What would a billionaire do with another tax cut? Found a company? Hire the unemployed? Not likely — not in this economy.

Based on my 25 years of business experience, in which, I’ve had frequent occasion to deal with many wealthy business owners, there’s only one force on earth that leads to productive investment and widespread hiring; consumer demand whether it be products or services.

How do we generate that demand? One way is to cut taxes on the middle class — the true engine of our economy — the real “job creators.”

Another is to make smart, targeted public investments in goods and services like repaired roads, refurbished bridges, better education and improved health care; paying for them with slightly higher taxes on the most fortunate among us.

Not only will workers be hired, but our infrastructure will be improved, making future business more profitable. The newly hired workers will begin to buy again, creating demand, which in turn will lead to more hiring. A virtuous cycle will have begun.

By contrast, tax cuts bestowed on the wealthy in the midst of a lackluster recovery are an expensive dead end. The money will simply be squirreled away, very possibly overseas.

In terms of the economic benefit of high-end tax breaks, it’s clear we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns.

Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe can support an effective tax and spending policy by voting tax relief for middle-income taxpayers — the 98 percent of us who make less than a quarter million dollars a year — while allowing Bush-era tax cuts on the top 2 percent of households to expire on schedule at year’s end.

Both women have showed themselves in the past able to resist partisan pressure — they just need to hear from us, their constituents, that we’re counting on them to do the right thing.

John Miles


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