Increasingly, leading conservatives in Washington say they care about income inequality. Just look at the quotes below.
But their actions indicate otherwise. Both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have passed budget blueprints that would slash $5 trillion in benefits and services that mostly support working families and communities – from Medicare and Medicaid to college aid, food stamps, road building and medical research. They refuse to raise a dime of new revenue from the wealthy and corporations to help pay for deficit reduction.
On top of that the U.S. Senate, almost entirely on a party-line vote, recently approved an amendment calling for the repeal of the federal estate tax. House Republicans are likely to do the same on Tax Day. Repealing the estate tax would be a $269 billion tax giveaway to America’s wealthiest heirs. It only affects millionaires and billionaires. That has many people wondering: why are leading conservatives saying they want to fight income inequality?
Most likely because they know their economic policies are extremely unpopular – the American people want an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. So conservatives are trying to pull a fast one with their phony rhetoric, while they continue to rig the system in favor of the wealthy and corporations. They get the tax breaks, and we get a lot of brazen hypocrisy:
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
“We do have an issue of income inequality in America. The president’s policies are making that problem worse…the top third of America are doing pretty good. The bottom two-thirds are really being squeezed.” – May 12, 2014
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), lead sponsor of the estate tax repeal bill
“…Wall Street’s index values almost doubled in this economic recovery. But Main Street, middleclass families, their incomes have barely budged. … I don’t think income inequality is dragging down the economy; I think this weak economy is dragging down income equality.” – January 16, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
“Look, things are getting better. But the point is who is benefiting from this? This has been a top of the income recovery – the so-called one percent that the president’s always talking about have done quite well. But middle and lower income Americans are about $3,000 a year worse off than they were when he came to office.” – January 25, 2015
Gov. Jeb Bush
“The opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time. More Americans are stuck at their income levels than ever before. It’s very hard for people to go from the bottom rungs of the economy to the top or even the middle. This should alarm you. It has alarmed me.” – February 4, 2015
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
“…And I think Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent…. we should be fighting for the little guy.” – January 25, 2015
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
“Income inequality has worsened under this administration, and tonight President Obama offers more of the same policies — policies that have allowed the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer.” – January 20, 2015