GOP in U.S. House declare bankruptcy

Published 10:51 am Friday, April 3, 2009

This week the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives presented their alternative budget to the presidents’ budget. Notably, Republicans in the Senate asked not to be included in support of the alternative budget.

Why? Because the Republican budget is, when your product consists of ideas and ideas alone, bankrupt.

Would you be surprised that their budget consists of yet more tax breaks for the richest Americans and spending freezes for the rest of America?

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Hardly. It is the only tune they know and the same tune that drove the nation into the present crisis.

The Republican alternative budget, destined to go nowhere for good reason, renews the tax cuts due to expire on the top 2 percent of Americans, at a cost of about $1.2 trillion dollars over the next decade. The budget also eliminates all taxes on dividends, costing the treasury over $1.6 trillion of the next decade.

Finally, the budget proposed reduces federal corporate taxes from their current level of 35 percent…the cost is not yet calculated.

So why reduce income to the treasury to give it to our largest corporations and banks, and reduce taxes on the richest Americans? The Obama administration has gone in exactly the opposite direction, cutting taxes on 95 percent of Americans and using the revenues collected to re-invest in our infrastructure, in health care, in energy alternatives, and in returning our educational system to excellence.

So which path should we follow … give the richest Americans more spending money or give all Americans a tax cut and re-invest in the nation? Let’s look at the facts in order to decide.

If we extend the Bush cut taxes to the top 2 percent we are contributing to the separation of the wealthiest Americans from the rest of us. Today the top 1 percent of Americans holds a greater share of the nations’ wealth and income than ever since 1928. In the 1970s the top 1 percent held 13 percent of our wealth; today they hold one third of our wealth.

Today the top 5 percent of Americans own more than 60 percent of the nations’ wealth, or, said differently, more than the other 95 percent of Americans combined.

In terms of eliminating the tax on stock dividends, that too would go into the pockets of the wealthiest Americans. The top 10 percent of Americans in wealth own 82 percent of stocks, thus reaping most of any benefit of a tax cut in dividends.

Finally, the Republicans propose cutting our corporate tax rates, among the highest of any nation, at a rate of 35 percent. But that too is a misrepresentation, since the effective tax rate for our corporations is about 25 percent, less than many of our trading partners.

Cutting the rate would simply decrease revenue to the treasury at a time we face serious deficits.

Why would Republicans seek endless tax cuts for the richest Americans, who have already benefitted greatly from their policies since the Reagan years?

Why would they fail to invest in our schools, our roads, our health and our energy just to put more money in the pockets of so very few, who need it so little?

Well, only because as they long for a new Reagan they remain mired in the past. Advocating policies that hurt America and Americans to benefit only a few, they advance ideas that no one should embrace.

This week Republicans in the House of Representatives declared a bankruptcy of ideas. They should file in federal court and put themselves out of their misery.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and a former educator at Ohio University Southern.