Conservative policy has long pushed to shift the federal tax burden off wealth and onto income taxes and state and local taxes. The Bush Administration has accelerated this radical shift away from our historically progressive tax system. They have made clear that a second Bush four-year term would mean more of the same, a direction with profound results.
Even though they’ve already raided the Social Security “lock box”, assaulted the estate tax and driven the country deeply into debt, conservatives ideologues now seek to eliminate all taxes on wealth, further adding to an already crushing tax burden for those who live by their paycheck.
FITE urges John Edwards to wake up to the fact that the “two Americas” he speaks of is becoming a reality more quickly than he realizes.
This very conservative direction is mainly the result of the Democrats having failed to organize around an alternative set of policies. An effective opposition party would have noted that the Republican thrust runs counter to the more successful times of our democratic past. The ‘spreading of the wealth’ in the post World War II period was critical in developing economic opportunity. The massive subsidizing of mortgages by the Veterans Administration and other federal agencies made home ownership possible for millions of families.
Furthermore, FITE has maintained that our place in the world economy would be jeopardized if our fiscal policy reduces educational opportunities. We would then eliminate so much potential brainpower that we will be unable to effectively compete with developing economic powers such as China and India.
Why have the Democrats not responded? This conservative strategy is hardly new. It’s merely a more robust repeat of the first Reagan Administration policies of the 1980’s. The Democrats have pretended that our fiscal condition results from events instead of very intentional policies of conservative ideologues. Currently, the Democrats have limited their (Kerry’s) effort to rolling back a small part of the income tax reductions for the comfortable (above $200,000). This move would raise few funds, it fails to target the real culprits- the extremely rich- and would amount to a tiny asterisk to the uninterrupted Republican effort.
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