Here is a handy reference guide devoted to decoding some of the talking points we hear so often from many Republican candidates and elected officials.
Broadening the [Tax] Base
What they say: To generate enough revenue to deal with our debt and deficit issues, we must broaden the base of those paying taxes.
What it really means: Before we ask any wealthy individuals to pay additional taxes (even though they paid higher marginal rates not all that long ago when Clinton was President), let’s make sure that ultra low income individuals who currently pay medicare and social security payroll taxes but do get a refund of their federal tax withholdings pay more federal taxes.
As I note in my article, Corporate Tax: Beyond the Talking Points, a single individual making $11,250 will qualify to get her federal tax withholdings refunded but will still pay 5.65% of her income in payroll taxes. With a take home pay of $821.11 monthly, it doesn’t seem fair to target these individuals to try to generate more revenue.
Class Warfare is Anti-American
What they say: We can’t single out one group to blame for our economic problems. America is a capitalist society. Blaming those who do well and make profits is anti-American.
What it really means: I get most of my donations from people in or near that top 1% and I need to keep working on their behalf to fill my campaign coffers. I can’t afford for the voters in my district to start expecting me to work on behalf of their interests. If they start looking to closely at my record and seeing I am not putting everyday people first, they might get mad enough to vote for someone else. So, shut up about the inequities and stop drawing widespread attention to this issue.
This is precisely why so many Republican leaders have been so derogatory about the Occupy Wall Street protests referring to them as anti-American or in some other negative fashion. They do not want people to be reminded that the economic crisis can be traced back to the financial sector that was unregulated due to their party’s leadership.
“Job Killing” Regulations
What they say: If we want to create jobs, we need to eliminate all the job killing regulations that are bogging down our businesses and preventing them from hiring workers.
What it really means: The wealthy people that support my campaign (many of whom own businesses or are business executives) want to operate however they see fit without regard to paying at least a minimum wage, avoiding pollution of air, water, or food, worker safety, or any other consideration.
Their supporters don’t want to deal with regulations. So, without regard to whether or not the regulations are important for protecting people or the country, some individuals argue for wholesale elimination of regulation just to keep their supporters happy.
What they say: We need to encourage corporations to repatriate their profits so that they can reinvest them here and create jobs for Americans.
What it really means: We need to allow corporations who have found ways to keep their money overseas in order to avoid paying U.S. corporate taxes to bring this money back into the U.S. at dramatically reduced tax rates and reward their tax dodging tactics.
This is simply reinforcing bad behavior in an effort to get the corporations to pay some small percentage of tax on the money they are keeping off their U.S. books.
Employers Aren’t Hiring Because of Uncertainty
What they say: Many employers just aren’t willing to create jobs right now because of the uncertainty about the burdensome federal regulations or taxes that they may have to face.
What it really means: Many business and corporations prefer Republicans to be in control because many of them will work on their behalf to give them a sweet deal. So corporations are going to hold out, overwork and exploit their current work force, and create no or very few jobs to keep unemployment rates high and keep people extremely stressed. Their hope is that people will take out their frustration on the incumbent President and choose to vote for the Republican nominee which will aid them in their attempts to lobby for more sweet deals for the corporate world.
I hope that people do not fall for this dirty trick. To his credit, President Obama is doing an excellent job reminding the people who is trying to look out for their needs. I hope this sticks with the American public and translates into results at the polls. We absolutely need to send the “sell-out” elected officials home in 2012 and elect leaders with integrity who are committed to serving the best interests of all the people.