To the Editor:
There is a battle going on in the U.S. Congress for the soul of our country. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget which, if enacted, would plunge our economy back into recession.
According to The Washington Post, Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi, who was John McCain’s economic advisor, stated that the bill just passed by the U.S. House would cause 400,000 U.S. citizens to lose their jobs this year and 700,000 by the end of 2012. Economists from Goldman Sachs confirmed the estimate of massive job losses and a slow down of growth. The House budget also eliminates or drastically curtails programs that enable us to breathe clean air and trust in the safety of our food and water. However, it does allow for $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies, who reported record profits last year.
The Guardian/UK and Reuters recently released reports about U.S. corporate tax dodgers. For example, Bank of America, who received a $45 billion bailout from taxpayers in 2008, paid zero federal income taxes in 2009. Bank of America, like many other large American corporations, hides many of its profits in overseas tax havens and makes use of tax loopholes.
The redistribution of wealth has been incredibly successful in the last 30 years. The highest-earning 1 percent of the U.S. population increased its share of income from 9 percent to 19 percent, helped by tax breaks and loopholes which can be exploited by the rich. Workers’ wages have been stagnant or falling for at least 30 years. Many of the super rich use their windfall profits to invest in China, India, hedge funds, and to buy politicians and influence elections. At a time of national economic crises, corporations and the super rich are able and should contribute far more in taxes. Instead the House budget will remove protections for the poor and middle class while protecting corporations and the rich.
Of course we must address our country’s long-term debt. However, even the bipartisan deficit commission warned against drastic measures while our economy is still fragile. I don’t want to leave my grandchildren with an insurmountable national debt, but, even more so, I don’t want to leave them a third world country with a few filthy rich haves, the rest of us as have-nots, where it is not safe to drink the water.