by Jeremy Leaming
Some national lawmakers, including the president, are ratcheting up their rhetoric challenging economic policies based largely on advancing tax breaks for the wealthiest and deregulation as the only methods to expanding economic opportunities for most Americans.
As noted by TPM’s Brian Beutler, Sen. Patty Murray, former co-chair of the so-called Super Committee, in prepared floor remarks, directly takes on the conservative’s mantra that lower taxes for the richest Americans means more jobs for everyone else.
Murray’s statement, in part, reads:
Republicans seem to be operating under the backwards economic principle that only tax cuts for the richest Americans and biggest corporations are worth fighting for. In fact, they have a name for this group of people: they call them ‘job creators.’ They believe the only ones who create jobs in America are the rich – and they claim that the tax cuts and loopholes they fight for that benefit the wealthy will somehow trickle down to ordinary families. Mr. President – we know this is wrong. We know this Republican economic policy has failed us. It was this kind of thinking that turned a surplus into a deficit, that brought the economy to its knees, that failed the middle class – and that allowed the wealthiest Americans to amass record fortunes paying the lowest tax rates in decades.
A growing chorus of economists has recognized that right-wing economic policies have greatly exacerbated a wealth gap, one that has helped, in part, to galvanize Occupy Wall Street protests. Columbia University Business School Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote earlier this year for Vanity Fair, “While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. All the growth in recent decades – and more – has gone to those at the top.” In the same article, Stiglitz said the nation’s top 1 percent exert great influence on the government to keep right-wing economic policies in place. In a recent piece for Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson wrote, “Since Republicans rededicated themselves to slashing taxes for the wealthy in 1997, the average annual income of the 400 richest Americans has more than tripled, to $345 million –while there share of the tax burden has plunged by 40 percent.”