Reversing the Flim-Flam: Cutting Tax Cuts for the Rich

April 20, 2011

By Francis Scudellari 
Ah it’s tax day, that most wonderfully stressful time of year... or was that yesterday? Though the stress levels are already high enough given these tough times, they're bound to shoot up a little bit higher with more news the times are a lot tougher for most of us than they are for that tiny percentage unimaginatively but accurately labeled the “super rich.”

Here are a couple articles that lay out some of the ugly facts, the first in words and the second with some spiffy charts:
Super Rich See Federal Tax Rates Drop (AP) and Only Little People Pay Taxes (Mother Jones)
It should come as no big shock that the tax code, as well as our greater legal system, is slanted to benefit the wealthy, but it grates a little more given the deep cuts to social programs being pushed through by Congress in the current budget negotiations.

Taking them at their shallow word, the pols lecturing the country about the need to live within its means may seem reasonable, what with a struggling economy still trying to find its legs after the double whammy of a financial meltdown and a pair of military misadventures that have left us swimming in a sea of debt.

The problem is, those words, and more importantly their political consequences, never seem to find the same fault in the conduct of the banks and big corporations who plopped us in that very vast ocean. What it all means is, not only did this crew benefit from the financial crisis by borrowing US tax money at no interest, they thank us unkindly for that political largess by not paying their fair share of the national tax burden.

And here’s the even more vicious circular logic behind it: During the Bush years, big tax cuts for the richest Americans and financial deregulation were passed to bolster corporate coffers. This contributed to both the financial meltdown and our current big budget deficits, and it’s those conditions that are being used as the pretext for passing the current budget, which will further tickle corporate fancies at the expense of the infrastructure improvements and sustaining investments that the rest of us require.

It can only lead you to one conclusion, the game’s been rigged and we’re on the wrong end of the flim-flam.

As dark and bleak as the situation is, there are groups trying to shed a little light by working both to better enforce the tax regulations we have and to revise those laws to force the super rich to pay their fair share.
The United for a Fair Economy website details many of the inequities built into the current tax system, including the ways that wealth is taxed at a much lower rate than income.
US Uncut is targeting the worst of the corporate tax-offenders, including Bank of America and GE, with a series of direct-action protests. Their site allows you to organize actions against the target of your choice in your own community.