Chart of the Day: The Great American Pay Freeze

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Maybe all President Obama needs to break through the GOP’s wall of opposition to ending the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich is a new sales strategy. Michael Ettlinger of the Center for American Progress has a suggestion: pitch the expiration of the cuts as a temporary pay freeze for America’s wealthiest individuals.

Here’s how the math works out, according to Ettlinger. Assuming high-end incomes continue rising at the same rate they have over the past ten years, allowing the Bush cuts to expire at the end of 2012 would have the equivalent effect of a 10-month pay freeze for the richest 1 percent:

Does that matter to the Republicans of 2011? Probably not.

But rich GOPers who are terrified by the potential long-term effects of S&P’s downgrade of the US’ credit rating should think hard about whether their party’s hardline anti-tax stanch is really in their best interests. Absent a long-term solution for plugging the deficit—and any solution short of America’s transformation into libertarian fantasyland is going to require more revenues—America’s debt will eventually be downgraded again. If that happens, the cost of borrowing money, expanding businesses, and creating jobs will spike. Do rich Republicans really want that? Probably not. In the long run, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is about keeping the rich… rich.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate