Email to MoveOn_Org on Low Taxes for the Rich



November 25, 2010

Justin Ruben
Executive Director
MoveOn.org

Dear Justin,

The biggest problem that I think is facing our nation is this: the super rich, the billionaires, have funded think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. They've been doing this for decades even before Barry Goldwater. Their simple objective is to pay as little as possible in taxes. They want to contribute as little of their wealth as they can to benefit the common good. Note: there are some publicly minded billionaires, but they're a minority.

To reach their objective over the years their think tanks have poured out volumes and volumes of arguments as to why governments should provide the least services possible to their constituents so as to keep taxes low. With Proposition 13 it was established that demagogues could appeal to the voters greed and self interest by cutting taxes. That's how Ronald Reagan rose to the presidency and his administration started the strain of massive budget deficits that have brought us to our current debt crisis.

Reagan cut taxes for the very rich at the same time that he started a massive buildup in our defense expenditures. It took our country 186 years to build up a national debt of $.997 billion. In eight years Reagan nearly quadrupled the national debt and Bush I and Bush II continued that practice. Their deficits have contributed nearly 80% to the deficit inherited by Barack Obama. For decades the Republicans would have us believe that the way to balance our budget is to cut expenditures without raising taxes. That can never work for two reasons:

     First, it would require the drastic slashing of services to a level our citizens would not accept and, besides, there is not sufficient discretionary spending to reach that goal,

     Second, they don't have the guts to risk the loss of votes they would get if they actually specified which interest group's programs they intended to reduce or eliminate.

Meanwhile, they have created such distaste for tax increases that it would be suicidal for any Republican to vote for the increase in any tax.

The super rich have met their objective. They haven't faced increased taxes. In fact, they continue to get tax breaks that allow them to increase their wealth at an obscene rate while the rest of the society struggles.

In addition, they have controlled the language by which we discuss public affairs. They have made "government" and "entitlements" dirty words. I would argue that the present size of our federal government is not too large or controlling. It is the right size needed to administer the programs which our citizens, through their elected representatives, have chosen to have for themselves. They will proclaim that we live in the greatest country on earth, but they denigrate the government of that country. Most of us liberal/progressives are proud that our older citizens have the security of our Social Security program. Also, we are proud of the Medicare program that helps the elderly receive the health services they require. I for one am proud that our citizens through our federal government have decided, in principle, that access to affordable health insurance is a legal right (another entitlement, if you will) of all Americans.

We desperately need to change the language and principles of our public discourse. I believe we can persuade our fellow citizens that they should be proud of their government and its programs. Social Security and Medicare are already vastly approved by our citizens and I believe that given time and correct information a substantial majority will approve of the health care reforms recently enacted.

The term progressive is best represented by the progressive income tax. The opposite of progressive is regressive

Almost all Democratic legislation is progressive; it provides broadly-based benefits.

Almost all Republican legislation is regressive; it provides benefits that disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

We need to hammer that message home continuously to wake up the public.


It's hard to find a better illustration of these principles then the current situation. Republicans oppose extending unemployment insurance benefits because it would increase the budget deficit. But at the same time they advocate an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy which will produce a much greater budget deficit. That is gross hypocrisy that needs to be pointed out over and over again.

They use arguments that demean the poor and the middle class for receiving government benefits. They argue that unemployment insurance is a disincentive to work. The poor are poor because they don't exercise "personal responsibility" or have "family values".

Justin, we need to call out the Republicans for their distorted language. We must change the substance of our public discourse if we are to ever achieve broad based support for the programs we liberals/progressives believe to be needed for the public good.

Sincerely,

R. Kent Kirkwood
317 S. Edward Street
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
(847) 392-5644
rkentkirkwood@wowway.com



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