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   Vol.65/No.10            March 12, 2001 
Tax the rich, not working people
In the midst of all the hoopla about the tax cut proposed by President George Bush, and countermeasures by the Democratic Party, workers and farmers can raise one demand: Tax the rich, not working people! From its earliest days the modern working-class movement has fought for a steeply graduated income tax--up to 100 percent--on the wealthiest individuals. Working people, who create all wealth and who face a capitalist government that does not represent them, should not pay one penny of any kind of tax whatsoever.

Bush promotes his tax cut as one that will "add up to significant help" for working-class families, while downplaying the huge windfall it will give the superwealthy bourgeois class that lives off the labor of workers.

Recent figures from the Internal Revenue Service indicate that the wealthiest U.S. citizens are paying a shrinking amount of income tax, even as they amass more wealth, and the gap continues to grow between the rich and the vast majority of the population. The IRS data also shows that the income of the top 1 percent of taxpayers grew eight times as fast as the bottom 90 percent over the 10-year period between 1989 and 1998. And as if all that were not enough, the president's budget plan ensures that the rich get the lion's share of the new tax breaks.

These figures underestimate the real extent of the shift in income because they do not take into account the impact of the massive cuts in the social wage--including in Social Security and other entitlements--carried out in a bipartisan manner in an accelerated way over the past six years. The dramatic increase in the incomes of the wealthiest families is one result of the offensive against working people by the employers on the job and by the Democrats and Republicans at every level of government.

Both the appeals by Bush for support of "faith-based" charitable organizations and a "compassion fund," and those by more liberal big-money families for keeping the estate tax to encourage charitable contributions are ideological rationalizations used as cover for the rulers' continued assault. They are designed to undermine human solidarity and the right of workers and farmers to social entitlements won through decades of working-class struggles.

The liberals' claptrap over maintaining estate taxes merely reflects their anxiety about capitalism's ability to absorb and deflect coming social conflicts and class battles by workers and farmers who confront the rulers' offensive against their living standards and democratic rights.

Regardless of whatever amount of money the rich give to charity, it will not and cannot eliminate the irreconcilable class antagonisms that are inherent in capitalist society. It will only seek to perpetuate a class-divided society and divert workers and farmers from demanding government-funded, cradle-to-grave social security, education, health care, and other social answers to the arbitrary and devastating effects of the crisis of world capitalism.
Related article:
Estate tax debate reflects worries over coming social conflicts  
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