The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Pretending to Make the Rich Pay, Obama Attacks Us!

Oct 3, 2011

In September, Obama proclaimed that he intended to make the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes. It is part of his plan for the U.S. to “live within our means.”

Center stage in his proposal was the so-called “Buffet rule,” named after Warren Buffet, one of the billionaires who pays few taxes and even admits he should pay more! Anyone with more than a million dollars income would have to pay as high a tax rate as does the average taxpayer, which is not the case today. It’s hardly a radical proposal, even if the Republicans call it “class warfare.” And it’s certainly not a real proposal. It would not even take place until Congress rewrites the entire tax code, that is, on the 12th of never!

Obama did propose that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy not be renewed in 2013. But Obama, himself, was the one who pushed through the most recent renewal in December 2010, for two years – when he still had a Democratic controlled Congress.

The whole proposal to “tax the rich” is nothing but a campaign gimmick. Obama knows the Republicans, with whom he worked last year to cut taxes on the wealthy, aren’t about to raise them this year. It’s a win-win situation: the wealthy are safe – and Obama hopes to raise his standing before the election.

By contrast, most other measures which Obama put forth in his plan to “live within our means” will be implemented. They are very precise, detailed in a 70-page document. He wants to reduce the federal deficit by four trillion dollars over ten years.

Half the cuts will come from the recommendations of the bipartisan Congressional committee, which will be submitted to an up or down, yes or no vote by the Congress. If Congress can’t agree, cuts will be applied anyway on various types of government spending – most of which will be cuts against the working class, the poor and small farmers.

The other two trillion will come from a range of measures attacking the health care system. Medicare would be reduced 224 billion dollars over 10 years and Medicaid by 66 billion dollars over the same period. Soldiers and their families would have to pay more for their medical insurance and expenses. Government workers would face cuts in their pensions.

Obama would also cut national flood programs and unemployment insurance, while raising passenger “fees” on airline travel.

He would increase the price of postage stamps and end Saturday postal deliveries, which would lead to big layoffs.

Apparently Obama thinks that if he talks about “making the rich pay,” he can make us forget that he and the Republicans and other Democrats are making working people pay right now.