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Gingrich: Let Rich People Decide How Long Their Tax Cuts Last

By Ian Millhiser

"Gingrich: Let Rich People Decide How Long Their Tax Cuts Last"

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Appearing on Fox News Sunday, disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed an odd method for determining how long to extend the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy — ask the very wealthy how long they want them:

What Republicans ought to do is say to people who create jobs, how many years does the tax code need to be extended for you to make an investment decision? I mean, the goal’s not to have an annual extension of the current tax code, and then have every business in the country trapped saying, “I don’t know.  I want to make a 20 year investment in a factory.” … There is a number, but I would have the business leadership of the country describe the number.

Yet, while Gingrich is perfectly happy to let the nation’s foxes decide what to do with the henhouse, he takes a very different view of how Congress should treat the most vulnerable Americans. In practically the same breath that he proposes giving a massive tax cut to Paris Hilton, he also suggests that “we change the entire [unemployment benefits] program into a worker training program and not give anybody money for doing nothing.” Watch it:

Gingrich’s proposal, to cut off unemployment benefits while giving a massive windfall to the most fortunate, is a recipe for skyrocketing unemployment.  The economy grows by nearly two dollars for every dollar spent on unemployment benefits “because recipients typically spend all of their benefit payments quickly.” The money “ripples through the economy into supermarkets, gasoline stations, utilities, convenience stores.” Flush with the revenue provided by these new consumers, those businesses are then able to hire additional workers and diminish the ranks of the unemployed.

Tax cuts for the rich, on the other hand, are only marginally more useful than simply burning the money.  Indeed, corporate America is presently sitting on a massive $1.6 trillion in cash reserves, but their actions in recent months demonstrate that business leaders would rather let this money grow mold than actually spend it to put Americans back to work. Gingrich offers no explanation for why simply giving the rich even more money to hoard will magically cause them to spend it on hiring people.

Moreover, while Gingrich’s proposed windfall for the Kardashians would no doubt win wide support from the superrich CEOs he wants to set tax policy, his idea is massively out of step with the rest of the country. Only 26 percent of Americans believe that Donald Trump needs another tax cuts. Likewise, Americans reject Gingrich’s plan to let the unemployed eat cake by a massive 3 to 1 margin.

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