So, this weekend, Mitch McConnell made news once again by being an ass, as TPM, among many others, reported: “McConnell: Not My Job To Prevent Firefighter, Police Layoffs”
The idea of not wanting to employ teachers, firemen and police is naturally what got the most attention–and I noticed that first, as well. But what really got my attention, as I got beyond the headline, was the zombie lie here:
“I certainly do approve of firefighters and police,” said McConnell. “The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees.”
Obama’s proposal last week would NOT rasie taxes on 300,000 small businesses. In fact, it would not raise taxes on ANY businesses. It would only raise taxes on PERSONAL INCOMES over $1 million. If you’re a business owner, your personal income is what you take out of the business. By definition, it has no impact on the business itself. In fact, as David Cay Johnson has pointed out repeatedly, raising the personal tax rate makes it less attractive to take money out of a business, so higher tax rates on the wealthy are actually an incentive for business growth, rather than a disincentive.
What’s more, we actually have a pretty good idea of who actually would be paying those taxes, rather than McConnell’s mythical “300,000 small businesses”. This was pulled together recently by Mike Konzal at Rortybomb in a mid-October post titled “Who are the 1%, and what do they do for a living?”
He actually provided two charts–one for the top 1% and one for the top 0.1%. The $1 million level where the surtax would kick in is actually above the 0.5% level. But the two charts are generally fairly similar, I would say. See for yourself:
Those are the people who would REALLY be paying the surtax under the Democrats’ tax provision–only after the first $1 million in income. Obviously, some of them are business owners, but that’s not what they would be taxed for under the Democrats’ plan. This applies to those explicitly listed as “entreprenuers”, for example. And we should expect that a good number of those listed in law, real estate or medicine are business owners in the sense of being either sole owners or partners. But this is NOT the case for the large percentage of executives, managers and supervisors. They may own substantial shares of stock, but they are not business owners in either the legal or common sense of the term.
In short, the rhetorical world that Mitch McConnell inhabits has very little in common with the real world of actual economic activity. And the political reporters, editors, pundits, etc. who write about such things are either as ignorant as he is, or else they are otherwise derelict in the duties, with the end result that rightwing lies such as those McConnell spouts are treated on a par with actual economic facts. That can only mean that the economic policy discourse is heavily biased in a rightwing direction, treating zombies lies as if they were economic truths.