Should the rich be richer or should the super-rich be richer? That, as the Bard wrote, is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to inflate the income of those making a million dollars or more per year or those making only $100,000 plus per year? Of course, the man who won a majority of the votes cast favors the one million dollar plus earners as the primary beneficiaries of a new round of tax cuts. The Republicans want more than half of the tax cuts over the next five years to go to the top one percent of households, those with average incomes of $1.1 million or more. The Democrats, being the radical populists they are, favor giving the bulk of tax cuts to the poor folks earning a measly $100,000-200,000 per year.So here is our Congress, presiding over massive, world-record budget deficits, permitting immense trade imbalances, here they are trying to figure out how to reduce revenue and to whom – the rich or the super-rich – to bestow this largesse. It is so stunning as to almost defy comment. Certainly, it defies logic, sanity, and decency. But comment we must – at least some of us – so let’s continue.My question is this: Is anyone truly awake in Congress? Clearly, our elected officials are sleepwalking through the corridors of power and continuing to roll over on their backs while an economically mad-as-hatters administration continues its policy of deficit spending and revenue cutting. The insanity of this policy is apparent seemingly to every rational, awake, person in the country – except the Bush gang and the Congress. Recent surveys show that a majority of Americans understand that we cannot keep cutting taxes without allowing further deterioration of health, infrastructure, and education. Yet cut, cut, cut, the administration urges, the deficits grow, the undermining of a decent society continues, the Congress capitulates and public apathy permits the show to go on.To oversimplify, but not to distort, we have a simple choice to make – do we wish to alleviate the suffering of the bottom 20 percent of Americans – including nearly one of every six children living below the poverty level? Do we wish to help the struggling next 60 percent of Americans who are not keeping pace with inflation and are falling farther behind the top 20 percent in control of America’s assets and wealth? Or do we continue to focus the majority of tax benefits upon the rich and the super-rich? You would think the question answers itself – except that the Bush answer is the latter. Help cronies, CEOs, corporate supporters and virtually ignore all else.The argument, somehow, needs to be shifted – from deficit spending to revenue procurement. We need to seek a more level playing field, to repair America, to raise all our children in a decent society, to reject indebtedness and deficits, and to get back to savings and surpluses.We must, for a time, seek revenue where logic dictates. We should seek to cut corporate tax evasion, to eliminate offshore tax scams, to re-institute fair and progressive income taxes, to impose eco-taxes on those who profit by depleting the earth’s – and its people’s – resources, to restore estate taxes to a reasonable level, to cut defense spending and increase human resource spending. It all seems so obvious and so reasonable. No one will get hurt by providing even a slightly more level playing field. Is this to be a government of people for the people and by the people or simply a government which is the servant of 1 percent of America? At present, the answer is not a pretty one. It could be different if we cared.
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