COLUMN: Giving tax cuts to the ‘richest of the rich’ isn’t helping America’s economy

Laura Messer

Since George W. Bush became our nation’s president in 2001, he has shown us he is serious about keeping his promise to cut taxes. However, the President’s tax policy is detrimental to our society. First of all, it does not benefit the working-class Americans who could best use tax relief. Also, if billion- and trillion-dollar tax cut proposals continue to be signed into law without a similar reduction in spending, we will surely see further increases in the level of the federal deficit.

According to a statement by the president proudly displayed on the White House Web site, his tax policy is about “lower income taxes for all, with the greatest help for those most in need,” and that “the highest percentage tax cuts go to the lowest income Americans.” However, this has been proven false in a study of Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax cut package for the years 2001—10 published by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Children’s Defense Fund.

The groups have found these tax cuts really benefit the richest of the rich. Our nation’s wealthiest one percent of taxpayers will have received $477 billion of the $1.35 trillion in 2010, about 35 percent of the total amount of the package. The bottom 60 percent of taxpayers, however, will only have received 20.2 percent of the tax cuts, contradicting the president’s own words of “greatest help for those most in need.”

Some would argue the wealthy deserve more tax cuts because they pay more taxes. This is not the case, as the top one percent of taxpayers are currently providing only 23 percent of federal tax revenues. Conservatives also want you to believe tax breaks for the wealthy will create more jobs, as they would have more money to spend on their businesses and investments. If that were true, the 3.3 million jobs that have been lost since Bush took office would still be here and unemployment would be decreasing, not increasing.

Since 2001, other proposals similar to the $1.35 trillion package have become law. These massive tax cuts have decreased federal revenues and will continue to decrease them, but the government is not spending less money in response. Instead, it has spent billions on such endeavors as the unsuccessful search for Osama bin Laden and the ongoing mess in Iraq. Bush began his term with a projected federal surplus. Currently, the White House estimates a federal deficit of $374.2 billion. Last month, Bush stated his tax cuts are responsible for one-fourth of the federal budget deficit.

Conservatives have a slew of arguments for why the President’s economic policies are supposedly good for America. Don’t pay attention to them.

Tax relief for the wealthy is not stimulating the economy. Instead, unemployment and the deficit are climbing. Do you really think 8.9 million jobless people and a $400 billion federal deficit are good for America?