Republicans were quick to accuse Democrats of engaging in a “class war” when Democrats began to criticize President Bush’s tax cut plan, a plan that includes a complete end to the stock dividend tax, which heavily favors the nation’s ultra-rich.
The truth is, these tax cuts are just another battle in the ongoing class war that the wealthy have been waging for centuries.
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said that the tax cuts fairly favor the rich.
He said that since over a third of lower income Americans do not pay taxes, the wealthy bear most of the tax burden and should receive the bigger cuts.
The Wall Street Journal echoed this sentiment last year in an editorial that argued that this so-called “non-taxpaying class” (those who are too poor to pay taxes) were essentially a drain on the government because they were not contributing anything to the system.
Silly me, I thought the non-taxpaying class were the people who can afford accountants to find loopholes in the tax code and convenient offshore bank accounts to conceal their lucre.
These attacks on the working poor highlight how out of touch right-wingers like Bush and Santorum are with reality.
The supposed “third” who are not paying taxes most likely includes students who don’t register on the tax brackets and families who are too poor to feed themselves.
How can we expect a single mother who earns minimum wage to pay taxes?
Wealthy families are hardly left without food on the table after April 15.
The elimination of the dividend tax alone would save the top 5 percent of Americans an average of $27,000, while those making between $40,000 and $60,000 would save less than a $100. Imagine how excited those making even less are.
Besides the fact that these tax cuts are ridiculously biased towards the wealthy, they are coming at a time when the U.S. government is running at a deficit that is topping hundreds of billions of dollars.
With a looming war in Iraq estimated at a cost of $200 billion, homeland security spending, and Bush’s $600 billion tax cut plan, the few years of surplus at the end of the last decade are a distant memory.
This is eerily reminiscent of President Reagan’s tax cuts in the 1980s, all the while increasing defense spending exponentially.
The Reagan tax cuts were based on the theory of trickle down economics. The result?
Unemployment rose and the only group to do better was the rich.
Republicans are content to cry class war because they sit on the side that is better equipped to fight such a war.
The rich buy accountants, lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians to do their bidding.
Meanwhile, the working poor and the simply poor must rely on badly funded, media-ignored groups like the Kensington Welfare Rights Union to stand up for their concerns.
Who would you bet your money on?
Brian White can be reached at Zapata@temple.edu