If I’ve ever been in love, it happened once (I even wrote this blog about her). In short, I wanted to be her husband. Never felt that way before her, can’t say that I’ve truly had such a conviction since. The problem was that she had a child and although I tried, I could never quite adjust myself to an instant family and the “other” guy that came along with it- the child’s father. In all of our back and forth, I sometimes got the feeling that the one party not adequately considered was the kid.
Her pregnancy was under less than ideal circumstances. Ultimately, she chose to have and raise the child because of her pro-life convictions. I’m not sure that I saw it the same. I care very deeply not only for life but quality of life and thus I was never convinced it was the best choice to have and/or parent the child. I always wondered whether she thought enough about the child’s life. In our interaction, my mind was consumed with this child and whether I could provide what was needed for it. As a mother, of course she cared deeply for her child. Even so, she seemed to minimize the impact of that child on our potential relationship. I sometimes think that because she lived day to day with a child, the thought of how a child would impact me/us was drastically overlooked.
Such is the dynamic in most relationships and conflicts: the most vulnerable party is overlooked or considered far too little. The same is true in the current debate over the “fiscal cliff“. In an attempt to address the country’s long-term fiscal health, Republicans have insisted that we reign in our debt as a nation- a problem they seemingly discovered the day after Obama was elected in 2008. Long story short, if Congress doesn’t reach a compromise soon an automatic $607 billion in tax and spending cuts will be triggered. No one really wants that.
The most contentious item in all this is the part about raising taxes and most specifically, increasing the marginal tax rates of the wealthy. Republicans are largely (though not unanimously) in opposition to this. The President would like to increase the rate for the wealthy to about 40% (an increase of about 4%). This is what the big fight is over. Compare that with the marginal tax rates of poor and working people. Those are actually closer to 90% in many cases. The issue is that marginal taxes measure the amount of money taken out of each additional dollar a worker earns. Therefore, as Evan Soltas’ recent article points out, a “single mother would have almost no more in after-tax income earning $8,000 before taxes than she would if she earned $25,000. That…poses a severe disincentive for the poor to seek work, which will probably be low-paying.”
I find it disturbing that many in Congress debate the impact raising marginal tax rates has on the very wealthy and advocate so fiercely on their behalf when those most adversely impacted by marginal tax rates are the poor and working. For the super-rich, the difference in a few percentage points might be which yacht to buy. For the poor, it is survival. Just as in my past relationship, not enough thought is being extended to the most vulnerable in this discussion.