Quentin Smeltzer, SmeltzerNation 7/27/2010
A political cauldron of hot-button issues is brewing this summer: ending tax cuts for the rich, extending unemployment benefits for the jobless, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Tea Party, immigration, race relations and Lindsey Lohan. Okay, Lindsey is clearly where she needs to be, but the rest of these issues need sorting out.
Let’s start at the top: should we extend unemployment insurance and should we let the Bush tax cuts expire?
Conservatives have been arguing that giving away money only disinclines people to find and perform meaningful work, and I could not agree more… for the rich. If you’re fat and happy are you going to put up with all the nonsense associated with starting new businesses and creating new jobs? Judging by recent behavior: evidently not.
If you want to see a bunch of rich people really get out there and hustle, I say, tax away most of their money. That kind of “start over” mentality worked for the immigrants and it will work for Kent and Buffy too. Nothing says “it’s time to produce” quite like the repo man showing up for your Bugatti Veyron.
But don’t think I’m without sympathy. While many captains of industry pay themselves salaries and bonuses and that amount to four hundred times the compensation their workers receive, they have some justification. First, with their access to quality health care, there is some chance that the rich will live four hundred times longer than will you.
Second, it is almost certain that a tax increase at this delicate time will hurt the economy. Think of it: If the top tax rate increases from thirty-six to forty percent, some of these folks will have to get by on six million dollars a year instead of six point four million! How they’ll do it is tough to fathom. Doubtless, that kind of drop in their net income will cause them to buy fewer iced mochaccinos on their way to the spa, and employ fewer sex workers when they get home.
As for not extending unemployment benefits: maybe not such a good idea. Yes, the latest extension will cost the US Treasury thirty billion dollars or roughly what we spend in Afghanistan in an afternoon. And yes, those receiving the aid will have less incentive to find a job, in so far as they can now to afford to eat. But you’ve got to look at the big picture here: it can be difficult to job hunt from a box under the interstate.
What about immigration and race? The second Bush administration used to argue that it was hard to address illegal immigration because illegal immigrants took the kinds of jobs that most Americans did not want. Clearly, W’s solution was to wreck the economy, because Americans want those jobs now!
It’s funny how the economy, jobs, taxes, the wars and immigration all come together. The only topic we haven’t touched on is race. It is an important topic, but one that is probably best left to thoughtful experts with deep, first-hand experience in racial discrimination: like Andrew Breitbart.
No doubt, it’s a going to be a long, hot summer leading up to the November elections and many questions will have to be answered. While we’ve tried to shed some light, the big questions remain, such as: Will Lindsey Lohan get out of jail in time to vote? Only time will tell.