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    An Open Letter To Rep. Tom Graves, GA 9th

    by | 9 | Dec 4, 2010

    Dear Rep. Graves,

    I had hoped that you would be a fresh start for this district (I live in Union County) but your latest newsletter scares me into thinking that you and your staff are not doing their homework. To say that the tax cuts for the top 2% hits small businesses hard, and that they are the primary source of new jobs, simply is not borne out by the facts.

    You tell me that you want to extend all of the Bush tax cuts permanently but fail to mention that the 10-year cost is over four trillion dollars and subject to increasing the national debt by the same amount. When looking at the wealthy (top 2%) that would see a 3% tax increase under the Democratic plan, you say that the group includes over half of our small business owners. What you fail to report are the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service that only 2% to 3% of small business owners would be affected in any way. And this is true if the tax increase applied to individuals with adjusted gross income above $200,000, below Obama’s threshold.

    Are small businesses the job generators that you say they are? Politico pointed out that numerous studies show “smaller businesses create jobs at roughly the same rate as larger ones.” Besides, what neither party is pointing out is that everyone will get the same tax break on the first $250,000 of income regardless of what they earn. This is hardly the class warfare being bantered around by the media. You would think the top 2% were being persecuted by a 3% tax hike on adjusted gross income beyond $250,000.

    Look at this select list of “small businesses” that will receive huge tax breaks every year and tell me they will use that money to create jobs:

    G.W.Bush – $187,522; Rush Limbaugh – $2,689,135; Glenn Beck – $1,512,352; Sean Hannity – $1,006,352; Bill O’Reilly – $914,352; Sarah Palin – $638,352, Newt Gingrich – $247,352.

    Yes, I could keep going and also list a number of progressive politicians but I think you get my point. That clearly suggests that you are protecting millionaires rather than searching for the best ways to create jobs and reduce the national debt. I do not think you were elected to follow the Republican Party line but that appears to be the path you are following.

    Please spend more time trying to create jobs providing extended unemployment for those four out of five people who cannot find a job because they do not exist, and reducing the national debt rather than misleading your constituents by spouting misleading and false claims to justify protecting a segment of our population that has received outsized benefits from the Bush tax cuts. I suspect you are middle class, though I do not know, so you should understand our plight. I would hate to think you are in the group (millionaires) that appear to be rewarding themselves at the expense of the national debt.

    Your constituent,

    Jim Fitzgerald

    ###
    Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald

    A clinically trained psychologist, Jim had a private practice in Cobb County for almost 30 years. For the last ten years he has been a Professor of Psychology at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT, but lives in the North Georgia Mountains.

     

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    • There is some truth in the “over half of our small business owners” claims in that 51% is the amount of the revenue collected by the tax will be paid in by 2% of the people filing as small businesses do — e.g. the Koch Brothers, Tysons and the Walton clan. A goodly number of corporate moguls, having rediscovered family values, have retreated into the tax status of individuals whose tax filings are private and much more difficult to audit than corporate reports. Increasing the tax rates would hit them hard, especially because once you’re in the system as an individual, it’s hard to become anonymous.
      This is a good example where a partial truth is more deceptive than a flat out lie, because the latter is easy to prove.

    • Molly

      Thank you, Jim, for saying it like it is. I would love to hear Representative Grave’s response.

    • I find it hard to believe that anyone can’t see the idiocy of the theory that lowering both taxes and government spending on social programs will reduce a deficit.

    • Charles Chesney

      The sad truth is that this Republican congressman (like almost all of his fellow congressmen, of either political party) is not free to search for the truth and vote the best interests of the vast majority of his district. Instead, he is a captive of the big money interests who dominate elective politics today. He will fight to the end for the millionaires’ tax cut because if he does not, the super rich will find another pawn to run against him in the Republican primary in 2 years, and he will be out. It is in fact worse than this open letter portrays. The Republican leaders (John Boehner, et al) have made clear that even if Obama agrees to “extend” the Bush tax cuts to everyone who earns less than $1 million per year, the Republicans will not go along. It’s not about $250,000 — OBAMA HAS MADE CLEAR HE WILL ALLOW THAT EXENSION. IT’S REALLY ABOUT $1 million and above. What does that tell you?

      The class warfare that is going on is being pushed not by the poor or middle, by by the extremely rich against everyone else. It is an unassailable fact that the income gap between the super rich and everyone else has widened at an alarming pace over the past 20 years. We are becoming Mexico. Here is info from the recent census (not from a political source):

      “The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its largest margin ever, a stark divide as Democrats and Republicans spar over whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

      The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

      At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, the data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.”

      And it has been going on for over two decades. This is from the Wall Street Journal in 2007:

      The richest Americans’ share of national income has hit a postwar record, surpassing the highs reached in the 1990s bull market, and underlining the divergence of economic fortunes blamed for fueling anxiety among American workers.

