Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Millionaire tax another step toward a Social Democracy?

President Barack Obama has been called a socialist—which he isn’t—but he can be commended for introducing the 5 percent Millionaire Tax to help the jobless.  Although many corporate sharks make the claim that it is starvation or greed that makes people work, others believe they do it for enjoyment if it is meaningful, and to live a comfortable lifestyle. 

Security and contentment.  Robin Hood reinvented.  Sharing of the wealth so that we eliminate poverty in the richest nation in the world.  Social Democracy.

The GOP continues to oppose any new taxes, especially those on the wealthy who are, of course, their biggest contributors.  Big business boosters like representatives Paul Ryan and John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell have all dismissed Obama’s attempt to get the job market going again when polls show that even Republican voters support higher taxes on the wealthy.  Maybe these constituents haven’t made it clear enough to their representatives, but, even then, the no-tax ideology is so engrained in the GOP it may never go away.
The President wants to spend $447billion adding new jobs to the economy, while extending and expanding a payroll tax cut.  There is infrastructure spending that is sure to create jobs, and the money will also provide aid to states suffering economically.  The Senate surcharge would affect all income of $1 million, and it applies to both capital gains and salaries. 

Sen. Harry Reid says the tax will generate $450 billion.  Sen. Charles Schumer said, "Republicans will be hard-pressed to explain why they'd allow teachers and firefighters to be laid off rather than have millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share."  Democrats in general dared Republicans to block the plan.  With the tax threshold at $1 million, it would probably prevent levying a tax increase on small businesses.

This same concept would apply to corporations in a Social Democracy by bringing them under greater democratic control by using regulations and tax incentives to encourage companies to act in the public interest.  This would include discouraging them to export jobs out of the country and polluting the environment.  Corporations must be held accountable, and unions can be a major factor in this effort.

Social Democracy isn’t a dirty word and it is not un-American.  We made it where we are through the struggles of the working class that established a minimum wage, unemployment benefits, all the way to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.  While there are no pure models of Social Democracy, countries like Sweden, Canada, France and the United Kingdom have adopted programs that are clearly of that philosophy.

But the task at hand is to pass President Obama’s 5 percent Millionaires Tax to get jobs moving in the U.S.  I would hate to be a Republican voting against this bill, and then returning to his or her district to face a constituency out of work, knowing full well their representative has put the personal interests of the rich ahead of them finding a job.

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