The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Tax day and tax reform in Congress

Apr 2, 2001

On April 16, this year all income taxes are due, a day later than usual. Some workers will pay at the last minute, while other workers have paid before. But no matter when we paid, workers can't escape taxes.

For the last several months there has been a lot of talk in the media about Bush's tax reform bill. Of course, you can't trust what politicians say when they're pushing something. But judging what every tax reform bill in memory has done, it's going to mean even more taxes for us. The tax reform that passed when Reagan was president and when the Democrats controlled the Congress, drastically lowered the taxes on the richest individuals. Between 1977 and 1989, the tax rate actually paid by the richest one% of the families was reduced by 9.2%. But for workers and poor people at the bottom of the society, the tax rate went up.

The Clinton Administration focused on reducing the taxes paid by the corporations. Their actual tax rate went down by 13% between 1994 and 1999, thanks to tax cuts and loopholes provided for them.

Over the last decades a lot of government programs carried out by the U.S. government were switched to the states. But the tax system of the states falls most heavily on workers and the poor. Not one of the fifty states has a progressive tax system. In all of the states the poorest people pay the highest% of their income in taxes, and the rich pay the lowest. This is a regressive system, where the poorest 20% of families pay 12.5% of their income in state and local taxes, while the richest one% pay 7.9%.

Bush's tax proposal is just a continuation of what's been happening. Under his proposal the richest one% of families would receive 43% of the total tax relief, an average of $44,757 each.

The tax system is simply another way the capitalists exploit the workers, stealing from their labor to support the wealthy. The bulk of our taxes go to the big corporations through such subsidies as military spending or research by pharmaceutical companies; and to pay interest on government bonds to the wealthy and the banks.

The politicians hope that by loudly repeating the word "reform" we are going to think this is something good for us. But their reform just means further robbery. And we know it!