by Rob Kall
Bush is a flat out liar. Borrowing from his father's lie, "read my lips, no new taxes" you can, at any time, read George W's lips and he's probably lying.
The biggest lie is that he cut taxes. And a big joke is that it will hit the rich people who are supposed to be benefiting from it too.
While it is a partial truth that the tax cuts allowed the wealthy to keep more money, the truth is that there are a lot of ways they and the rest of us are paying more money than before. It's a tax cut that will actually end up costing most of much more.
Perhaps one of the biggest categories is education. States are being creamed by the budget shortfalls and they are making up for it by raising local school and real estate taxes. They are raising college tuitions. So, you got your $400 rebate for your kid under 14, well you'll pay $500-1000 or more extra for your 19 year old in college. But that's not all. About 84,000 students will lose federal Pell grants. That's because Bush cut these financial need based scholarships funding by $270 million.
Then, take a look at what you are paying at the pump. This is not a direct result of the tax cut. But it was set off by the massive electrical blackout. The gasoline companies used the blackout as an excuse to raise prices. The blackout happened because energy companies are not spending enough to modernize their equipment. Why not? Because that kind of spending hurts the short-term bottom line for businesses. And more and more of the nation's energy generators and transmitters are businesses rather than public utilities because of the rampant drive to privatize that the political right has been pushing. We know what it did to California. Of course, with the country struggling to pay its Iraq bills, and with government intentionally being starved, it's no wonder that the republicans have bottled up funds to upgrade the energy grid, tying the legislation in with the Bush favorite bill to drill in the arctic refuge of Alaska.
Then there's health care. Rates for insurance are going through the roof-- whether you are individually insured or an employer paying for employees. Either way, if you are an employee, you are probably paying more, since a recent report says that employees are paying 48% more for their share of the health insurance than they were three years ago. One reason is the Bush administration is allowing the health insurers and pharmaceutical companies run wild. OF course, the republican mantra is deregulate. But with deregulation, you have a huge percentage of health care costs going to drug company profits and obscenely inflated health industry top management salaries--even when the companies are tanking.
Of course, one thing about the Tax cut is true. Along with cutting taxes, the Bushies want to do away with government, to weaken, to decrease it's regulatory influence on corporations. If municipal, state and federal government agencies are underfunded, they can't check out what corporations are doing and what they shouldn't be doing. We end up with a castrated form of government that is unable to protect the public, unable to keep rogue corporations like Enron and MCI in line. . Now, when I think of government, I think of a few things:
protection: like military, police and judicial-- protecting us from crime, law-breaking, threats to the nation, to our freedoms-- cut these budgets and we'll end up spending more fixing problems and abuses that could have been prevented.
Services: education, health. Get cheap here and we end up with under-educated workers with lower salaries. Cut health care and you end up with more emergencies rather than preventing illness. Public transportation rates go up. Police give out more parking tickets.
Maintenance of the commons: roads, infrastructure, laws, natural resources, lands, air, water
standards: food, ecology. The short term solutions may save money, but long term, this is bad husbandry and leadership that will cost us in the end.
fairness: taking care of those who need help. Compassionate conservatism is, perhaps Bush lie number two.
leadership; I put leadership last because it is clear that the Bush administration has not budgeted for leadership. As history looks back on these times, George W. Bush will undoubtedly be held up as an example of the most extreme buffoonish incompetency. His combination of stupidity, ignorance, lack of both education and willingness to learn and his egomaniacal fundamentalist beliefs in God's intentions for him have added up to much worse than incompetence. He blunders and fails at just about everything he touches, unless you are counting his gifts to corporations and friends.
So we have a situation in which there's a big tax cut that for most of Americans and most of America is really a deep gouge in the pocketbook. Already, with a half trillion dollar deficit, the nation is experiencing the adverse affects of this tax monstrosity.
As the cities, states and the federal government run out of money, they'll need to borrow more. This will eventually have to be paid for later on. Someone will have to pay the taxes to pay the interest. Another way the states are looking to pay is they are allowing more "sin" services and products-- sunday liquor sales that can be taxed, gambling, slot machines... these all add income without income taxes. But they also come at a price-- many people who are addicted to alcohol or gambling will ruin their lives and hurt their families. This is not exactly consistent with the fundamentalist Christian perspectives Bush is supposed to reflect.
The polls are now showing that a majority of Americans are unhappy with the way Bush does business. It is time that the elected Republicans who hold the majority in both houses of congress stop doing the lock-step march with the administration. It is time that they did something about the debt, about the bleeding state budgets, about kids not getting college tuition money.
Come November 2004 there will be another blood letting. This time it will be the bleeding of the republicans who have intentionally starved the states, intentionally strangled the US government-- for who-- for the wealthiest one percent and for corporations-- the "terminator" human invention that has come back to assault humanity. It is time that we face the fact that the people of the US are under assault by the super wealthy and the mega corporations. They've declared war and they are winning.
But we can take back America. Former Democratic Party Chair Ed Rendell says we need a more aggressive media. Well, you're reading it right now, in whatever website or print publication you see this OpEd. Support it. Tell your local daily you want more balance-- more liberal, left wing editorials. Write them yourself. We can change things. Like Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see." Take action every day. Send your favorite democratic candidates money before the end of this month, since they'll get matching funds. And let people know what a liar George is.
a good source of information on taxation is fairtaxesforall.org
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is publisher of progressive news and opinion website www.opednews.com and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this entire credit paragraph is attached