Kudo's to Senator Bernie Sanders for talking about Billionaires wanting even more wealth and
being willing to dismantle the existing political and social order to get it.
Read it here
Sanders talks about the impact of extending the Bush tax cuts for the "wealthy" and states that Billionaires and their supporters in Congress have no desire to share the supposed social and financial benefits of our democratic republic. He says they want to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and all traces of social legislation designed to protect those disadvantaged by age, disability and other misfortunes not of one's own making. I believe him.
What I want to know is why Sanders, and others who supposedly seek greater financial and social equity, are not talking about some other things:
Flying under the radar of the uninformed is the issue of Capital Gains taxes. To my knowledge, the Bush tax cuts have nothing to do with anything but earned income. The really wealthy earn approximately 50% (UC Berkeley Study 2006) of their income from capital gains and dividends taxed as capital gains. The maximum tax rate on capital gains for years has been 15%. It's moving to 20% in 2011. So a Bazillionaire who earns millions in capital gains will not be but perhaps 50% impacted by higher taxes on ordinary income. Yet. we the people are currently paying 25% (or more) on income we earned from our sweat on any Adjusted Gross Income above @ $34K if single and $68K if married filing jointly. Do we hear anything about taxing capital gains, even after some reasonable exclusion, at ordinary income rates? No! Why? My guess is because that's the way the billionaires want it, and Congress isn't even whimpering about it. Good dog, Fido, here's another $ Mil for your next campaign.
Congress also isn't talking about revising their own lucrative pension plan, raising the eligibility age, or increasing the years of service required to qualify (currently only 5 years), or increasing their own required contribution (1%). Nor will they consider giving up their own taxpayer funded health care insurance or the free clinics provided to them staffed by Navy medical officers and personnel. But of course, Social Security is fair game as well as the few gains we common folk have achieved through recent health care legislation. Would any concessions by Congress make a huge dent in our financial difficulties? No...but it would show an attitude of decency and fairness that is sorely missing.
Finally I think we're being incited by most members of Congress and the MSM to shift our focus away from the truly wealthy and to be jealous of and support taxing people who earn a better living than some, but are not truly part of the problem. I believe the taxes on ordinary earned income are already too high. Why should anyone pay more than 25% on what we earn to Washington? The Physician who went to school for years and invested in his or her practice with buildings, equipment and people deserves to earn a good living...and he or she provides professional and clerical employment to many others...for example. And, they are at risk to lose it all through misfortune or for other reasons. Same goes for many other professionals and most entrepreneurs and business owners. It's the people earning $Millions annually as executives of public corporations through stock options and non taxable benefits, as well as obscene salaries, who are shortchanging both the stockholders and the tax system...broadly speaking. As well as those who simply clip coupons (stocks and bonds) for a living....and of course hedge fund traders who make billions in "unearned income."
Like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Congress and their monied supporters, corporate and otherwise, are virtually indistinguishable. The poor and middle classes are being systematically priced out of higher education and health care. We have to fight for fair wages. What jobs remain continue to be shipped overseas. it has been going on a long time. Too long! The lies and obfuscation coming out of Washington about all of this would make Joseph Goebbels proud.
And, where is the man we elected to take the "bully pulpit" and bring about real change? I'm waiting for and begging him to step up and start swinging. When he does, he'll have lots of support.