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To Save the Republic, Tax the Rich?

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 3 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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The only other choices are to delay urgent action on the environment, education and health care or to raise tax rates on the rich, the likes of those Goldman Sachs employees who "" after the bank benefited from federal bailouts "" are expecting $900,000 in average compensation this year.

However, beyond the populist outrage over the size of Wall Street bonuses and other excesses of the super-rich is the simple logic that the federal government is the only entity big enough "" and the tax structure the only means powerful enough "" to divert some of the wealth at the top downward to pay for needed programs and to create needed jobs.

Government spending also is the only practical way to redistribute the extraordinary wealth created by technological productivity and global trade so those twin developments can benefit the broader population and keep the economic wheels spinning.

This spending could focus on pressing needs, like renewable energy, public transportation, improved education and accessible health care. But of equal importance, it could provide today's "surplus workers" with meaningful work so they can pay their bills and support their families.

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A more equitable distribution of wealth could benefit the Republic, too, since politicians might be less enthralled to big contributors and big business.

As Justice Louis D. Brandeis noted more than 60 years ago, "we can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

But first the American people will have to decisively reject another famous quote, Ronald Reagan's paradigm that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

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The public will have to recognize that sometimes the government can be a necessary part of the solution.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at

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