By Dr. Harold A. Black
When ProPublica exposed the tax records of some billionaires showing little or no federal income tax paid, predictably many on the left and in the media howled in indignation. No one claimed that the billionaires were engaging in illegal activity but many said that the billionaires should “pay their fair share.” One socialist in Congress even showed up at a $30,000 per person event with a dress that looked like a Chick-fil-a bag that had written on its back “Tax the Rich.” What I found striking was that of the billionaires scrutinized most were Democrats or leaned toward the Democrats, one was independent and only one was a Republican. Two of the “exposed” Democrats were among the ones who give most to the left: Michael Bloomberg (who gave over $60 million to fund Democrat House races) and George Soros who has given more than $550 million for leftist causes.
Yet deep-pocket donors have been vilified by the left. The proposed tax bill of the Democrats in Congress targets the rich and at the corporations.” It raises the marginal income tax from 37% to 39.6%. The capital gains tax would increase to 39.6% combined with a 3.8% surtax on investment income making the top federal rate of 43.4% – by far the highest among developed countries. It institutes a capital gains tax at death on estates. Perhaps the most knee-jerk reaction to the ProPublica piece is legislation that taxes the unrealized capital gains of billionaires only. Thus, if the value of a billionaire’s stock holdings rose adding a billion dollars to wealth, that increase would be taxed as ordinary income. This would generate many forms of circumvention, mostly negative. Biden supports the new tax and not surprisingly, the Republicans (for some reason that escapes me) oppose it.
Why are there wealthy Democrats since they are constantly demonized by their politicians and the media? During the last presidential campaign, Wall Street’s deep-pocket donors gave more to Democrat campaigns than to Republicans – even though their most fierce critics are all on the Democrat side of the aisle in Congress.
There is obviously something going on that I don’t understand. Why would the wealthy support a party whose avowed goal is to make the rich poorer? Are the rich that dumb? What is clear is that the Republican party seems to confirm George Will’s calling it “the Dumb party“ and needs to reassess its priorities. It should no longer defend the rich and big corporations against the left. It should abandon those who do not support it and announce that it is voting for the billionaires’ tax, the increase in the corporate income tax, and the increase in tax on the rich. It should concentrate on reducing the burdens on the individuals and the small businesses that constitute its base.
The basic tenets for Republicans are that individual rights and freedom are essential rather than the whims of the government. Private property and free enterprise are the bases of effort and achievement. Individual initiative and ingenuity propel effort and creativity. Government is inefficient and wasteful and should be limited in scope. The Constitution provides the framework of our society and is not a living document.
As to businesses, the Republican party should no longer defend corporate America against rises in the corporate tax rate. Many large corporations are among the “wokest” in America. Paypal, Disney, Nike, Coca-Cola, Bank of America and others support positions and organizations that are largely opposed by Republicans. When Joe Biden announced his COVID mandates, the Business Roundtable made up of the country’s largest corporations praised the move and support it wholeheartedly – as do most Democrats. On the other hand, small businesses, like the majority of Republicans, oppose the mandates and are suing the administration.
Thus it is clear to me that the Republicans should concentrate their support on those individuals, groups and businesses that support Republican values. They should no longer support the wealthy, Wall Street and large corporations. If they do, they will indeed be the Dumb Party.