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Commentary :: Politics : Social Welfare
Millionaires and War
02 Jul 2005
Was there ever a time when Congressional tax cuts for multi-millionaires were more unseemly?

Recently President Bush spoke about the war in Iraq on national TV, asking Americans to be patient and to bear in silence the heavy sacrifice of American soldiers’ lost lives. That number is getting close to 2000.
Almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled the war.

In 2001, when terrorism czar Richard Clark was trying to get high-ranking Bush administrators to meet about the al-Qaeda threat, the Administration was mounting a campaign to pass tax cuts for multi-millionaires. In June of that year, they succeeded in achieving cuts of $1.35 trillion over 10 years. The major beneficiaries had the highest incomes in the land.

In 2003, as our troops were marching on Baghdad, Bush and Congress were pushing for $330 billion in additional tax cuts, 57 percent of which went to households with incomes over $337,000.

Last summer, as the death toll for American troops was passing 1,000, the administration was fighting hard to give corporate donors an additional $140 billion in tax breaks.

Now, the Senate is preparing to vote on repealing the estate tax, a tax that is only paid by multi-millionaires and billionaires, fewer that 1.5 percent of estates each year.

If there ever was a time to limit tax breaks for multi-millionaires, this should be it. The cost of our military involvements is growing, and we need to make additional investments to protect homeland security. Meanwhile, our budget surplus has disappeared, shifting from a 2001 estimate of $5.6 trillion in the black to $5.2 trillion in the red today.

Bush has asked for and gotten close to $200 billion in emergency war funds, and it is rumored he will ask for more. Where is this money to come from?

None of this has deterred Congress from its relentless march to repeal the estate tax this year. Repeal would cost almost $1 trillion over two decades. Giving such a tax break to wealthy heirs would only shift the burden of paying for security onto the rest of us.

It is unprecedented in U.S. history to pass tax cuts for the wealthy in a time of war. For over 200 years, estate and inheritance taxation has been linked with mobilizations for war. The first federal tax on wealth was levied in 1797, as our country faced the escalating costs of responding to French attacks on American shipping.

During the 19th century, income and estate taxes were imposed during the revenue emergencies of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Wartime taxation was viewed as fair at a time when many citizens were sacrificing their lives.

The 1916 passage of the estate tax was a fundamentally American response to the inequalities of the Gilded Age, as well as the U.S. entry into World War I. Even after the war, businessman Harlan E. Read argued in "The Abolition of Inheritance" that war debts should be paid with heavy taxes on inherited wealth.

To pay for World War II, the estate tax was increased so that fortunes exceeding $50 million would be taxed at 70 percent. President Franklin Roosevelt spoke out boldly against war profiteering, saying, "I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster."

Today the lives of U.S. citizens are again at risk as they face prolonged service in Iraq. Others are feeling the pain of recession, losing jobs, savings and security. State and local governments, facing the worst budget cuts since World War II, have gutted crucial community services.

Rather than facing these problems and appropriating the money to resolve them, congressional leaders are using the fog of war to pass another tax cut for the wealthy that would exacerbate long-term budget shortfalls at all levels. While the public's attention is riveted on the war in Iraq, Congress shirks its duty to find money to pay for it, and instead moves to repeal the estate tax, our most progressive tax.

There is only one word for advocating such an inequality of sacrifice: shame!

Chuck Collins (ccollins (at), co-author with Bill Gates, Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes, is Senior Fellow at United for a Fair Economy.

This work licensed under a
Creative Commons license.
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The Problem With Veterans
03 Jul 2005
The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.
- Joseph Mengele

The Problem With Veterans

Vets Are Expensive
(And Well Trained)

