Published on Countercurrents.org, by Stephen Lendman, 06 October, 2008.
Over 200 years ago, Thomas Paine wrote a treatise on government in which he said “a republic is supposed to be directed by certain fundamental principles of right and justice, from which there cannot, because there ought not to, be any deviation. (It) is executed by a select number of persons, who act as representatives, and in behalf of the whole, and who are supposed to (govern) as the people would do were they all assembled together …
… A menu of changes were enacted, including a “consensus package” to fix the problem by raising payroll taxes on incomes but exempting the rich beyond a maximum level. It also raised the retirement age in incremental steps. The result:
- working Americans bare the brunt of this unfair regressive tax;
- the rich barely feel it;
- low income earners pay more payroll than income tax; and
- the working poor have an enormous unaffordable burden; many earn too little to pay income taxes; yet they’re not exempt from paying 6.2% of their wages for Social Security and another 1.45% for Medicare; employers match them with equal amounts, but it’s not surprising that they pass on these costs through lower pay and benefits; an effective and unfair 15.3% of income burden for wage earners.
The public was told that the changes would make Social Security solvent for the next 75 years. They weren’t told that the program was sound and needed no restructuring. That doing it was to transfer massive wealth amounts from working Americans and the poor to the rich. One part of a greater Reagan administration scheme to shift more of it upward. In addition to restructuring individual and corporate income taxes between 1981 to 1986.
The rich benefitted most with top rates dropping from 70% in 1981 to 50% over three years and then to 28% in 1986. At the same time, the lowest rate actually rose from 11 to 15%. It was the first time that US income tax rates were simultaneously reduced at the top and raised at the bottom. Even worse was that Reagan and Greenspan collaboratively defrauded the public.
By engineering the largest ever income tax cut for the rich combined with the greatest one ever affecting working Americans earning $30,000 or less. The payroll tax was doubled, and “Trust Fund” revenues were then used to reduce budget deficits. The tax code became hugely regressive, and for the first time a pay-as-you-go retirement and disability program became one where wage earner contributions subsidize the rich as well as support current beneficiaries.
The wealth gap began widening. Today it’s unprecedented with the top 1% owning 40% of global assets. The top 10% around 85% of them. The top 1% over one-third of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80% just 15.3%. The top 20% nearly 85%, and in contrast, the poorest 20% in debt owing more than they own. The result of a generational wealth transfer as well as the added effects of globalization, automation, outsourcing, the shift from manufacturing to services, deregulation, weak unions and declining membership, and government indifference to human needs. More than ever under George Bush.
Now compounded by a deepening financial crisis of unknown magnitude. The potentially catastrophic fallout from it. Rescue packages for business alone, and millions of working Americans left to fend for themselves in a very uncertain environment. The result of fleecing America. Letting greedy bankers profit from it. Commit massive fraud and get away with it. Reward them for their crimes. Looting the national treasury to pay for them. Is public anger so surprising? Only that it hasn’t boiled over on the streets of the nation’s Capitol. Maybe in time as things keep worsening and Washington only worries about Wall Street. (full text).
My comment: what I do not understand: why American People let this do? Why not refuse any obedience to this laws, for instance by no more paying terms to banks, no more leaving the houses in dept/ resp. going ‘back hme’, … ok, this only works if ALL TOGETHER do like that.
Or does the brave American fears more the emptiness of ‘no more been told WHAT TO DO NOW’?
(Recently the Swiss discovered irregularities in the electricity bills by the cable network players. Even representants asked people to no more pay the bill. Are Americans realy as much afraid as Michael Moore http://www.michaelmoore.com/ told us? Afraid like the rabbit in face of the snake? Come on, guys, move your a…).