THE BLOG
12/07/2012 03:53 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2013

Why Are Republicans Using the Fiscal Cliff to Hold the U.S. Economy Hostage?

After the election it seems like nothing has changed in Washington. The political stalemate remains where little gets done and there is no compromise. I'm trying to understand the positions of both parties and keep getting stuck at, why is it so important for Republicans to prevent tax increases on the wealthiest 2 percent at the risk of throwing the economy back into a recession? I mean we're talking about people who make over $250,000 a year who have found a way to benefit from this capitalist system of ours, and now they are willing to put the whole system (U.S. economy) at risk which has enabled their achievement of wealth? I just don't understand the rationale here.

I would imagine that these people have investments in a myriad of places and that a recession would trigger more financial losses than a 3 percent tax hike. If Bush enacted these tax reductions to be temporary so that they would now expire, why now try to twist that to a financial advantage, to gain so little at the expense of so many? Fact is, the tax rate of today is almost the lowest it's been in the past century. This type of selfish mentality seems like a continuation of the same general philosophy and approach that caused the housing crises that began this economic collapse.

Will these tax increases on the top 2 percent change their standard of living? No, but going off the fiscal cliff will certainly affect the middle class (and therefore the driver of the economy, consumer confidence) in a manner that truly does affect the standard of living. This seems like greediness at its ugliest! I mean, do these top 2 percent work that much harder than everyone else proportionally? Do they come home much more physically exhausted than, say, the average construction worker who does not even make six figures? The fact is that wealth creates wealth exponentially. Wealthy people are able to invest their capital to make more capital and they don't have to sweat all that much for it, they just know how to play the game. A person who is living paycheck to paycheck does not have the same opportunity to put money into real estate or hedge funds where it will grow over time, most certainly not at the rate that big money can beget more big money.

To illustrate the growing income gap one only need to look at the disparity in the housing market between cost and and wages. In 1980, the average wage was $19,800, and the average cost of a home $68,700, 3.5 times an annual salary. In 2009 the average wage was $40,523 and the cost of a home $238,880, almost six times as much as an annual salary. That's a HUGE difference of cost in quality of life.

2012-12-06-thecostofhomeownership.png

Source: Visual Economics

So why are they so goddamn adamant about keeping every penny rather than giving back to the society that allowed them to be in the position they are today? Whether we like it or not, we are all born into and part of a collective society. Did my generation toil to build the railroads and bridges? No, but we most certainly benefit from them. Educational institutions, freeways, investment systems, entertainment, restaurants, unions, libraries, parks, they're all there ready for use because of the sacrifice and work of generations past. We take so goddamn much for granted and are driven by selfishness to accumulate more and more without giving much thought or appreciation for what we have and how we got there. Why the hell are these 2 percent who have benefited so much from the U.S. economic system staying quiet, willing to take their cut, and run, leaving the economy to implode? To some degree I believe this is human nature, the insatiable thirst for more and more, a result of an ingrained survival of the fittest mentality. But as a civilization we have the capacity to be much more than that. That capability is the root of America's founding philosophy and what once made America more unique and special than any other country.

Why is the Republican party, whose constituents represent close to half the U.S. population, refusing to do what's in the collective good of their country for the sake of protecting profit for the wealthiest? What is their real agenda? Republican arguments revolve around the claim that lower tax rates result in more employment and a growing economy, but statistics show that just is not true!

In fact, any period of protracted economic growth was synchronous with high tax rates on the wealthiest.

Can someone please point this out to Republicans so they can cease with this illegitimate point of argument! So again, if this is true, why isn't anyone publicly questioning their real agenda?? The 2 percent who are staying silent should be called out by the public and the Republicans who support this greedy, treasonous and false stance should be held accountable and their loyalties examined. But I think I'm asking for too much here... Fuck it, let's just go over the cliff and see what happens, maybe it'll be a good lesson in the long run.