Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) appeared on MSNBC with Chris Jansing this morning to attack President Obama’s new deficit reduction plan, which includes some tax increases on the wealthy. Taking up the typical GOP talking point, Fleming said raising taxes on wealthy “job creators” is a terrible idea that kills jobs because many of these people are small business owners who pay taxes through personal income rates.
Fleming is himself a businesses owner, so Jansing asked, “If you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of some of those employees?” Fleming responded by saying that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.” Watch it:
Jansing pointed out that whining about tax increases while making $400,000 annually is “not exactly a sympathetic position.” Fleming could only respond by saying that “class warfare has never created a job” and that his success is a “virtue.” But he noticeably never answered Jansing’s question about whether he would actually be forced to lay off workers if his taxes went up.
Considering that he has $400,000 “left over,” it seems that Fleming could actually afford to hire workers and still bring home a respectable pay. The average household income in the U.S. in 2010 was just under $50,000 — down 2.3 percent from 2009 and lower than it was in 1997.
And how hard does the congressman work to make the equivalent of eight median household incomes? Fleming told the Wall Street Journal that “he spends very little time on day-to-day management, though he weighs in on broad strategy decisions.” “I monitor the reports. I’m certainly in communication with the managers,” he told the paper.