Leading up to election day, I have heard a lot from Republicans, particularly Bush, about how Democrats tax everything that breathes and about how the Republicans offer us relief through tax breaks. Since this is one of the Republicans’ main platforms for being re-elected, I thought I would annihilate it with some cold hard facts.
I would like to clear up some misconceptions about Bush’s tax breaks. The last two tax breaks approved were only for households whose annual incomes exceeded one million dollars. Another one was approved for annual household incomes that exceeded $200,000. The last tax cut was juxtaposed with a budget bill that cut tens of billions of dollars in social programs, including Medicaid/Medicare, public education, Head Start programs, federal foster care programs, social security income for the disabled, etc. all on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, where people were probably in more dire need of these programs. For more information on the last budget bill, you can look up my past article “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Budget?” on e-talkinghead.com, which was picked up for national publication in Z Magazine, also available online.
In companion with the tax breaks given to individual households, Bush and his Congress (they are NOT mine) have also approved dozens of gold mines worth of tax breaks and incentives for poor starving industries such as Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, and several other oil, gas, coal, and transportation industries.
No one likes to pay taxes, but we have to come to understand as a society that taxes pay for crucial infrastructure and services, not just the “handouts” of welfare people bemoan but those public libraries we love, the hospitals and emergency rooms we rush our children to when afflicted with 101 fevers or appendicitis, the law enforcement we need for protection and the public schools a vast majority of people in our country send our children to and have attended ourselves. Taxes help provide for veteran’s benefits and help fund the Army Corps of Engineers (which had already been cut prior to Katrina, leaving their works on rebuilding the levees incomplete).
It is inane to approve billions of dollars in tax breaks for millionaires and big businesses in a time of war and a time when we have “refugees”(a distasteful term) from our own New Orleans desperate for social services and at a time when our own soldiers do not have proper protective equipment and obsolete gear/weapons.
Because of Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy, the burden has been shifted more to the middle and working-class to pay the bills for our country. Because of his breaks, our deficit is expected to soar into the trillions in the next few years (Clinton left office with a multi-million dollar SURPLUS in the treasury). Because of these breaks, libraries will close, schools will run threadbare on necessary supplies and the sick will go without medical attention. The cycle will only perpetuate more people who will need welfare because of paltry schools that leave them with little choice for their futures, and because without a raising of the minimum wage (a proposal Republicans balk at, which is on the ballot in several states today) people who work 60 hours a week at Wal-Marts and other such stores across the country will still be forced to go on Medcaid and food stamps to provide for their families, costing other taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
When we vote today, let us not think we are getting a break (tax or otherwise) from Bush or this Congress if we choose to re-elect them. I say Bush as well, because without a GOP-controlled Congress to pander to his wants, he is left virtually powerless. If we choose to re-elect a GOP-controlled Congress we are dooming our schools and libraries, foster care children, the disabled, Hurricane Katrina victims, the Bill of Rights, many of the wrongly persecuted at secret and illegal war camps around the world, our own soldiers and ourselves if we dare to speak of these things and covet our civil rights and personal liberties. It is time we have a Congress and a country of accountability that will shift the burden of reponsibility back to those who are actually responsible: onto the industries and few who have caused this country its economic and diplomatic distress.