Please Allow Me to Clarify the Tax Cut Debate for You

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t think of anything to say? A day where the current events are just so boring/frustrating/infuriating that you want to just go back to bed? Nah, neither have I.

In typical media form the t.v. talking heads and opinion page heavy weights have waited until the day the President is set to meet with the incoming Republican leadership to take up the topic of whether or not the Bush tax cuts should be extended on individual income over $250,000 a year. Unfortunately, given eight years with the current tax situation they have still not had enough time to get their stories straight. Example, Alexander Bolton writes today about the topic in the Hill but fails to correctly frame the situation:

Obama’s proposal to extend tax rates for middle-class families but allow taxes to rise for families making over $250,000 a year is given almost no chance of passing the upper chamber.

No, no, no, no, no. The discussion is not about families making $250,000 a year or above Alexander, it is about individual income in excess of $250,000 a year. Of course by stating it this way you muddy the waters just enough to confuse matters don’t you. (UPDATE: 12/4/2010 – Thank goodness this does not happen often but I feel that a correction/apology is in order, Mr. Bolton was indeed correct in his above statement. The legislation that was proposed and passed by the House but filibustered in the Senate this morning was to extend the Bush Tax Cuts for individuals earning under $200,000 AND families earning under $250,000. My apologies to Mr. Bolton for calling him out erroneously. That said, my proceeding argument still remains valid.)

So please allow me to help clarify this debate for you.

I work in a company of 25,000 people. I have worked for this company for thirteen and a half years and have had the pleasure of working in a management capacity for twelve of those years. I have sat across boardroom and conference room tables from the leadership/owners of 100’s of my b2b customers many of whose names are prefaced by two or three letter acronyms (CEO, CFO, CTO, VP, etc) as their title. I have met with thousands of individuals at international trade shows, and the binders full of business cards I have in my office are testament to the acronym soup of their business title acumen.

In all of these meetings over this entire twelve year span I can count on one hand the number of people I have met whose individual income exceeds $250,000 a year. As a matter of fact, I am fairly certain that barring a few sales people who enjoyed a couple extremely successful boom years during the Clinton era (read long ago success) I am certain I do not know personally a single individual in my 25,000 employee organization that makes this kind of money. So let’s be clear about this debate. When I talk about why it is imperative that we kill the bush tax cuts for individuals earning above $250,000 (like I did yesterday) I do so knowing that this is a very small group of people who will not be hurt in the least by having to pay a little more in taxes on their 250,001st dollar but whose tax dollars are the single best way to help our country out of our present economic dilemma.

Anyone in the media who is unable to frame this message clearly has never worked in the real world. And to those of you arguing that this amounts to class warfare while all along attempting to hold unemployment benefits hostage in a weak attempt to equate the importance of tax cuts with jobless benefits I ask you to get your head out of your Claven. Unless you are able to parlay that plate spinning trick of yours into a wildly successful international entertainment career you are likely to remain a part of the 99% of Americans who make below $250,000 a year at best or part of the 14.8 million who are unemployed at worst.

Figure out what side of this debate you are actually on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook