Feb 19, 2001
George Bush got right down to business as the new president by proposing a 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut over the next ten years.
Bush, of course, claimed his tax cut would benefit everyone –the only problem is that some "everyones" get a lot more than others.
Forty-three% of the tax relief would go to the top one% of the families. Their taxes would be reduced by an average of $44,757 each. On the other hand, the bottom quarter of all families would get no tax cut, even though the poorest workers are contributing to the government's surplus by having Social Security taxes taken out of their meager pay.
When Bush made his announcement, some "moderate" Democrats joined him in supporting his proposal. Other Democrats opposed it. But none of them went on TV to say that Bush's plan was dead in the water, that the majority of voters rejected Bush's gift to the top one%, as Al Gore repeatedly promised during the campaign. The Democrats, with 50 Senators, can block any bill from ever being voted on. Instead, they began saying they wanted to give tax relief too, but they would adjust the numbers, supposedly to bring more aid to working families. This started all the corporate lobbyists scurrying to push for still bigger cuts for their clients and the ultra rich.
We've been through this once before, under the Reagan Administration. Bush's plan is a repeat of what was done then. Reagan's tax cut was approved by the Democratic Party controlled House of Representative and Senate. Workers' families received a small tax cut, while the richest families got gigantic tax cuts. The result was a very big drop in government revenue because of the whopping cuts for the rich, and so there was a gigantic increase in the budget deficit –paid for in part by enormous cuts in the social programs.
Under Clinton, the tax system moved in the same direction, that is, lower taxes for the wealthy. The actual tax rate for corporations fell from 24.5% to 21.3% of their profits in 1999. The capital gains tax that rich people pay on the stock market and real estate was lowered from 28% to 20%.
If Bush's tax cuts go through with Democratic Party help –the only way they can go through –the very large tax cuts for the rich will mean less government money to aid the millions of laid off workers in the coming recession. This whole plan is a further gift to the rich at the expense of the workers and the poor, just another continuation of what's been going on for several decades now.
But that does not mean it is inevitable. It simply means that the politicians of both parties think they have nothing to fear from the working class right now.
That can change whenever the workers begin once again to fight for their own interests.