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Magical Thinking Is Stopping Us From Taking to the Streets

By       Message Paul Street       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments

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A Donald Trump protester on Inauguration Day.
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The archplutocratic tax cut Washington politicians are working on this holiday season ought to be a call to arms for the United States' populace. The nation's economy is already so savagely unequal that the top 10th of its upper 1 percent owns as much wealth as its bottom 90 percent. Its corporations are raking in record profits. Half of its citizens have no savings. Half its population lives in or near poverty. Twenty-one percent of its children are growing up at less than the federal government's notoriously inadequate poverty level, and 41 million Americans -- 12.3 percent of the population -- are "food insecure."

It is against the backdrop of this shocking disparity and related want that one should try to comprehend the regressive and malignant sociopathology of a Republican tax "reform" that:

-- Drastically slashes the corporate tax rate without closing loopholes and deductions that allow the nation's already cash-flush corporations to register their profits overseas.

-- Does nothing to switch corporations' focus from maximizing short-term returns to investing in the creation of more jobs and higher wages.

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-- Encourages corporations to invest in automation without offering any assistance to displaced workers.

-- All but eliminates the estate tax for the nation's richest families.

-- Adds $1.5 trillion to the nation's debt over the next decade, setting the stage for major slashes to the nation's three biggest social insurance programs -- Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare (they will be cut back in the name of "scaling back" so-called entitlement programs to "reduce the deficit").

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-- Gives a major tax cut on profits multinational companies have stashed in offshore tax havens.

-- Cuts taxes on "pass-through" businesses -- a benefit that will be disproportionately enjoyed by the rich.

-- Makes it easier for rich people to classify themselves as businesses to get a tax break.

-- Increases the complexity of the tax code.

-- Tightens deductions for lower- and middle-income wage-earners.

-- Subsidizes private and religious schools, a boon to corporate school privatizers and the religious right.

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-- Repeals Obamacare's individual mandate, which will leave millions without health insurance and raise the cost of health insurance.

The GOP tax "reform" rewards the already rich and punishes the poor at a time, The Atlantic notes, "when post-tax corporate profits have hovered at a record-level high for the last seven years, and the 1 percent's share of total income is higher than at any time in the second half of the 20th century." The just-passed Senate bill, likely to be "reconciled" with the right-wing House version and signed by Donald Trump before Christmas, grants what New York magazine calls "a huge windfall for the wealthiest Americans." It is "certain to exacerbate income [and wealth] inequality at a time when the playing field is already heavily tilted towards the rich." The New Gilded Age is slated to become yet more grotesquely unequal.

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Paul Street (www.paulstreet.org and paulstreet99@yahoo.com) is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (2004), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (2007), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (more...)
 

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