ThinkProgress filed this report from Newport, New Hampshire.
Throughout their fight to maintain corporate tax breaks and preserve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans have continually blamed their opponents of attempting to wage “class warfare” against the rich. Most recently, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) — himself worth more than $200 million — blasted questioners at the Iowa State Fair, saying, “There was a time in this country when we didn’t celebrate attacking people based on their success and when we didn’t go after people because they were successful.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who received Romney’s endorsement during her 2010 campaign, took up that mantle at a recent town hall. She told a questioner who asked why corporations and the wealthy were being spared while government programs that largely benefit the middle- and lower-classes were facing cuts that there are ways to balance the budget without waging “class warfare”:
AYOTTE: My point is, we can do tax reform, I think, in a way that it’s not a discussion about class warfare or this or, I think we can do it in a productive way where we look at simplifying our tax code, and we do it in a way that would actually lower rates for everyone and be fair.
Ayotte stuck to the GOP talking points of increasing revenues without raising tax rates, bolstering her position on the intransigence that played a major role in Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the nation’s credit rating earlier this month.
But if there is indeed a class war taking place, it looks much different than the one Ayotte described. As ThinkProgress has noted, the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans has exploded to unprecedented levels as the richest Americans have seen their income quadruple even as their tax rates halved. Corporations are also paying some of their lowest taxes in history, with many of America’s largest companies paying little-to-nothing at all. Tax dodging by corporations cost the average U.S. taxpayer $434 in 2010.
Meanwhile, 23 consecutive polls show that Americans continue to support using tax increases on the wealthy to help pay down the nation’s debt.