“The reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone – even raising taxes on the rich,” Lee argued, is “that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Lest listeners get the wrong idea, the Utah Senator insisted, “it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich.”
LEE: People need to understand that the reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone – even raising taxes on the rich – it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich, it’s not that we’re concerned that the rich won’t be able to fend for themselves, because they will. It’s because we worry about the consequences that will inevitably result from that action and that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.
This prospect, frequently repeated by conservatives, that raising taxes on the wealthy will decimate the economy and destroy job creation (and thus hurt the poor) is simply not supported by empirical evidence. As these three graphs show, the nation’s best GDP growth and job creation rate in the last 60 years actually occurred when the top marginal income tax rate was between 75 and 80 percent. The worst period for both measurements occurred when the top rate was 35 percent, as it stands today. In fact, job growth and gross domestic product has little, if any, correlation to the tax rate on wealthy Americans.
Of course, Lee’s compassion for the poor does not extend to the actual government services that provide a safety net for those less fortunate. He voted for the House Republican budget that slashes low-income programs in order to finance the very tax breaks he supports. Lee also authored the Cut, Cap, and Balance constitutional amendment, a proposal so extreme that not even the GOP budget would go far enough in its cuts to be considered legal.