      The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

      The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004 and a bit less than their 13% share in 2000.”

      What does that tell you about the politicians who insist hat even millionaires receive a tax cut now? I understand why these politicians are behaving this way — just follow the money. What is hard to understand is why non-millionaire Americans vote for these Republican pawns of the super-rich. Surely the vast majority of us can read, research, examine and analyze on their own — ignoring everything any politician of any party tells them — and conclude that cutting millionaires’ taxes in a time of severe budgetary deficit is just a bad idea. But instead, and inexplicably, the public seems to get its news from the hired hands of the super-wealthy: Fox “News,” Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Savage, etc. These news outlets and talk show entertainers spout bald lies that many people choose to believe (Just watch, some “Know Nothing” conservatives will reply t this with some of the same lies — things they could easily Google and look up, to see that they are lies — but they don’t like the truth. Why? Racism? Or just stubborn stupidity?).

      What a shame. Maybe after the super rich accomplish even more widening of the gap between themselves and ordinary Americans, the ordinary Americans will wake up and vote for sanity instead of further enrichment of the super-rich.

      I am in the top tax bracket, but I recognize that my taxes need to go up, just as I realize that structural entitlement spending needs to be radically reeled in. Simpson-Bowles is on the right track, but both political parties are venting against the parts that hit their money interests… It’s just crazy, but the worst craziness of all in one of the easiest to understand. Money is corrupting almost every politician. We need to have strict limits on the money in elections and we need to enforce those restrictions. Then maybe we can get some statesmen and women in office instead of pawns who must do as they are told.

      • Well, I disagree slightly, not with your facts, but with your assignment of cause. Money is not at fault. Our politicians are corrupt and use money as a shield to hide who’s doing what to whom. Some politicians, mostly conservatives, are convinced that public officials are to rule and dole out benefits to those who support their selection to that elevated position. They’re power-hungry and they’re also allergic to the obligations of office. So, they pawn those off to private corporations, which are minimally subject to social control. They’re part of a system with mimics royal rule but, instead of having to rely on hereditary connections, these “royals” get to be “democratically” selected. The people get to choose their own poison (jailer).

        Why do ordinary people go along with this farce? Well, the “democratic” part let’s them imagine that anyone can be President for a term. Then too, some people are quite content either knowing or being known by someone “important.” It makes them feel sufficiently significant to identify with a popular person. The problem with Barack Obama is that most of the people who like to identify with important people can’t identify with one whose appearance is so different from their own.

    • Charles Chesney

      In case you doubted me:

      GOP blocks bill to raise taxes on $1M-plus income

      Saturday, December 4, 2010

      WASHINGTON, (AP) —

      Senate Republicans have blocked legislation allowing taxes to rise on Jan. 1 on people earning more than $1 million.

      The vote was 53-37, seven short of the 60 needed to advance the measure.

      Without action by Congress, all income tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president will expire at the end of the year. The legislation backed by Senate Democrats would keep the cuts in effect except on incomes over $1 million.

      Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/12/04/national/w082301S62.DTL#ixzz17FqLLnAF

    • Jon Sinton

      I think it is also worth noting that the Trickle Down theory that is represented by the Republicans who wish to extend tax cuts to create jobs, is a bust. This Reagan era relic has been denounced by its founder, former budget director David Stockman for the tripe that it is. Specifically, the Bush era tax cuts have had ten years to work, yet his presidency was the first in the post war era to register net job losses. Moreover, it is interesting and sad to note that when indexed for inflation, there has been zero wage growth since about 1976.

      Extended tax cuts are unaffordable and will do nothing to add jobs.

    • So how did the Republicans get a majority? People are just not thinking?

    • Jim Fitzgerald

      Last night on 60 Minutes, even the Fed Chairman acknowledges the income disparity:

      “Pelley: The gap between rich and poor in this country has never been greater. In fact we have the biggest income disparity gap of any industrialized country in the world. And I wonder where you think that’s taking America.

      Bernanke: It’s a very bad development. It’s creating two societies. And it’s based very much, I think, on educational differences. The unemployment rate we’ve been talking about. If you’re a college graduate, unemployment is 5 percent. If you’re a high school graduate, it’s 10 percent or more. It’s a very big difference. It leads to an unequal society, and a society which doesn’t have the cohesion that we’d like to see.””

      and

      “In September, new Census figures showed that the income gap between America’s richest and poorest was the widest on record.

      “The top-earning 20 percent of Americans -- those making more than $100,000 each year -- received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line,” according to The Associated Press.”

      And most interesting of all is that the vast majority of people voting to continue -- and increase -- this disparity are on the wrong side of the coin themselves! That what’s happens when you vote for a philosophy you don’t understand.

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