After gutting pensions and trampling both the 40-hour working-week and overtime pay, the next covert strike from Bush's circle of brass hats and silver spooners, centering on new rounds of tax cuts, as usual, serves solely the interests of the wealthy minority at the expense of people who are being told that they'll soon benefit from all of these new "reforms": workers, small business owners, and small-scale stockholders.
The Dividends Tax
Verizon, General Motors, and Citigroup are amongst the corporations who included messages with their latest dividend checks calling upon their shareholders to help them in lobbying Congress in support of Bush's dividend tax-cut proposals (which cuts it from the current 15 percent down to nothing!). The blatant manipulation of facts which these inserts exercised was so patently dishonest that they provoked a group of nearly 700 stockholders to organize a Shareholder Rebellion petition.
Working-class Americans who dabble in the stock market to supplement their incomes could potentially gain a few hundred a year from the new measures. But unlike the affluent tycoons who are able to live off their vast amassments of stocks, the average workers' meager gains from these measures can't offset the losses they'd face from the slashes in funding of social programs, not to mention the ruin this spells for teachers and students alike at public schools.
One opponent of the elimination of dividend taxes said, "I don't think you can make it so unfair that a man living entirely off dividends will pay zero tax while a cab driver has to work 16 hours a day to barely feed a family. I just don't think it works in a democracy." Not in a genuine democracy it wouldn't - but the historically exhausted and desperate "democracy" of the bourgeoisie, of the rich, no longer has the capacity to maintain any facade of "fairness".
And if the elimination of dividend taxes wasn't bad enough, a drastic slash in income taxes will only make matters worse. As a percentage of the GDP, federal taxes are already historically low. When the new cuts are enacted, they'll be even lower than they were during Eisenhower's presidency from 1953-1962 - back when Medicare and Medicaid were nonexistent! It's now completely impossible for the government to pay for these and other vital services won by the working-class over generations.
The far-right clique in control of the government is either incredibly stupid, or they are deliberately steering the federal budget towards collapse and failure, which would provide them with a very convenient excuse for cutting social services, rolling back labor rights, and conducting even more big-business bailouts - all at the expense of the vast majority of working Americans.
The demagogic politicians in support of these cuts insist that they'll lead to new jobs and a revival of the economy. But all the real benefits are going to the rich; who stand to make no profits by re-investing in the economy as it is, and instead will be compelled to squander their financial assets on speculation and decadence. These counter-reforms will only exacerbate the current crisis and deepen the economic crisis. Workers earning between $40,000 - $50,000 a year (rather high, these days) will gain about $400 dollars a year from the cuts, while those earning more than a million dollars a year will average savings of approximately $90,000 (not counting all their tax-dodging book-keeping tricks).
Those $400 dollars will disappear very quickly from the accounts of workers who have medical expenses, who lose their jobs in the public sector due to cutbacks, or whose Social Security or unemployment benefits have disappeared. And as for small business owners - paltry tax-cuts won't pull them out of their slump; they need customers with money to spend, and a broke and burdened working-class isn't going on a shopping-spree anytime soon.
The Republicans have the great honor of being the "vanguard" of everything in America which is callous, greedy, hypocritical and crude. While they let their business partners raid the state treasury of billions in workers' tax-dollars, they raise military expenditure higher and higher to build weapons of war used to destroy the lives of our fellow workers in other countries - so that American corporations can plunder and exploit tax-free an even greater expanse of the globe!
The Democrats, for the most part, support these measures, and the Bush administration in general, in a clear expression of their mutual class basis and interests with the Republicans. Those few Democrats who actually do oppose these specific measures are too feeble, too spineless, too incompetent and subservient to the party line to mount any effective, meaningful opposition capable of making real, lasting changes.
America, the land of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, can today, due to the moribund system of capitalism and its decaying effect upon culture and philosophy, offer us no greater statesmen than these toadies and gangsters! The Democrats are at worst partners in crime to the Republicans, and at best accessories! The solution to working-class problems lies with a working-class party, a mass party of labor with socialist policies.
Such a party would call for:
* A world federation of socialist nations, to put an end to war and the unnecessary waste of resources in the manufacture of military armaments and maintenance of massive standing armies.
* A graduated income tax on the basis of full employment and high wages. An end to the chaos of capitalism and the anarchic speculation inherent to it which arbitrarily decides the fate of millions with every scroll of the stock-ticker.
The bosses leech off the wealth we create, then tell us there's plenty of money for their bonuses, bombs, and bailouts but not for healthcare, pensions, and well-paid jobs. It's time the workers took control of this wealth out of the gnarled clutches of the parasites, and used it for the public good, for the benefit of the majority, in the interests of the workers themselves.
Join the fight for a better world!
Join the Workers' International League!