Breaking down the Republican myth machine: Taxes & Unemployment

My mother taught me that liars and cheaters never prosper. Then again, Momma isn’t a Republican. In the ongoing congressional slug fest over extending unemployment benefits and Bush-era tax cuts, fibs, half-truths, and flat out lies have been disseminated to the masses by Republicans in an effort to make the rich even more wealthy, and to ultimately make Obama a one-term president. The lies are so thick, and so numerous, that it’s no wonder they’ve been able to permeate the public consciousness to the point that some believe them to actually be true.


President Obama is trying to raise taxes –
Technically, he’s not. The 2001 and 2003 temporary Bush-era tax cuts were just that – temporary. They were tax savings that were never put in place to be permanent. President Obama and the Democrats are hoping to let taxes on the wealthy go back to their original tax code, while letting the middle and lower class tax cuts remain.

Extending tax cuts on the rich promotes job creation –
This has to be one of the one of the biggest, bold-faced lies I’ve heard in a long time, and I watch “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Numerous economic studies have shown that when the wealthy are given tax breaks, they invest and save, but they do not create jobs. So, the extra thousands of dollars the top 2% of the country would be banking under a Bush tax cut extension would go precisely there – the bank.
For another example, one needs to only look at the bank bailout. The government lent the fledgling big banks billions of dollars, expecting them to extend loans out to individuals. Instead, the banks just sat on the money like a goose to an egg, using it to balance their heinously pitiful books.

Trickle Down Economics –
The idea that money given to the rich would eventually trickle its way down to the masses is not only erroneous (see above), but it’s downright offensive. So, you mean to tell me that in order for me to get mine, I have to wait for a rich (and often White) person to get his, and then for him to decide what crumbs he wants to shake down my way? No thanks.

“Raising” taxes on the rich really affects small mom & pop business –
Lets get this cleared up right now. The tax cuts are only applicable to taxable income. So, if Juan’s Corner Store makes $300,000 a year, but only $200,000 is actually taxable income, then guess what? Juan and his store have absolutely nothing to worry about. Juan would qualify fully for the tax cut extension. The truth is, the vast majority of America’s 27 million small businesses – private entities with fewer than 500 employees – have less than $250,000 in taxable income each year. In fact, many of the country’s small business are individual contractors, freelancers, etc. They might be dog-walkers, freelance journalists, bloggers, and house painters. A small business isn’t always the struggling family-owned diner or corner store, but even they would still benefit from the tax cuts, whether they expire for the rich or not.

Extending Unemployment would add to the deficit –
This is partly true. Extending the emergency Unemployment aid program would add about $13 billion to the country’s staggering deficit. However, if eliminating tax cuts on income over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families would save the country about $700 billion by the year 2020, in essence paying for the Unemployment extension many times over while simultaneously putting a nice dent in our deficit.

In addition, economists say that extending the emergency unemployment aid actually benefits the economy, because recipients spent the much-needed cash right away on necessities. This, economists say, adds $2 for every dollar spent by the unemployed, and keeps businesses like grocery stores and utility companies running. If unemployment benefits fail to be extended, another million jobs could be lost. Why? If the unemployed no longer have money for food and shelter, then business such as grocery stores would have a huge drop in sales, which would in turn spell the end of the line for many workers in those businesses.

Extending unemployment benefits hurts the unemployed –
This unabashed garbage has been kicking its way around the media airwaves for the past few days. Some Republicans apparently are of the notion that by extending unemployment benefits, the government is only enabling lazy Americans who will grow more complacent and unwilling to look for work because of their fat benefit checks. Besides being completely offensive, insensitive, and demeaning, this idea is simply untrue.

Most of the unemployed don’t actually like making, on average, only $290 per week, and only being able to afford most of the necessities in life. Remember, unemployment caps out at a certain amount, so even if you lost your $100,000 a year job, your weekly unemployment benefits may cap out at just $350 a week. It’s even less for those whose incomes while working were lower.

I know a few single people with no dependents who have been, or are currently on unemployment, and none of them are living it up on their measly $250 benefit checks. They’re too busy trying to figure out how to stretch that money far enough to put gas in their cars so that they can make it to the next jam-packed job fair. If these single people are struggling, imagine the hardships those with families are enduring, even before their benefit checks run dry.


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M. Skylar Ezell

M. Skylar Ezell is a writer and communications pro whose gift for storytelling has served him well throughout his career. Skylar is a Southern gent and a proud graduate of Georgia State University (Go Panthers!). He is an avid reader, comic book enthusiast and political junkie whose work will one day make it to your bookshelf and TV screen. Follow @Skylar_Writer for all of his Twitter ramblings and hashtag philosophies. For more information and freelancing opportunities, visit He promises it is safe for work...mostly.

M. Skylar Ezell has 30 posts and counting. See all posts by M. Skylar Ezell


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