Tuesday :: Jun 3, 2003

GOP Thinks the Poor Should Pay For Government Services, But Not Corporations


by Steve

Timothy Noah of Slate in his Chatterbox column does a good job of outlining the various lies told by Bush, his administration, and the GOP in explaining why a large number of the working poor were excluded intentionally from the recent Bush tax giveaway. Most pointedly, Noah points out where Ari Fleischer was lying (no surprise there), and mentions a possible rationale behind the exclusion of the poor: the GOP’s new mantra may very well be that the poor need to pay more in taxes because they use more of the government’s services.

This new class warfare grenade from the right wing was first put out there by the Wall Street Journal and journalist wannabes at Fox News several months ago. And it now appears from Ari’s pathetic “they should be appreciative” tone that this really means they better be grateful while they can that they pay no taxes for the national defense and other services they consume at the national level.

[F]or people who have had their entire income tax burden forgiven, I think they're very appreciative of the fact that they pay no income taxes in America and still benefit from a national defense, which is paid from income taxes; they still benefit from school programs that are paid at the federal level income taxes. They still benefit from a host of programs that income taxes help them in their daily lives; yet they pay zero income taxes. In fact, they get back money from the Treasury which is in the form of public assistance, above and beyond income taxes.

As Noah points out,

Chatterbox detects a note of pique here, as if Fleischer, in saying these subsidized free riders were "very appreciative" of their status, really meant to say that they damn well ought to be "very appreciative." Whence this resentment of housekeepers and janitors? Perhaps from the conviction that poor people ought to pay more in taxes, or at least ought to receive less from the Earned Income Tax Credit, because otherwise they will never learn to appreciate that the government services they crave cost money. Perhaps what Fleischer and others in the Bush administration long to say, and yet can't, is that taxing the poor, far from being a regrettable byproduct of lowering taxes on the rich, is a good in and of itself.

So how does this punitive approach to the poor square with this Administration’s willingness to let corporations, who also benefit from national defense, national highways, a pathetic and pourous regulatory environment, a pool of public-educated workers, and the safety net get away with paying no taxes? Why is this argument good for the poor but not for corporations?

Steve :: 12:30 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!