War Veterans of the 20th and 21st century have always been a problem to the industrialist elite financier types who create, and profit from modern warfare.
The problem is actually twofold.
First, survivors of warfare are usually hardened troops, well trained, and possessing a certain degree of discipline for the rest of their lives. Veterans are capable of organizing because they have been trained to do that. In some instances veterans not only DO organize among themselves, but also effect great change and wield a good little bit of power within government itself. Overall this is not an optimum situation for the people who wish to have everything their own way, and easily. People who violently resent any inclination otherwise, people like the bushcheneyrumscondosleezllaryton coven.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the veterans of 20th and 21st century American wars have usually been promised, contingent upon survival, of course, some sort of payment, care, or benefit(s) as reward for service to their country, which is really service to the few rich and conniving families who run the country, now with the help of other rich families around the world. And these families are all Really REALLY rich. Many generations rich. The currency mongers. Believe me, you do not understand how wealthy these people are. You are not allowed to understand things like that. That is not your place. Know your place. Examples of these ultra rich families reneging on their promises are rife. They did not get as rich as they are by being generous. No. They got that way by being better predators, but thats a story for another day.
Suffice it to say that one must many times pursue-with-fervor what is necessary to survive within the ever shrinking bubble which veteran care has become. So we finally get to the real problem, and the real problem is this: Veterans are Expensive, especially in great numbers possessing various and sundry deformities-contagions-and-God-only-knows-what-other kinds of damages.
What to do? What to Do?? About these problematic veterans? How about this: we stage wars like sports events, country bands at half time, and Nugent if they get really surly later on...then we deploy and test alllllll kinds of biotech and radiation technology which we need to test anyway, then we also use uranium powders in the bombs so that a great degree of radioactive dust becomes airborn always, forever and ever, then we keep the troops over there for 5-8 years, because 1-2 years did not work the first time around -- we know this and thats why we had to destroy the gulf war one medical records by having the mind control subject Mcveigh take the fall for the cataclysm at Oklahoma City. What? You did not realize thats where most of the gulf war one medical records were stored? Well bust my buttons and shut my mouth I am sure sorry to be the one to burden you with that but I guess its time for you to wake up and smell the pork barrel eh?
The way to handle the veteran problem is SIMPLE!! Make it so they will not live long enough after a war to collect or even become a problem! Make them disposable! WHAT A CONCEPT! If the veteran goes away, the veteran problem goes away. See The Movie BEYOND TREASON.
the only fair economy is communism
03 Jul 2005
the only way there is socialist revolution.
Re: Millionaires and War
05 Jul 2005
No. We do not need a government. Socialist, capitalist, communist, fascist, or whatever. Governments provide no benefits that people could not provide without government.
05 Jul 2005
If there wasn't a workers government and a workers army, who would stop the capitalists from exploiting us?
Re: Millionaires and War
05 Jul 2005
"The cost of our military involvements is growing, and we need to make additional investments to protect homeland security." Do tell! Is this then a brief for a more "progressive" funding of a reactionary, illegal war & domestic repression? "war debts should be paid with heavy taxes on inherited wealth"? Are you trying to tell us that war is alright as long as the funding is more equitable? That the real problem here is not this criminal war & occupation - but the way that it's funded? Fix that & everything's o.k.? "While attention is riveted on the war in Iraq, Congress shirks its duty to find the money to pay for it"...? Congress "shirks its duty" by approving -and paying for by any means - such an indefensible invasion in the first place! Let's not lose sight of the central issue here while quibbling over tax policy. It doesn't matter whether you slaughter 100,000 Iraqi's -or 1,000's of Palestinians- using inheritance taxes or payroll taxes or whatever ---It's still dead wrong!!!
This article should be subtitled "mensheviks and war"
05 Jul 2005
Hey economists and war, go easy on the dude he's just angling for another foundation buck in the terrible philanthropic economy we're experiencing.

Re: Millionaires and War
06 Jul 2005
I can see why the some folks have issues with this article's mushy stance on the war, but I think a little perspective might help: This is a colum UFE wants to get published not just on Indy Media, but in mainstream papers across the country. We (the Boston Indy Media editors) don't have to convinced that issues of economic justice like this are important, but most mainstream newspaper editors are going to be harder to convince. If UFE is going to get this analysis published, it helps if they only tackle one big issue at a time. They probably have enough trouble get this published without going into why the war is bad as well. If you think the analysis of the economic justice issues is too moderate, same issue. Not everyone who might be receptive to progressive analyses knows about sites like Indy Media where you can get progressive analyses that haven't been watered down, so it's worth the effort to get this information out there to those people, who otherwise wouldn't get it all, even if you have to water things down a bit.
watering down
06 Jul 2005
"watering down" is a euphemism for lying.

So it's okay to write crap to increase your chances of getting published?

How are any readers anywhere supposed to know if Chuck is against the war if he keeps it a secret?

The real secret Chuck and that baboon guy don't want us to know is that they've given up on the people and want to appeal to "reasonable" and "moderate" government types. Fat chance. In five years Chuck will be a union busting corporate lawyer, and baboon-man will be a cop. Mark my words: the red herring speaks the truth.
Red Herring
06 Jul 2005
We would stop the capitalists ourselves. A dictatorship of the proletariat is no better than a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The same argument can be used to say, "Without the capitalist imperialist order, who would protect us from the evil Jews/commies/terrorists?"

In order for the bourgeoisie to hold power, the people have to be willing to submit to them. If the majority of the working class submits to the ruling class, the dissenting minority will have the choice of submitting or being violently repressed. This is of course due to the inherently violent nature of all government, and particularly of capitalism. The only reason that the majority of the working class allow themselves to be exploited by the capitalists, is because they have been brainwashed into submitting. The ruling class brainwashes the working class by doing the following things:

1) Inventing the myth of the middle class.
2) "Uniting" everyone for the all-important "war" against the Jews, commies, terrorists, or whatever mythical enemy that specific government creates.
3) Convincing the sheeple that they are "one of the guys."

The solution is to educate people about the inherent evils of capitalism. Allow people to think for themselves and they will choose to live freely rather than submit. Now there is no need for any government and everyone can live happily ever after.

The End
Oil Will Break The Middle Class
17 Jul 2005
Tax breaks for the rich are just one of the problems the working class face.
1984 is here. We, the middle class and poor, are going to lose more than anyone would expect.
Sleepwalking America will be our downfall.
Who will step to the plate to help us?
Re: Millionaires and War
29 Jul 2005
This is a disgusting war for oil. There should be a commision investigating Bush's lies.