America is now mired in the Great Recession, and we need to do the same thing that Roosevelt did to save us from the Great Depression--raise taxes on the wealthy. They can afford it:
- "In the last 30 years"the top five percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 81 percent while the lowest-income fifth saw their real incomes decline by one percent..".--Progress Illinois, 3/27/09
- All of the income gains in 2005 went to the top 10 percent of households, while the bottom 90 percent of households saw income declines. (Economic Policy Institute, 3/28/07)
- In 2006, taxpayers in the bottom 20 percent received an average refund of $23 from the Bush tax cuts; the middle 20 percent received $448; the top 1 percent received $39,020; and taxpayers in the top 0.1 percent received $200,523. (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 2/7/06)
To hear the Republicans tell it; raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans would have an effect similar to a direct strike on earth by a planet-killer asteroid.
"but history tells a much different story:
"After the Republican Great Depression, FDR put this nation back to work, in part by raising taxes on income above $3 to $4 million a year (in today's dollars) to 91 percent, and corporate taxes to over 50% of profits. The revenue from those income taxes built dams, roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, schools, hospitals, train stations, railways, an interstate highway system, and airports. It educated a generation returning from World War II. It acted as a cap on the rare but occasional obsessively greedy person taking so much out of the economy that it impoverished the rest of us."--Thom Hartmann, http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/06/3003/
When the Clinton Administration reversed Reagonomics and raised taxes on the wealthy and lowered them on the middle class:
- "The economy produced the longest sustained expansion in U.S. history. It created more than 22 million new jobs, the highest level of job creation ever recorded. Unemployment fell to its lowest level in over 30 years. Inflation fell to 2.5% per year compared to the 4.7% average over the prior 12 years. And overall economic growth averaged 4.0% per year compared to 2.8% average growth over the 12 years of the Reagan/Bush administrations. "By the time Clinton left office, the government was running surpluses of almost $140 billion per year."--Robert Freeman, CommonDreams.org, 5/14/06
Right now, Republicans in Congress are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits for 900 thousand Americans. They demand more and more cuts of services and programs to reduce the deficit (which they caused), but refuse to even consider raising taxes on wealthy Americans. This is wrong.
America is falling deeper and deeper in debt, and taxes must be raised--and will be raised (eventually). The only question is--will they be raised in time to save our schools and other government programs and services that so many people depend on.
Please call your state and federal representatives today, and let them know that it is time to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. Our tax system should promote the good of the many--not the greed of the few.
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