FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

War on the Poor

This week the U.S. House of Representatives will take up an economic stimulus package that indicates just how much the House has sold out to the big corporate and wealthy interests at the expense of poor and working class people. It is class warfare. According to a New York Times editorial on October 20, the bill has $54 billion in accelerated tax cuts with every penny going to the top 30% of taxpayers and half going to the top 5%. 80% of the benefits from the capital gains tax cuts would go to the top 2% of households, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, only $2.3 billion of the $100 billion stimulus for 2002 would be spent on benefits for unemployed workers who would be the most likely to spend it to stimulate the economy.

It is also poor economics because it would lower rates on capital gains held more-than-one but less-than-five years and if investors took advantage of the lower rates to raise cash, share prices would drop. Elimination of the corporate alternative minimum tax would cost $25 billion in 2002 and would not guarantee any new investment, but would give a windfall to companies that usually find a way to elude taxes anyway. Such corporate tax breaks would reduce their taxes on the state level and force states to reduce spending, hindering economic recovery.

Unemployment in South Carolina climbed from 4.2% in August, 2000 to 5.4% in August, 2001, with 28 of our 46 counties having more than 6% and 9 counties over 10%. Since the August unemployment figures were reported, several other big layoffs have been announced. On October 19, the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors, who are our state’s official economic forecasters, predicted a $310 million reduction in budget estimates for the current budget year. The reduction is the largest dollar amount in history and will result in 4.2% state budget cuts across-the-board.

For the past decade or so, the increasing income disparity between the wealthy and the poor and working class has been unprecedented in U.S. history. If the average pay for production workers had risen at the level as CEO pay, the annual workers salary would be $120,491.00 – not $24,668.00. The wealthiest 1% of Americans control about 38% of America’s wealth. The bottom 80% control 17% of America’s wealth. The top 1% of stock owners have 48% of stock holdings.

Congress already delivered a bonanza to the wealthy earlier this year when they passed the Bush tax cut plan that gave about 25% of the largesse to the richest 1% and well over 50% to those with incomes over $100,000.00. Congress should subsidize an increase in unemployment benefits that will give money to the poor and working class whose safety net was diminished by “welfare reform.” They will spend their money at the grass-roots level that will really stimulate the economy. Congress should increase spending for better public education, health care, housing, and transportation to benefit everyday people — the poor and working class.

Rather than declaring war on the poor and working class, Congress needs to declare war on our fossil fuel and nuclear energy dependency which has a lot do with the “War on Terrorism.” Saudi Arabia has been our biggest oil and military buddy in the Arab world for 70 years. 10 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis and Saudi Arabia has also been identified as the major financier for the most radical, terroristic networks of Islamic fundamentalists, including Osama bin Laden’s Al Queda organization. To further substantiate how oil policy dominates our foreign policy, Chris Mondics reported for Knight Ridder Newspapers on October 21 that the U.S. government “actively supported a proposal by Houston-based energy developer Unocal to build a 1,000 mile pipeline through Afghanistan to link gas fields in Turkmenistan” and worked with the Taliban until 1998 to cut such a deal even though the U.S. knew of bin Laden’s terrorist activities.

Our only long-term solution is to develop renewable energy sources like the wind and the sun and encourage conservation, but the politicians who run our government are subservient to the giant energy cartels who control fossil fuel and nuclear power. They spend enormous sums to fight wars for oil and gas and subsidize about anything big energy asks for but they see no big campaign contributions in helping develop alternative sources of energy. For example, South Carolina’s U.S. Rep. Lindsey Graham, who is running to replace the retiring U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, voted against a $30 million increase in renewable energy programs in 1995, and against a $45 million dollar solar energy research and development bill in l996.

Hopefully, the South Carolina Congressional Delegation and the entire Congress will address the needs of the poor and working class in the stimulus bill debate this week and will also take a stand for conservation and renewable energy. CP

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail