I try my best to avoid the mindless fluff that passes for “news” nowadays, but sometimes it cannot be avoided. For example, I learned today that Paris Hilton was arrested in Las Vegas for allegedly possessing cocaine. Why do I bring this up on a blog about policy and politics? Because she is a poster child for the differing priorities of the two major political parties today.
Take, for example, the issue of whether to give the wealthiest Americans further tax cuts. On one side, Republicans want to provide to the richest 2% of Americans – in other words, to folks like Paris Hilton – $838 billion in additional tax breaks over the next decade. People making over $1 million per year would receive an average break of $103,000 under the Republican proposal. Those same Republicans, however, pretend to believe that the national debt is such a pressing problem that Social Security must be privatized and unemployment benefits should not be extended.
On the other side, President Obama has vowed to protect Social Security and continue tax relief for middle class Americans, while restoring tax rates on families making more than $250,000 per year back to the levels they were under President Clinton. Such revenue could then be used to help reduce our nation’s deficit and boost our economy.
The stark contrast between these two visions is illustrated in the following two charts:
The first chart, above from the Washington Post, compares the Democratic and Republican tax cut plans. Under the Democratic one, anyone making less than $200,000 per year would receive a slightly larger cut, while people making over $200,000 per year and especially those making over $1 million, would do significantly better under the Republican plan.
The second blue bar graph, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shows that the cost of shoring up Social Security for the next 75 years is virtually the same as the cost of the Republicans’ proposal to provide additional tax cuts to the wealthiest 2%.
Every voter should ask themselves this November “what’s my priority?” Tax cuts for the middle class and shoring up Social Security, or letting folks like Paris Hilton accumulate even more wealth at the expense of our seniors?
Do you prioritize Social Security, middle class tax cuts, boosting our economy, and deficit reduction over more tax cuts for millionaires like Paris Hilton? If so, let folks in your community know by writing a letter to the editor.