On the campaign trail in 2008, now Vice President Joe Biden took a lot of heat when he told a crowd “paying taxes is patriotic.” Conservatives used this sound bite over and over again in attempt to paint liberals as the party of higher taxes. Sure, when taken out of context it makes for great fodder. But Biden was spot on with his analysis, and it is worth repeating again.
Conservatives today are telling us that if we don’t cut taxes for the wealthy, and for corporations, then they are all going to pack up and leave the United States. They’ll take their corporations, their profits, and their jobs and just ship them overseas while we’re asleep. This is their new favorite talking point and out-of-touch, low information voters are eating it up.
First of all, the effective tax rate for corporations (meaning the tax rate that was actually paid to the government) was 12.1 percent for the year 2011. The average tax rate paid by an American citizen is a little over 18 percent. This is on top of sales tax rates that vary by state, but average slightly over nine percent. So factually, their argument is dead on arrival.
But these are Republicans we’re dealing with, so the facts don’t matter, anyway. So let’s examine their claim without acknowledging that it is false from the start. Does anyone, even a conservative, believe that a corporation like Wal-Mart or John Deere is actually going to permanently and immediately leave America if we tax them more? Will Donald Trump move to China if his tax rate increases? Only a fool would believe these things.
These people and corporations made their money because of the policies in America, not in spite of them. It is because we have a capitalist society that promotes free enterprise that we have a wealthy elite class. They used our roads, our bridges, our police officers, our land to make their fortunes. America helped them get where they are today, so to deny this country their tax dollars is remarkably unpatriotic. In fact, you could probably argue that it borders on treason.
Nobody enjoys having to pay taxes. But we do enjoy knowing that police officers are keeping us safe; that the fire department will come if our house is on fire; that we have good, quality teachers educating our next generation of young leaders; that we have decent roads that don’t destroy our cars to drive on during our commutes – we all love these things, so shut up and pay your taxes so that the cycle can continue. Be a patriot and support the country that is supporting you.