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Congress Needs to Stand for Struggling Americans

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I would like to respond to GOPers that are “disheartened” by the “bashing” of conservatives in the House of Representatives over their budget proposal and their staunch position on fighting new tax hikes. Contrary to what is stated by Speaker Boehner, no one is proposing any “new” tax hikes. We are only asking to go back to the tax rates of the 1990’s. The conservatives seem to have no recollection of anything that has happened pre-2008 and blames our finical crisis on “liberals using class warfare to earn points with voters to keep their jobs.” Conservatives only call it “class warfare” when we fight back.

While a Federal analysis of 2009 income showed that 45% of Americans do not pay Federal taxes, this does not account for many other taxes they do pay, such as state and local taxes, payroll taxes, sales tax and countless excise taxes. In fact, here in Virginia, the poor and middle class pay 8.8% of their income in state and local taxes, compared to only 5.2% for the wealthiest residents. How can you rationalize that the wealthy are paying their fair share or as the author claims “paying way more than their fair share” when the poor and middle classes pay a higher percentage of their income on taxes that the richest of the rich?

This budget crisis didn’t start with the Obama administration. The country’s most recent financial woes began in 2001 with the Bush tax cuts. How can the conservatives dismiss the 2.5 trillion in lost revenue that these tax cuts cost?  I’m tired of the conservatives in Washington making the elderly, poor and middle class pay for tax cuts that the wealthy do not need. At the same time, we are cutting funding for schools, transportation, police, fire, and health care; we cannot continue to afford to give giant tax cuts and huge tax subsidies to major corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

Conservatives have created a mess of our economy through massive Bush-era tax breaks for corporations and wealthy people; tax breaks that have been a primary cause for the deficit. But rather than acknowledging the role of these tax breaks in our economic nosedive, certain politicians distract us with “smoke and mirror” lies about the strains low-income people place on our economy. And these particular politicians continue to point to low-income folks as the culprits, even though they’re not the ones who are cutting jobs across the US, shipping jobs overseas, and evading taxes while making record profits.

Not only are the Bush Tax Cuts increasing the deficit, there is no evidence whatsoever that they have ever created a single job. As a matter of fact, the last decade has seen some of the worst job growth since the Great Depression.  Since 2001, tax breaks have consistently favored the wealthy, allowing them not to have to pay their fair share of taxes- which helps explain why our deficit has ballooned. Today, conservatives continue to fight tooth and nail for tax breaks for their funders, breaks that are meant to somehow create jobs. In actuality, these loopholes have done quite the opposite.

Our budget is in shambles because of ill-informed, selfish decision-making by wealthy people who influence policy and politicians. Unlike millionaires and billionaires, normal working folks can’t afford immense election contributions, including high-paid lobbyists dedicated specifically to guard their bank accounts.

Since passing the Bush tax cuts in 2001, conservatives have waged a war on state and federal estate taxes, going to drastic measures to reduce and even eliminate the estate tax completely. Yet, the estate tax only affects the wealthiest 0.27 % of people, and has the potential to bring in billions in tax revenues. In other words, a tax that would impact very few people and bring in billions seems like a reasonable solution. Instead, conservatives desire to cut services for low-income people, fight to reduce taxes on themselves, and shift the responsibility for paying taxes to middle and lower income people who can’t afford it (and shouldn’t have to).

How can conservatives claim they are serious about reducing the deficit and still continue to give huge tax breaks to the rich? Of course we need to eliminate wasteful spending, but to me it seems that both sides of this issue have very different opinions about what is wasteful and what is not. I believe we don’t necessarily have a spending problem as big as conservatives claim, but rather, we have a revenue problem. This country needs major corporations and the very wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes. By closing corporate loop holes and ending the Bush tax cuts, the country would be able to pay for vital services working Americans need.

We must stop penalizing low-income families who are not the culprits of the ruin of our economy. How much longer will we allow conservatives to villainize poor people while telling America to ignore the true culprits? The time has come for the wealthy and corporations to step up and pay their fair share. Ending the Bush tax cuts is a common sense solution to many of our budget troubles.