Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The $70 Billion Tax Cut: Irresponsible and Obscene

by Robert B. Reich
Common Dreams News Center

"At a time when the gap between the rich and poor, and between every rung on the income ladder, is wider than it’s been in almost a century, it would seem imprudent to add to these disparities unless there was a compelling public need. What is the public need? Some administration apologists, including the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, claim repeatedly that the rich are paying a larger-than-ever share of income taxes, so it’s entirely fitting that they get the lion’s share of any tax cut. This logic conveniently leaves out two facts. First, the rich are now paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than at any time in the last seventy-five years. That they pay a lot of taxes nonetheless is a by-product of the mind-boggling increase in their income and wealth relative to most other Americans. Second, if you consider not just income and capital-gains taxes but all the taxes people pay – including payroll taxes and sales taxes – you find that middle-income workers are now paying a larger share of their incomes than people at or near the top. We have turned the principle of a graduated, progressive tax on its head."

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