- well, that might still be bad. Don't the wealthy create jobs for the rest of us? Through their entrepreneurial energy, or at least through their mindless conspicuous consumption, don't they serve as the economic engine that takes us where we want to go?
Isn't it worth our while to appease them with Tax Cuts so that they continue to shower us with their largess?
My answer, is, of course: No.
Simple: We are not getting our money's worth out of the rich.
It's a good theory, and very seductive (especially if you're rich...it's also quite flattering)...but it just hasn't proven to be the case.
There has been advancement, too be sure, and, until the current crises ripped the mask off, it was possible to say that a rising tide raised all boats.
But some boats rose much faster and further than others.
For most of the latter half of the 20th century, and the first 8 years of the 21st...the American people, and particularly the American Wealthy, have enjoyed some of the lowest tax rates in the world.
As a people, we have excused the wealthy from a large portion of their financial duty as citizens and, instead, have passed that debt on to ourselves in our old age, or to our children. We did this in the hopes that the wealthy will commit that money to stimulating the economy, providing jobs and raising the standard of living for us, their fellow citizens.
I would submit that this plan has not worked.
The Gap between the rich and the poor is growing, and the United States has "the highest inequality and poverty in the OECD after Mexico and Turkey, and the gap has increased rapidly since 2000."
And, as Republicans have fought to save the "Estate Tax"- they have worked to ensure that this gap is passed on to the next generation. The odds are, now, that if you are born into the lower middle class, you will stay there...and if you were born wealthy, you will die that way.
What does that mean?
It means that a poor person would have to possess almost superhuman amounts of entrepreneurial energy (and experience rare good fortune) to raise themselves to a higher level. I'm not talking about common sense and hard work.. I'm talking about Genius, and we all know that the good Lord don't hand that out on anything like a regular basis.
It means that those who are born to wealth and power will have not earned it through hard work, or intellectual ability.
It means that the United States will, increasingly, be run by people who were born in to their positions without earning either experience or wisdom.
I would offer my opinion that this does not bode well for our democracy, OR our economic system. As evidence, I would offer the current banking crisis...this can certainly disabuse us of the notion that the wealthy are smarter about money than the rest of us.
By going along with this Republican plan, we, as a people, have paid a great price...and we are passing an even greater price of debt along to our children.
A few days ago, I wrote about how the Republicans used the cry of "TAXES BAD" to tempt us into this mess...
And now, to borrow a phrase from the man who set us on the path, Ronald Reagan, we can point to Mr. Boehner and say: "There you go again....."
We can't afford it this time.
So, if you are slightly panicked when you hear John Boehner say "YOU" just remember-- he isn't really talking about you. He's talking about "Them" and we've let them have enough. The experiment didn't work, and it's time to put this country, and ALL of us, back on the right track.