The very wealthy on Wall Street and their political arm, the Neoconservative Republican Party got us into this horrific Recession. Teachers didn’t do it. Nurses didn’t do it. The poor who wanted to own homes and were sold fake mortgages by unscrupulous real estate mortgage brokers didn’t do it.
Wall Street, with the active participation of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Christopher Cox did it. Those three men, in earlier ages would have been drawn and quartered and their heads hung on pikes on the city square. Fortunately for them, we don’t do that any more. So we should apply today’s punishment…they should be indicted for deliberate fraud, tried in a Federal court, and if convicted…and there would be no doubt about that….sentenced to serve time in a federal prison…or at Guantanamo.
Wall Street and top executives and owners of major corporations caused this mess, with the help of the Republicans. Let them pay the bill. You’re going to see how we can do it easily, without cutting back on any social services whatsoever. Any politician who does not follow this….and support it…and urge it…should be drummed out of office.
This is about the American Way. This is about fairness and justice and the energy to change and to “throw the bums out.” Here’s how we can do it.
1. Tax the rich. It will bring us $4 trillion over ten years and balance the budget by itself.
We will retire the Bush tax cuts and return not only to the Clinton tax rates when the entire country prospered, but we will raise them by 5%. The restoration of the tax cuts will generate $2.5 trillion dollars over ten years…which is only what they cost us over ten years. But we will then add 5% to the top one percent of income earners which will create another $1.5 trillion. This first step will restore balance to revenues and current outlays and balance the budget.
Let’s look at how little this will affect the rich. Let’s take the group considered to be the poorest of the rich, those those people who make over $250,000 per year, the people that the President wanted to raise taxes on. They pay 35% on income but only on that amount over about $380,000. On the first $8,500 they pay 10%, on the next $30,000 or so they pay 15%… and so on. Actually someone making $250,000 only gets up to the 33% bracket, not the top bracket.
But even if you are in the top 35% bracket, you only pay about 23% or less. So, here is a guy making $250,000 and he pays about…let’s be very conservative…about 22%. This leaves him or her with about $195,000 or about $16,000 a month. Now this person may be a CPA or an attorney and or even a doctor and deserves that kind of income. But we have had a long history of being socially conscious. At least that has been our public demeanor. We have been very careful to rationalize our insensitivity. But what are we talking about here?
Let’s say that we raised the tax rate on this man or woman makeing $250,000 per year by 5%. Even if it were all taxed at 5%, the increase would still leave this family or this individual with at least $15,000 per month. It would be more likely to leave something like $16,000 per month. So now we have the person whom we want to tax having paid about as much in an increase as the entire amount that the retired woman has for an annual income. Plus, the taxpayer person will get something like several thousand dollars a month when he or she retires….so long as he or she does not kill Social Security by voting Republican, because payments generally keep going up.
The independent Citizens for Tax Justice, the authority on tax cuts and increases, says that we would return $2.5 trillion to the Treasury over ten years by simply re-instituting the Bush Tax cuts rather than letting them go on, as the Republicans forced the President to do. So, right there we would restore a very large amount of the wealth that was stolen from us and would reduce the national debt. But that alone is not enough.
We need to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans even more. They are the ones who have accumulated huge amounts of wealth over time. We are not saying that we should take away their wealth. We are saying that we should tax them more on their current, ongoing income.
You have seen on this blog how many new millionaires and billionaires have been created since Ronald Reagan took office, while average wages have stayed flat and income for the Middle Class has actually gone down. Just as a reminder, in 1980, there was one billionaire in this country. By 1988, there were 88. in 2011 there are 403 U.S. billionaires (89 women). Billionaires can afford to pay 40% of their incomes in taxes. Or 45%. Spending a million dollars a year, it would take a billionaire 12 lifetimes to spend all that money. Don’t feel sorry for billionaires who have to pay 5% or even 10% more in taxes. Most will never even know it happened.
And now, of course, the wealthy elite are no longer the responsible Eastern Establishment, like those who surrounded George W. Bush’s father, and dropped out of Yale and Harvard to serve the country in WWII. No, this generation of GOP leaders are the cowards, like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who were draft dodgers, who never should have been elected to anything, but who are being supported by the Koch Family, who, we know know, had Nazi affiliations. It is no surprise, therefore, that Fred Koch was one of the founders of the infamous John Birch Society or that his sons want to wipe out the Middle Class.
Texas oilmen bought the media and have been promoting Right Wing propaganda to the ignorant and bigoted poor of the South ever since. Here’s just one example. Clear Channel, owned by a bunch of Texans, had about 1,600 radio stations at one time. They found a Right Wing blowhard who had never held a steady job, an obese loser, with no scruples…just pay me the money…and would go on the air and lie, day after day, against Clinton, his wife, John Kerry and every other Democrat.
Rush Limbaugh..he pretended to be the country boy’s friend. But he was anything but. He has become hugely wealthy, making over $200 million dollars and then getting another contract, which he is on right now, for $400 million…just by ratting out the public. By lying about legislation that would help those poor people in small towns all across the country that he persuades to vote against their own best interests. in some areas of the country, for many years, you could not hear anything in the afternoon but Rush Limbaugh as you traveled from city to city. And in those 1600 Clear Channel stations, or the affiliates that grew to as many as 5,000, it was all pure Republican propaganda.
