Republicans defend tax cuts for the wealthy as they stand before an audience of ordinary working people, shake their finger and say, “I’m not going to let the government take your hard earned money!” It resonates with us. It sounds fair. I worked hard for it and it’s mine. How dare my government take my hard earned money and hand it over to that lazy person. That’s not fair!
Of course, the person who may receive that hard earned money is most likely a poor hard working soul in dire need and not the stereotypical “Welfare Queen”. Then again, that welfare queen may very well be Republican Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa who called for cutting food stamps after her family collected $460,000 in farm aid, but I digress.
“Hard Earned Money” is a phrase used by the right to fool the American voter into believing that all wealth is earned and earning it requires significant sweat, muscle, and fatigue.
What we are missing here is that our hard earned money is not the same as the hard earned money of the wealthy.
When we hear “hard earned money”, we think of ourselves. We think of the times that we have worked in difficult conditions, for long hours, at physically or mentally exhausting tasks, all for average or low wages. Yeah, we worked hard for the money. (cue the Donna Summer soundtrack) If we worked hard for our money, the wealthy people must have worked even harder for their money, right? Well, no, not from my experience.
Personally, I make most of my money by working. I’ve had some hard jobs. I’ve made a little money and I know what hard work is. I’ve also made some money by investing. It’s not a lot but I can’t really say that I’ve worked hard for it. I worked hard for the principle amount that I invested, but the rest? I go to the mailbox, open the envelope from my 401K and there is $2,000 that I “made” last month. I’m happy to have it and I’d like to keep a good portion of it, but I can’t honestly say that I worked hard for it.
Steven A. Cohen, whose hedge fund firm plead guilty to securities fraud, has “earned” billions of dollars. My goodness, what a hard worker, eh? That’s a lot of hard work. That’s a lot of floors swept, miles driven, bed pans changed, drywall hung, code written, papers graded, or other sorts of hard work that people like you & me are familiar with.
He must possess super human strength or at least, an IQ of four figures to be able to work hard enough to “earn” ten figures in the way that you and I earn our wages.
Are Cohen’s billions as “hard earned” as the $52K that the average American makes and is it fair to defend a lower tax rate on hedge fund traders and the like by appealing to the work ethic of the American voter?
No, and this has to be at the forefront of the Democratic Party.
Across party lines and throughout independents, Americans believe in fairness. Republicans have co-opted this principle and perverted it for their own gain.
It’s time to take it back, tell the truth, and let the American voters know which party believes in hard work, responsibility, and fairness.