Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The poor and the middle class pay the price when budgets are cut because the rich, the corporate giants and the defense department have lobbyists. It has little to do with the importance of their programs — it’s all about more lobbyists, more influence.
The whole economic spectrum should feel the pain of budget tightening, not just one end. The rich benefit from government programs, too. Corporate giants get “welfare” in the form of subsidies and tax breaks, despite their huge profits. Defense contractors get lucrative profit margins guaranteed in their contracts, despite their wasteful and inefficient industry. But us regular folks just get program cuts.
Besides questioning where cuts are made, we need to question the whole philosophy of cut, cut, cut. Is cutting always good? Do we keep cutting till there is nothing left? We must adjust our thinking. Spending has merits, too.
We have lots of people and lots of needs. (Cutting programs doesn’t reduce the need; it stays the same.) It is good to pool our resources and efficiently meet those needs. Taxes are not the government stealing from us. Taxes are an investment in programs and infrastructure that help everyone.
Think of taxes as a charitable contribution. “Donating” to your government helps those who don’t have enough to eat, who need help paying their heating bill, or who need money to finish college. By helping others we improve our economy and reduce crime.
Finally, we need to change our perception (understanding) of taxes. One, we complain about being overtaxed but we’re taxed at a historically low rate. In the ’70s we paid more taxes (and got more services.)
Two, even those too poor to pay income tax still pay Social Security tax, sales tax, etc.
Three, all of us, including the rich, get tax benefits that are overlooked: Emergency services, military protection, safe food and medicine, courts and jails, etc.
Four, when rich people pay a higher rate, only a portion of their income is taxed at that rate.
So tell U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers no more cuts! (Except defense programs or corporate subsidies that have been spared till now.)
Tell U.S. Sen. Patty Murray you want more services, which means increasing tax revenue from the wealthy.
Tell U.S. Maria Cantwell that higher taxes and services mean healthy, well-educated workers, a safe country and a strong economy.
Demand a system that treats all fairly, whether or not they have a lobbyist.