Look at the Red states. They are the old Confederate slave states, ones that were decimated by the old slave holders’ reluctance to pay their African imported slaves even a penny a day but instead went to war to continue this most despicable and anti-Christian practice. Those bitter slaveholders influenced generation of poor white Southern farmers to brutalize blacks, doing everything in their power to seek revenge.
Now we live with that legacy of bigotry and hatred and cruelty in the very words of the Southern senators. There is nothing honorable about these men. Or courageous. They are cowards and pagans. Their very names…Vitter, DeMint, Sessions, Corker, and Inhofe will go down in history as a blight on this country, a stain on the institution of the Senate.
And now we have these new southern oil men, the inheritors of the H.L. Hunt tradition, followers in the footsteps of one of the most unabashed, self-confessed bigots in American history. Using thinly-veiled, shallow Christian Evangelical Fundamentalism, they have spread this policy of exclusion and hate to the border states, Ohio, Missouri, and Kansas. And now look into whose hands those states have fallen…Blount, Brownback, and in Ohio, governor Kasich…as heartless and cruel a man as ever left Wall Street to ruin Main Street, selling off the state to his pals for nickels on the dollar…selling out teachers, firemen, cops…the fabric of our society to his Wall Street pals.
2. Cut the military budget by $200 billion a year, $2 trillion over ten years.
We spend $700 billion a year on the military. Who is our chief enemy? Libya? We can’t even attack them without hitting people who are on our side. Afghanistan? What are we even doing there? Everyone in the world says that there are no more than a hundred Al Queada left. Pakistan? Nonsense. Iraq? Iran? Syria? There is no reason for us to be anywhere in the Middle East with armies or navies or marines. China? The Chinese are so involved with commerce that they can’t even begin to think about military operations anywhere outside China. They do not now and never have. Their military is strictly defensive.
So let’s bring the troops home and cut the military budget by $200 billion a year. We could do it easily and still have a military budget greater than all the rest of the world combined, including Russia, the countries of the Middle East, China, North and South Korea and Western Europe. If that amount of money will not make us safe, then we will never be safe. The fact is that this money is purely for the military-industrial complex that has taken over this country and we need to defeat it once and for all.
3. Change the way we do business. Tax corporations and cut corporate tax loopholes. $100 billion a year, $1 trillion over ten years.
Corporations used to comprise up to 30% of our federal revenues. Now, thanks to Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, they not only pay less, they pay almost nothing at all. Less than 7% of all Federal revenues come from corporations. We’ll cut offshore corporate tax loopholes and make sure that if you want to be a U.S. corporation, meaning that you can move offshore, but you cannot live off shore and stay an American citizen, then you pay 10% of your gross sales to the U.S. government. No deductions, no higher tax rates, just a straight 10% of sales.
Furthermore, any U.S. corporation that makes a product in China or India or Brazil or Mexico can bring it back into the United States and sell it at any outlet anywhere for a mere 5% fee. If the product is made in the U.S. there is no additional fee. So this will bring in huge revenues, but we do not count it because all those revenues will go to creating incentives for U.S. corporate start ups and expansion to create more jobs.
So, all of this goes to answer the question: How do we pay for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? These things will not only pay for social services, but will provide the revenues to improve them after the first ten-year period has reduced the deficit back to where it was before Bush.
This will all go to help the people who have no billion dollar incomes, or those who have been thrown out of work or hit hard by medical expenses or have a bright child but cannot afford enormous tuition fees. It will help the disabled. Let’s just see how.
Someone becomes disabled. Can’t work. This situation happens more often than you might think. After recovery of injury or illness, the person must wait until an evaluation says he or she may get disability payments. Depending on the type of injury, the person may not be able to perform the prior occupation or any occupation and now is simply on the open market if the person is able to work at all. But there is an additional problem of getting around. The person has no job, no money at all, and, at this point, still no disability income which might be enough to pay some rent and some other minor expenses. A person may get food stamps to stay alive, but without any income could still become homeless. Not because the person would not work, but because that person was hit by a truck or got cancer or had a heart attack.
Or take a woman on Social Security. It is quite likely that someone in this category could be 70 years old, frail and receive plus or minus $1200 a month. Her rent is $500 for a minimal place to live and the rest goes for food, clothing, a Medicare insurance supplement to keep her in medical care. That is another $300 a month. So, before food and prescription drugs, she has about $400 left each month to get around (she has to have public transportation because she cannot afford a car on $400 a month with insurance, repairs and a place to park.) You can see that she is pretty close to the zero line very quickly.
Even if she has some small amount of money in the bank, millions of people live like this…right on the edge. The harder they worked and the more unfortunate they were during their working years, the more they pay for it when they retire.
These are the people, millions of them…millions…whom the rich, Right-Wing oil men, the Tea Party members, the Republican Party and the hate filled legislators of the Southern racist legacy…which now hates everyone who does not support billionaires…would have us leave behind. Remember the words from the Statue of Liberty? “Send me your tired, your poor, your tempest tossed…?” What ever happened to that? Ronald Reagan happened to that. His mantra was that “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” was a statement of weakness and a danger to our Liberty.
Well, it isn’t. Reagan said that Medicare would make us Socialists. It hasn’t. He said that cutting taxes in half but spending the same amount of money, would make us prosperous, but as you have seen it didn’t…except for 403 Americans who became billionaires from paying almost no taxes. And nothing has helped unions, or the average working family…who are on their way to becoming these destitute people on what is already a bare existence on Social Security.
It is time to throw away the lies and the stupidity of Neconservative policies, stop making war on the world and begin taking care of our own citizens. Yes, by God, they work hard and they deserve it!