GORDON: Conservatives Should Support Tax Hikes On The Top 1%, Corporations

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J. D. Gordon Former Pentagon Spokesman, George W. Bush Administration
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Editor’s note: We endeavor to bring you the top voices on current events representing a range of perspectives. Below is a column arguing that we should raise taxes on the top 1% and large corporations. You can find a counterpoint here, where Dr. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation argues that raising taxes on the wealthy would harm the economic recovery and is ineffective at raising government revenue.

Up until recently, it was easy to figure out America’s two major political parties.

Republicans advocated for lower taxes, big business, banks, defense hawks, free market economics and small government. Democrats fought for higher taxes, labor unions, social welfare programs, anti-war activists and big government.

But two events 20 years ago have gradually re-shaped much of that conventional wisdom, requiring a review of our political parties, their values, voting blocs and economic philosophies.

First, the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks of 9/11 sparked two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which killed over 6,600 Americans, wounded over 50,000 and cost trillions of dollars.

Second, since China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, we’ve seen a loss of 3.7 million American jobs, mostly in manufacturing and technology.

Republicans have reacted by mostly doubling down on patriotism even while many grew skeptical of so-called “endless wars” they primarily signed up to fight. Meanwhile, the increasingly influential progressive wing of the Democrats soured further on America, branding it a racist and colonial empire and pushing a form of totalitarianism known as the “woke” revolution. Dissenters deserve gulags and “re-education,” some of them openly say.

Despite those vastly different outlooks, both parties became big spenders. They erased a balanced budget during the Clinton-era, Republican-led Congress of the 1990s and piled up a $28 trillion debt today.

Tackling that national debt, which outpaces our annual GDP of roughly $21 trillion, is important to avoid potentially skyrocketing inflation while instilling confidence in the dollar as the world’s #1 reserve currency. A collapse of the dollar would be catastrophic for Americans.

Since Democrats haven’t backed off high government spending, evidenced by a $1.9 trillion COVID relief act of which only about 9% directly goes to fighting the pandemic as some wisely point out, taxes must be raised for America to financially stay afloat.

President Biden’s economic plan calls for the first major tax increases since 1993. He plans to increase the income tax rates for those making over $400,000 a year, raise corporate rates from 21% to 28% and enact other changes to ensure the wealthy pay more.

Conservatives ought to support him on this.

That’s because the groups Biden is primarily targeting – corresponding to the top 1% of earners depending on their states, plus corporations, have mostly been converted into “wokes.” Far too many of them are hammering America while virtue signaling alleged moral superiority, ironically touting socialism and investing in China. If they are going to damage the country so badly from within, often naively, the least they can do is pay more taxes to help keep it solvent.

An analysis by AEI resident fellow Michael Barone for the Capital Research Center in 2017 entitled, “Which Party is the Party of the 1 Percent?” showed it’s the Democrats. In America’s elite neighborhoods, e.g. Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Chicago’s North Shore, Boston’s Brookline and Philadelphia’s Main Line, he shows the Democrats with a 2-1 fundraising advantage. Not surprising, considering who makes over $400,000 per year: Wall Street bankers and lawyers, CEOs, tech sector entrepreneurs, entertainment media, celebrities, professional sports figures, university leaders, etc. Groups trending far-left politically.

On the corporate side, apart from some American industry sectors, it’s “woke-topia.” Anybody sitting through Super Bowl commercials in recent years knows that. And poor guys like New Orleans Saints’ recently retired quarterback Drew Brees, the NFL’s all-time passing leader, can’t even defend the American flag without getting shamed into apologizing via a struggle session reminiscent of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution 50 years ago in Communist China. The only thing missing was his dunce cap.

Even when corporations lose money for offensive America-shaming, their CEOs still profit with compensation packages often into the tens of millions, well documented in a 2019 report by The Daily Caller.

Speaking of CEOs, a 2020 USA Today study showed that during the coronavirus pandemic, “America’s 614 billionaires grew their net worth by a collective $931 billion.” Jack Dorsey of Twitter enriched himself by $7.8 billion. Sergei Brin and Larry Page, co-founders of Google, by $19 billion. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook by $46 billion. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, by $90 billion. Right, the same people who pour money into Democrat causes while de-platforming and canceling their fellow citizens through left-wing ideological fact checkers, content moderators and purported journalists.

Meanwhile, 1 out of 4 small businesses closed in 2020, yet global corporations thrived. An AOL.com 2020 report which listed the top 50 companies increasing their net worth during the pandemic showed Amazon and Paypal grew +79% each, while both Fedex and UPS registered +36%. Explains all those delivery trucks whizzing through my neighborhood while mom & pop shops, especially at malls, are now shuttered thanks to coronavirus-related excessive lockdowns.

So yes, by all means, boost taxes on the top 1% and corporations. Increase income tax rates for billionaires instead of capping it off at half-millionaires. Cut loopholes for their capital gains and tax havens. Enforce anti-trust laws against Big Tech monopolies. It’s a lazy excuse to say they’ll never pay, especially while they recklessly transform America into Orwell’s 1984.

And better do it now while Democrats are still willing to raise taxes on their wealthiest donors. Many old school Republicans need a wake-up call. Conservatives must demand it.

J.D. Gordon is a former Senior National Security & Foreign Policy Advisor to several Republican national leaders.  Previously, he served as a Pentagon spokesman during the George W. Bush Administration and is a retired Navy Commander.