I have watched with a truly curious sense of amazement as the Republicans, especially the presidential candidates, have stuck it to the middle class.
What have they been thinking with their tax plans and their relentless pursuit of even greater tax-cut largess for the very wealthiest of Americans? What do they have against the middle class, those who have seen their incomes drop by 4.8 percent this past decade, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal?
The latest Republican proposal made to the Senate's Gang of 12 "supercommittee" is to lower the tax rate on the top wage earners from 35 percent to 28 percent; this on top of the temporary tax cut that Bush provided. The Republicans propose various revenue increases to help reduce the budget deficit but take them away with this giveaway to the wealthy.
Once again, the middle class is left holding the bag, watching as they get stuck with less take-home pay and more expenses for rent, mortgage, college tuition, basic essentials.
Let's look at the Republican presidential candidates' tax proposals. Governor Perry has proposed a huge tax windfall for those whose income averages over a million dollars. For those millionaires and billionaires, he would give them a $512,733 average tax break! How can that possibly be justified since these wage earners have seen a 385 percent increase in their wealth over the last 20 years?
Perry's plan would actually see tax rates go up for those who make less that $50,000, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Herman Cain's pie in the sky 9-9-9 plan would see the poor and middle class lose with a 15.8 percent drop; those families who make the average of $49,445 would see their effective tax rate go from 14.3 percent to 23.8 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The Romney tax plan is more of the same. More tax cuts for the wealthy: 67 percent of his lower capital gains taxes would go to millionaires; 50 percent of the continuation of the Bush tax cuts go to the top 5 percent of wage earners.
The policy prescriptions we are seeing from Republicans as we approach 2012 are coupled with a complete lack of explanation of why it is important to help middle-class families. All their rhetoric is ideological—anti-Washington, anti-government, anti-taxes. They have drunk the Grover Norquist Kool-Aid, even to the detriment of those families struggling to make it in a tough economy.
The benefits go to Wall Street, not Main Street; the analyses of all the tax plans clearly point to giveaways to those top 2 percent of Americans, with the squeeze put on those in the middle.
As they campaign in the next 12 months, the Republicans will find it increasingly difficult to make the case that they stand for hard-working, middle-class families. This could well be their downfall come next November.