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Letter From the Editor

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President Obama is pushing a "jobs bill" that includes tax incentives for businesses that hire workers or expand their operations. It also includes some proposed tax hikes that would target (choose one) "the rich" or "job creators."

If you're a Democrat, amending the tax code to increase what the wealthy pay in taxes is just "simple math." If you're a Republican, it's "class warfare."

Welcome to Sloganville, otherwise known as political discourse, American style.

If the Republicans are to be believed, all rich people are job creators. No doubt, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian do create jobs for coke dealers and the paparazzi. But, c'mon. People who live on trust funds and party all the time are not job creators. They're just rich people having fun. They pay a tax rate of 15 percent on the capital gains which support them.

The greatest economic need in this country is jobs. If the rich are our job creators, they are falling down on the job.

Some rich people got rich by buying and bundling and selling financial securities, including lousy, over-valued mortgage-backed securities on Wall Street. Many of them screwed up and lost billions of dollars and were bailed out by the government. They're still making millions of dollars a year. They were not job creators. They were wealth creators for themselves and a few insider clients. They should pay the same amount on their income as someone who earns millions of dollars via a salary.

Those who earn more than $379,000 a year in the U.S. pay a tax rate of 35 percent. Job creator Paris Hilton probably pays 15 percent. Billionaire Warren Buffet says he paid 17 percent last year. Most people I know pay 25 to 33 percent, depending on their income bracket.

It sort of is simple math. More jobs means more people working, which means more tax revenue and more people buying goods and services and houses and cars, which puts the economy back on track.

Trickle-down economics has been tried and it has failed. It hasn't created jobs; it's created a huge wealth disparity, decimated the middle class, and led to a massive recession. Let's at least look at ways to amend the tax code. And let's put money in people's pockets via real job creation on infrastructure and other projects. Let's give "trickle-up" a chance.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

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