Political Correction

NPR Blasts A Hole In GOP's "Intuitive" Opposition To Millionaires' Surtax

December 09, 2011 1:00 pm ET - by Kate Conway

The GOP's go-to justification for their steadfast opposition to asking millionaires to pay their fair share is that the wealthy are America's job creators, and therefore raising millionaires' taxes will hurt job creation. Sen. Jon Thune (R-SD) calls this "intuitive." It's such a principal tenet of the GOP's anti-tax faith that the party is opposing a Democratic proposal to extend the payroll tax cut because it would be paid for with a millionaires' surtax.

But when NPR's Morning Edition went looking for real live millionaires to bolster the GOP's point, they came up empty-handed. First, they asked Republicans in Congress:

We wanted to talk to business owners who would be affected. So, NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.

Then, they turned to business organizations opposing the surtax:

So we went to the business groups that have been lobbying against the surtax. Again, three days after putting in a request, none of them was able to find someone for us to talk to. A group called the Tax Relief Coalition said the problem was finding someone willing to talk about their personal taxes on national radio.

Finally, they asked the masses. Bingo!

So next we put a query on Facebook. And several business owners who said they would be affected by the "millionaires surtax" responded.

Only those actual millionaire job creators didn't exactly agree with the GOP:

"It's not in the top 20 things that we think about when we're making a business hire," said Ian Yankwitt, who owns Tortoise Investment Management. [...] Yankwitt says deciding to bring on another employee is all about return on investment. Will adding another person to the payroll make his company more successful? [...]

"If my taxes go up, I have slightly less disposable income, yes," said [Jason] Burger, co-owner of CSS International Holdings, a global infrastructure contractor. "But that has nothing to do with what my business does. What my business does is based on the contracts that it wins and the demand for its services." Burger says his Michigan-based company is hiring like crazy, and he'd be perfectly willing to pay the surtax.

Burger's comment that his hiring is based on "demand" — not tax rates or, say, regulations — echoes exactly what economists, the Treasury Department, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other business owners have been trying to tell the Republican Party — to no avail.

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