Matt Taibbi: Bush and Billionaires Ripping Us Off

Its tax time. Frustration, followed by feelings of ineffectualness are coming for so many Americans. Unless of course you happen to be a billionaire. Billionaires have the Bush budget to look forward to.

In his article, Taibbi points out the Bush plan to eliminate the estate tax, a move that would take billions of dollars away from taxpayers and essential programs and put it in the pockets of the richest people in the world.
...if the Estate Tax goes, the heirs to the Mars candy corporation -- some of the world's evilest scumbags, incidentally, routinely ripped by human rights organizations for trafficking in child labor to work cocoa farms in places like Cote D'Ivoire -- if the estate tax goes, those assholes will receive about $11.7 billion in tax breaks. That's more than three times the amount Bush wants to cut from the VA budget ($3.4 billion) over the same time period.

Some other notable estimate estate tax breaks, versus corresponding cuts:

* Cox family (Cox cable TV) receives $9.7 billion tax break while education would get $1.5 billion in cuts

* Nordstrom family (Nordstrom dept. stores) receives $826.5 million tax break while Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated, a $630 million cut

* Ernest Gallo family (shitty wines) receives a $468.4 million cut while LIHEAP (heating oil to poor) would get a $420 million cut

The wrongness is giving me stomach pains. Now, don't get me wrong, I am all for tax cuts. Tax cuts for people that need them. Tax cuts for the working poor and working families. Not tax cuts for billionaires while cutting social programs, while still increasing spending.

Wait, I thought tax cuts were supposed to lead to lowered spending? Not really, not when you have no moral qualms with passing on crippling debt to numerous future generations.
Even if you're a traditional, Barry Goldwater conservative, the kinds of budgets that Bush has sent to the hill not only this year but this whole century are the worst-case scenario; they increase spending generally while cutting taxes and social programming. They commit taxpayers to giant subsidies of already Croseus-rich energy corporations, pharmaceutical companies and defense manufacturers while simultaneously cutting taxes on those who most directly benefit from those subsidies. Thus you're not cutting spending -- you're just cutting spending on people who actually need the money. (According to the Washington Times, which in a supremely ironic twist of fate did one of the better analyses of the budget, spending will be 1.6 percent of GDP higher in the 2008 budget than in was in 2000, while revenues will be 2.6 percent of GDP lower). This is something different from traditional conservatism and something different from big-government liberalism; this is a new kind of politics that transforms the state into a huge, ever-expanding instrument for converting private savings into corporate profit.

(emphasis mine)

So yeah, all of that is disturbing and wrong, but allow me to return to my arguement about good tax cuts. Here's some financial disclosure for you. I make less than $30k a year. Roughly 50% of my income goes to rent, and much more of it goes to electricity and food. I was extremely excited about getting back some substantial money this year, in the area of $1000 to $2000 back. To me, that is a few months of rent, a few college loan payments. It would have been a way to escape my current paycheck to paycheck living situation. Too bad I am only getting around $100 back.

I only bring this up because I think my situation shows how broken our tax system really is. $2000 (close to 20% of my income), money that is an H20 molecule in the ocean of federal and state spending, would be a huge benefit to me, but the government has no problem taking it. Meanwhile:
Sanders additionally pointed out that the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond, who received a $400 million retirement package, would receive about $164 million in tax breaks.
Yes, I realize that the estate tax is different than income tax. But I makes me scratch my head when the President is working his ass off to get good ol' boy Lee Raymond another few million, while I and others in my economic situation hope and pray for a meager $2000 of our own money back.

Its time for a progressive tax cut. A tax cut for the poor and for the middle class. Everyone making under $50,000 a year should pay no income tax. Once that happens, maybe we can have a discussion about repealing the estate tax.

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