A tidbit to whet your interest:
‘Adjusting for inflation, the income of families in the middle of the U.S. income distribution rose from $41,400 in 1979 to $45,100 in 1997, a 9 percent increase. Meanwhile the income of families in the top 1 percent rose from $420,200 to $1.016 million, a 140 percent increase. Or to put it another way, the income of families in the top 1 percent was 10 times that of typical families in 1979, and 23 times and rising in 1997.’
Armed with this knowledge, and surveying the panoply of challenges we face, the Republican response is to shift the playing field further toward the 1%. Not enough money for schools or prescription drugs or Social Security or alternative-energy research? Well, that’s too bad – first things first.
Another tidbit from the Krugman column:
‘The Republicans have moved so far to the right that ordinary voters have trouble taking it in; as I pointed out in an earlier column, focus groups literally refused to believe accurate descriptions of the stimulus bill that House Republican leaders passed on a party-line vote back in October.’
So, while I am not authorized in any sense to speak on behalf of the Democratic Party, I am moved to make a pronouncement anyway.
My pronouncement is inspired by our President’s recent pronouncement – ‘Not over my dead body will I let them raise your taxes.’ He said this to what C-SPAN described as a ‘largely blue collar’ audience, and I suspect he’s been saying it, and will be saying it, to audiences wherever he goes. Read his lips.
Well, on behalf of the Democratic Party (unauthorized, but still) I say: ‘That’s nothing! You could torture us and threaten to kill our nearest of kin; you could condemn us to eternal damnation and take away our MTV and STILL we would not raise your taxes! And that applies not just to you in the audience, but to the 2% of you at the very top of the income and wealth pyramid, too! We will not raise YOUR taxes, either! But we will freeze further tax cuts for you fortunate few until we can afford them. The goodies that applied to you for 2002 will still phase in right on schedule; the additional tax cuts for the top 1% or 2% that were slated to phase in in future years (because we had massive budget surpluses as far as the eye could see) we’ll just hold off on. Because it would be really stupid to throw fiscal prudence to the wind and rack up more gigantic budget deficits and triple the national debt again, as we did the last time we enacted massive tax cuts for the top 1%. We’ve been down that road.’
It just strikes me as so dishonest for the President to be telling a crowd of cheering middle-income people that HE won’t raise their taxes when, in fact, NO ONE is proposing that they be raised. It’s all part of the strategy to gain popular support for preserving massive tax cuts for those at the very top . . . such as, for example, reducing the top estate-tax bracket for billion-dollar estates from the current 55% to zero.
So if you missed Paul Krugman Friday, I say again: click here.
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History is a vast early warning system.~Norman Cousins
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