A Puzzled Republic – What this Tax Deal is Really About


Puzzles are arduous to assemble. It’s challenging to pinpoint each individual component to construct the perfect fusion. Each piece gives rise to its own struggle, its own weight. Setbacks ensue, distractions pop up. Different people exhibit different levels of devotion to the puzzle. Building puzzles takes forever. But destroying them only takes a moment.

The puzzle of our fundamental framework — the multifaceted ideological (and more than pragmatic) enigma of the structure of our representative republic — is ever-rapidly sliding off of the table. Our government’s foundational principle is in peril. Forget about “taxation without representation.” What’s happening right now is under-taxation as a result of over-representation.

Let’s break this down so it is clear how I’ve arrived at my seemingly austere conclusion. Assume, for the time being, that the two central issues on Washington’s agenda are 1) the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the upper class and 2) the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. In very simplistic terms, the “upper class” is comprised of the top two percent of income-earners in this country; that is, the people in the ninety-ninth and hundredth percentile of income earned. The “middle class,” in a matter of words, is almost everyone else.

In the consummate representative government — isn’t that America? — the populations that carry the most weight (the groups that make up larger slices of the American pie) yield more representation in Congress. That, of course, is not to say that minorities and underdogs should go unaccounted for on the national stage. But when ninety eight percent of the country’s wage earners can be classified under one category, the remaining two percent’s voice in Congress should not transcend the overwhelming majority’s.

The culmination of Washington’s latest deliberations seems to entail a “compromise” to extend a tax credit for the two percent of the country who can afford to forgo precisely that credit. That two percent is entitled to the same representation that the rest of the country is; it is not, however, entitled to disproportionate influence on the Hill.

The puzzle is sliding off of the table. The pieces are falling out of place. The slope is a slippery one. And in the wake of the impending critical Congressional term, the question that Americans need to start asking vehemently is: whom do our representatives really represent? We need to ask because puzzles take centuries to build, but they only take one pivotal moment to destroy. Without that question, that moment is now.

About these ads

About Ami Fields-Meyer

Ami Fields-Meyer is an undergraduate at Emory University. He has written more than 140 articles for Truth Be Told Politics. His pieces on both politics and religion have also appeared in the Huffington Post, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, Sh'ma, the Emory Wheel, and the Milken Roar. Ami likes to listen to the Dave Matthews Band, can quote Anchorman start to finish, and relishes a good bowl of hummus.
This entry was posted in Budget and Economics, Law, Political Polarization and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Puzzled Republic – What this Tax Deal is Really About

  1. Adam Moskow says:

    I agree 100%. I like that phrase, Ami. You should copyright the phrase, “under-taxation as a result of over-representation”.

  2. gr8ful says:

    Great point about taking a long time to build but just an instant to destroy.

    Is there a tax plan in the works that you do agree with? What would you suggest?

  3. happy reader says:

    Ami,

    How sad it is that every disappointing, disgusting and despicable item and action you list is the truth. We are tottering, and while I’m hopeful there is still time to be turned upright–to eventually gain balance again– the treachery and close mindedness that has invaded (and may be overtaking)the realm of national power is frightening. You point out whose influence is being felt. So here’s the question: Will the women and men of real conscience in our two legislative chambers have the courage to dissent from the so-called bipartisan agreement ( a farcical term) and take action? I’ll say yeah with this caveat:From my mouth…

Comment this Piece

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s