The Democrat-controlled Senate has passed a bill (51-48) today that would allow tax breaks for the middle class to continue, while ending them for the very wealthy. This bill is expected to go nowhere in the Republican-controlled House, because Republicans argue that no one should pay higher taxes. It does not take much to read between the lines here. Republicans would rather let all the tax cuts expire than to allow only the very rich to be taxed higher. If this happens, they will argue that the Democrats made taxes increase on everyone. Democrats would rather let everyone pay higher taxes, and have the means to begin paying down the deficit, than to let those who can best afford to help the country get off the hook. If the tax cuts expire, the Democrats will argue that the Republicans created a tax-increase for everyone in order to protect their richest supporters. The tax cuts will most likely expire for everyone because of this partisan split in viewpoints. This will be one of the major decisions that voters will have before them in the 2012 election. Is the economy best served by providing the government additional means of serving the public (through taxing the rich at slightly higher rates), or by starving the government of the means to act on many important issues by having no one's rate of taxation return to the pre-Bush-tax-cut rates?
Before deciding, one should ask themselves why the economy is in the on-going stagnation that we are now experiencing. Is it because the rich don't have enough money, or is it because the middle class and poor do not have the jobs and buying power to keep the economy going? Over the last thirty years, the rich have continued to get richer while the poor get poorer and the middle class is disappearing. Is giving the rich more money to spend working for the national interests? The record of the last thirty years does not seem to suggest that. Would giving the poor and middle class more opportunity and purchasing power stimulate the economy? Maybe it's worth giving that a try.
Granted, taking tax dollars from the rich will not cause the wealthiest of us to then stimulate the economy. But when the richest few are unwilling or unable, for whatever reason, to stimulate the economy, then government is the only source of stimulation left in the game. And unless we want to see deficits continue to grow ever higher, someone has to pay back in the system. Why should it not be those who have profited from the system over the last several decades at the expense of everyone else's labor?