The Newest "Middle-Class" Tax Cut Lie


I wish that I could stop writing about this particular subject. I suppose that as long as this strange Congress is in power, though, these articles must continue. No matter how long they keep trying to steal your money in order to give it to their wealthy owners, I promise I'll keep notifying you of their lies and sleaze.

Newt Gingrich, while pushing for massive tax cuts for the wealthy, derides any tax assistance to working parents as "Welfare". Sen. Phil Gramm likens the idea to "welfare being ladled on people who ride for free on the wagon the rest of us pull". House Majority Leader Dick Armey (and property of the nation's richest contributors) calls the refusal to provide any tax relief for low- income families "non-negotiable". Trent Lott states his gospel as "Tax relief should be for people who pay taxes".

What is the focus of this contempt?

President Clinton's budget proposal to extend the child-care tax credits to families earning less than $30,000. These 28 million Americans, raising 40% of American children, who would be given this tax relief are the very families who are trying valiantly to survive without Welfare or food stamps. These families should be hailed by Gingrich and Co. as heroes, not ignored and ridiculed. They pay a higher percentage of their income in regressive taxes, sales and excise, than any other group of taxpayers while working the hardest jobs. Even the so-called "Contract with America" promised to extend this benefit to these same families.

Other than their worn-out cry for lower capital gains taxes, what is the Republican proposal? Just another indecent entitlement package for the wealthiest Americans, of course.

In Gingrich's fantasy world, denying the child-care tax to 40% of American children and their families who don't earn enough to qualify is offset by the 3% who make too much income to qualify. In Gingrich's fantasy universe, a "middle-class tax cut" provides (according to the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) 87% of its benefits to the wealthiest 20% of Americans. In Gingrich's nightmare world, the top 1% of Americans, annual incomes over $300,000, receive nearly $27,000 in tax savings while those who need the help the most may actually lose ground when figuring the cut in food stamps and Medicaid into the numbers. In this same world of money and power, families earning up to $110,000 are eligible for a $500 per child tax credit but families earning less than $30,000 are not.

Since accepting Clinton's education tax credits, another tax credit heavily favoring the wealthy, the Republicans apparently feel duty bound to provide larger and more obscene gifts to their owners. Even Gingrich cannot be seen as defending a tax bill so heavily slanted towards the wealthy. Instead, he attacks Clinton's budget and Republican opponents as promoting "class warfare" and "redistribution" of the nation's wealth. He has even gone so far as to try to pronounce tax breaks for the wealthy as a "moral imperative" for this Congress.

The Democrats, while trying to keep this fantasy world from becoming a national nightmare, have to contend with a counterfeit Democratic President who is extremely capable of folding on any issue as long as he appears to be doing something, anything.

One of the ways Congress is planning to pay for this largess is to cut Medicaid payments to hospitals who serve large numbers of the poor and uninsured by $15 billion. Another is to allow senior citizens to spend your tax dollars opting out of Medicare and buying policies from HMO's (a substantial network of Republican contributors). It punishes the baby boomer generation for Congress' fiscal ineptness (see previous sentence) by raising the age for Medicare eligibility to 67 by the year 2027. All in all, their proposals again substantiate the oft repeated charge that Republicans are Robin Hoods in reverse, taking from the poor to feed the rich.

We can only hope that those voters who only listen to the style of political commercials, without bothering to learn the substance of the political realities, stay home this next election cycle. They would be doing the majority of Americans a real favor if they do and we could send Gingrich, Lott and the rest of Robin Hood's Merry Men home where they can no longer do this much damage to decent Americans.

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Copyright 6/28/97