Jeb! Says Taxing Millionaires Will Hurt The Middle Class

The last GOP debate was a lot like previous ones. There were ad hominem attacks, cries about Hillary Clinton’s emails, and general frustration with the trajectory of the country. Rinse and repeat, RNC.

That said, for once there was a fantastic question about millionaires and their taxes. About halfway through the debate, ABC’s David Muir asked Marco Rubio, “A recent poll [shows that] 68 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on people making more than $1 million a year. Are they wrong?”

Now, if you were Marco Rubio how would you answer this? Remember, his campaign is propped up by very rich people who want to maintain the status quo. In fact, Marco Rubio’s super PAC just “won major donations from conservative hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer and Ken Griffin.” Those donations came with some strings attached, let me tell you.

So, how do you answer this question when you are funded by millionaires/billionaires who don’t want to see their taxes increase? Well, you just completely ignore the question. Look at Rubio’s reply:

I don’t know of any problem in America that’s going to be fixed with a tax increase. We have an economy today…that is not creating jobs that pay enough.

And one of the reasons why is because we have one of the most expensive business tax rates on the planet. Our combined business rate puts us among the highest in the industrialized world. And then on top of that, we are the only one that has a worldwide system of taxation, where an American company who makes money abroad has to pay taxes where they made the money and then taxes a second time when they bring it back.

Notice how Marco doesn’t address individual tax rates, but instead pivots to business taxes. The moderators, being as pathetic as usual, don’t hold him accountable for his complete non-answer. They switch to Jeb! Again, they reiterated the question: 68 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on people making more than a million. What would you do?

Jeb! then proceeds to regurgitate some more trickle-down nonsense.

I would like to see more millionaires. I think we need to grow more millionaires, we need create a prosperity society where people can rise up.

We need to be on the side of working people. And you know, the problem with the left is, another tax, another regulation, another mandate makes it harder for them to rise up.

So, to be clear: Jeb thinks that taxing millionaires at a higher rate will make it “harder” for middle-class Americans to rise up. Or in other words, don’t ask for higher taxes on millionaires because that will end up hurting you, middle class Americans. If you’re scratching your head right now, you’re not alone. That’s because it doesn’t make sense. The job creator myth simply isn’t true. If it were, the US would be swimming in high quality jobs right now.

So why perpetuate this failed talking point? Because, once again, Republicans are relying on intimidation tactics to support the status quo.

None of these trickle-down tactics came as a surprise. We’ve all heard similar iterations of these answers along the campaign trail. What was unique about the most recent debate, however, was that this was the first time trickle-down economics had been “sold” in the 2016 race. Sure, there were tangential references prior to Saturday night – “regulations are bad” & “government inhibits small business.” But Jeb and Marco’s answers seemed to be the first time candidates had been forced to fully flesh out their economic ideas.

And it sounded even worse than I could have imagined. How will the eventual GOP nominee be able to sell these lies to an American audience that is deeply upset about the current wealth distribution? Veiled threats aren’t going to cut it. Nor are pathetic arguments like “taxes don’t fix any problem.” What about the deficit? Infrastructure? Bigger military? Mental health services? Education? A wall to separate the US & Mexico? Yeah, tax increases would help solve a few of those.

If last Saturday’s debate is any indication, the GOP is in big trouble when it comes to their economic platform. In a time of unrivaled economic inequality, relying on trickle-down myths to soothe the anxieties of middle income Americans is a massive gamble.

Comments

comments

Nick Cassella
Nick Cassella graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2014. After graduating, he worked on the Initiative 594 campaign before joining Civic Ventures, where he now manages Civic Skunk Works' social media presence.