Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Tax Giveaways Help Who?

Sorry, I’ve been away for awhile. I will try once more to publish something at least once a week.

The Levellers, as most progressive movements, were concerned with economic justice. So, in honor of re-starting this blog named for the Levellers, I thought I’d begin by asking just who benefits from all the tax-giveaways that Bush has pushed for and Congress authorized. The constant claim is that these tax “breaks” (giveaways is more accurate) benefit the poor and middle class, but is this true? This is fairly easy to check, but the mainstream media is corporate controlled and doesn’t allow anything remotely like investigative journalism today.

The most recent round of tax giveaways (since we thankfully saved the estate tax) will cut $70 billion over the next five years (FY 2007-FY 20012). According to the Senate Finance Committee’s own figures (easily obtainable as public records), here’s who saves what as a result. Income below $10,000 per year is not taxed which makes sense since, at the current rate of inflation and dollar strength, a family of 4 must make a minimum of $19,157 per year to be above the U.S. poverty rate! If your family income is $10,000 to $20,000 per year, the recent tax cuts save you a huge $2.00. If you make between $20,000 and $30,000, the tax giveaways save you $9.00. From $30,000 to $40,00 per year, you save $16.00. If your family income is $40,000-$50,000, per year, you save $46. Now, we’re clearly in the middle class and moving toward the upper middle class, but still not seeing much benefit. From $50,000 to $75,000 per year, you save $110. From $75,000 to $100,000 per year, you save $403.

These are no longer “average Americans.” I have a Ph.D., but have never had any friends with incomes over $100,000 and most of my friends (educators, small business people, social workers, computer technicians, ministers, and low-to-mid-level city employees) make less than $50,000 in the city of Louisville, KY. Above $100,000 per year, one is moving into the lower ranks of the upper class. Not quite rich, but certainly well-off–doctor and lawyer level well-off.

$100,000 to $200,000 and you save $1,388. $200,000 to $500,000, and you save $4,499. From $500,000 to $1 million per year income, and these tax giveaways net you $5,562. But if you have family income of over $1 million per year, you will save $41, 977!

So, from the Senate’s own figures, the people who really benefit from this latest tax giveaway are millionaires! Now, that’s at a cost of $70 billion in lost revenue for a government already billions of dollars in debt with a trillion dollar trade deficit! How does the government compensate for the lost revenue? Not by cutting the bloated military budget, so it comes out in reduced money for education, infrastructure, and social services. That means that we all pay more in social problems resulting from increasing poverty. Further, higher government debt results in inflation and higher trade deficit results in a weaker dollar which further increases inflation and interest rates—all of which the poor and middle class pay in higher prices. This is Robin Hood in reverse–a massive transfer of wealth upward from those who can least afford to pay, to the already rich. And it spells recession around the corner.

The anti-tax folk are NOT saving your wallet from a burdensome tax system like they say. They are, instead, picking your pocket to line the pockets of themselves and their rich campaign contributors! When, however, they say that this is a class war, they are telling the truth: It is a class war of the rich and their political cronies against the poor and the middle class.

Remember and hold them accountable. Throw out those who believe the rich shouldn’t pay their fair share for the common good and put in place only those who will.

The Book of James tells us that those who dishonor the poor and favor the rich insult God. James 2:1-7.


June 18, 2006 - Posted by | economic justice, social history, taxes

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