Capitol Thoughts
Capitol Thoughts Archive

Political Poker by Janaye Ingram

Aug 11, 2012

I’m no gambler; I hate to lose.  My dad on the other hand is a big time gambler.  Even the slightest disagreement can turn into a wager ending in the words, “bet me.”  When I say no, his encouragement to play along leads to, “bet me a penny.”  Even then I stand firm that I’m not going to place an ante on the disagreement.  To him, there’s a thrill in betting, risking something in return for greater reward.  A win makes it all the more worth it and encourages further risks.  He likes placing bets on football in Delaware and playing tables in Atlantic City or Vegas.  Right now, he’d fit perfectly in the political scene in Washington, DC where members of the House are playing political poker.  The difference between the bets my dad makes and the bets that Congress is making is that Congress is betting with our lives and money as the wager.  We are the ones who face the risk in the amount of money we take home while they receive all of the reward in political power.

On July 9, 2012, the President proposed extending middle-class tax cuts that would benefit 98% of American families with incomes less than $250,000 and 97% of small businesses.  The Senate passed the measure on July 25th.  What seems like a common sense policy that would benefit millions of people including 114 million middle class families just doesn’t seem like a good bet, specifically to House Republicans.  They will only pass the measure if tax cuts are extended to the wealthy.  They are willing to wager extra money in your family’s bank account so that families who make more than $1 million would get tax breaks worth an average of $160,000.  That’s a huge risk and they are willing to make it on your family’s bank account.  Let me repeat that number – $160,000; there are families who would like to bring home that amount in a year and MILLIONAIRES will be seeing tax breaks that average that amount.  In fact, the two percent of families who would see additional tax cuts under the Republican plan have an average income of $800,000.  So while we all work hard to ensure our families have what they need, Republicans are playing poker with our money to get more for their wealthy friends and big business backers.  Somehow this doesn’t seem fair.

Under the Republican tax plan, American Opportunity Tax Credit that aids families with students in college would be eliminated. This would affect 11 million families.  The Child Tax Credit that would give families with children a tax credit of $1,000 per child under the President’s plan would be reduced.  The Earned Income Tax Credit would be eliminated for larger families and would be reduced for many married couples.  If Congress doesn’t act soon, on January 1, 2013 millions of families will face an average $1,600 tax increase.  To really make this hit home, we are talking about 7.3 million families in the State of New York, 13.2 million families in California, 8.7 million families in Texas, and 7.6 million families in Florida just to name a few states.  Every state and the District of Columbia will have families who will be affected.  I am talking about me and my family, and most likely, I am talking about your family and your next door neighbor’s family.

We cannot sit idly by while House Republicans risk our hard earned money to try to get rewards for those who need it least.  Now is the time to act!  Call your Congressional Representative and tell them to pass the middle-class tax cuts.  But don’t stop there, call House Republicans and tell them that we will not allow them to bet with our money.  Tell your friends and neighbors to call and take action.  More money in our bank accounts is not just good for our families and small businesses within our communities; more money in our bank accounts is good for the economy and good for the country.  We have learned that the economy will not grow if we only focus on giving benefits to the wealthy while leaving the low and middle income families to fend for themselves.  I won’t bet even a penny of my money to ensure that the wealthy get an average $160,000 of tax breaks.  I work too hard and want to build wealth of my own.  When it comes to this issue a win for the Republicans means a loss for hard working, middle-class families.  The risk of paying more while the rich are allowed to keep more of their money isn’t right and I hope you will fight with me to keep these tax cuts for middle-class Americans.