One of the key issues at stake in the ongoing lame duck congressional session is whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Conservatives have argued for extending these tax cuts, despite their cost of adding $830 billion to the federal budget deficit over the next ten years. Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) took to the House floor to visualize the impact of the Bush tax cuts on the wallets of the richest Americans. The congressman explained that, for the top one percent of income earners in the United States — those who earn at least $1.4 million a year — the Bush tax cuts would give them a tax break of $83,347 a year.
“Let’s give some thought as to what the high and mighty might do with that money,” the Florida congressman said. Used floor charts, Grayson explained that the $83,347 a year was enough to buy 800 expensive cigars — “that’s one for the morning and one for the evening” — and “light each one of those cigars with a hundred dollar bill.” Watch it:
In addition to allowing the rich to buy 800 high-priced cigars and smoke them with 100 dollar bills, here are a few other luxuries that Grayson calculated the richest one percent of Americans could afford if the Bush tax cuts were continued:
- A Mercedes Benz E-Class Car Every Year: Grayson explained that the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans would provide them with enough money to purchase an “$83,000 Mercedes Benz E-Class car, not just once, but every single year for the next decade.”
- An Elite Designer Handbag Every Year: The congressman revealed that the richest Americans could purchase a “gorgeous Hermies bag, a Birkin, for $64,800 dollars. Not once, but every single year for the next ten years. For which they will say to the Republican party, ‘Thank you very much.’”
- A Bottle Of Wine Bottled in 1787 Every Year: Grayson explained that the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans would provide them with enough cash to buy a “bottle of Chatteau d’Yquem wine bottled in 1787 for only $56,588, that will leave them loose change in their pocket of $25,000. They can buy a bottle of wine from 1787 every year for the next decade. Thank you Republican Party.”
- 20,000 Jars Of Grey Poupon Every Year: “They can buy 20,000 jars of their favorite mustard, Grey Poupon. 20,000 jars,” Grayson exclaimed. “That’s certainly enough for them, their family, their friends, even a few poor people. Thank you Republican Party!”
As Congress continues to debate the fate of the Bush tax cuts, it’s unclear whether the richest Americans will face a tax hike soon. However, the American people side with Grayson, apparently believing that at a time when income inequality is higher than since the 1920s, the richest Americans don’t need extra tax breaks. A recent CNN poll found that 64 percent of Americans want to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire. A separate NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 23 percent want to keep the cuts.