Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RICH MAN POOR MAN WHO’S GONNA PAY?



April 18, 2012

So he got our money again and it hurts! All year long he’s steely-eyed Uncle Sam, defender of the country, firm yet benevolent daddy to us all; but not in April. Now he’s got a gun and a mask; he turns us on our ear and shakes out our pockets. He’s our Sheriff of Nottingham, out, as an immigrant friend once said, to squeeze the last penny from our mouths.
Grudgingly, we part with our earnings and fully expect it all to be squandered. This is the Land of the Free so I wanna be free of taxation: do away with the IRS altogether. That’s the idea. Washington wants money? Let the government go get it someplace else. Uh... China perhaps?
But I forgot, we’re already in debt to those Commies to the tune of nearly two trillion Big Ones. And they’re making loud complaining sounds – unless I’m confusing this with the normal singsong speech patterns of the Mandarin language.
A bit of a quandary, then. So there’s really only one way out and that’s to raise taxes at home.
Before the clowns in the tricorn hats start baying for my blood, let’s stop and think. Because nobody outside the good old USA cares to pull this country back from the brink, the desperately needed moolah must be provided by us good old Americans. We’re in a war against insolvency and we’ve always come to the aid of the country we love, so it’s up to us. Period.
Tea Partygoers and progressives actually think alike on this subject. They don’t want to be taxed. They also want the country to scramble out of the ditch and start back on the road to prosperity. Can’t have both, so if our salvation can come only from raising money at home, what to do?
The answer is so simple it’s in bright flashing neon: Tax the people who can afford it.
Not me, I can’t. Nor can you. But there are those for whom taxation is painless, and we call on these, our fellow Americans, to lend this country a helping hand. We’re jobless, homeless. They’re the ones with the fortunes, and as such the only citizens who can assist. Therefore, since they’ve enjoyed the most succulent fruits of this country, let them show they love America with a few extra baubles from their treasure chests.
Nah! They ain’t gonna do it because the USA clearly isn’t uppermost in the minds of these folks and anyway - greed rules. These “loyal” Americans keep their fortunes overseas and spend millions on lobbyists and politicians to con us into believing that nobody should pay taxes at all – least of all them.
Let’s take a look at the glorious Ronald Reagan years for which Republicans keep pining. Back then the wealthiest one percent of Americans paid between a third and half of their income in taxes. The Nixon era was just as strict on the rich. Today it’s no longer 50 percent but 29. The Tea Party proselytes grumble loudly, but where was their outrage in those venerated Republican days? Back then their tongues were stilled.
It’s precisely the folks with the bulging wallets who should be taxed at a proportionately greater scale because for them the American dream turned into reality. Especially the banks and the big-time gambling czars of Wall Street who plunged us into this current financial mess. And a couple of fat cat oil barons named Charles and David Koch who are the financial backbone of the Tea Party, looking for an easy way to avoid paying any taxes at all.
Koch means ‘cook’ in German. We should look at  what these two are cooking up; it’s Hoodwink Stew and it’s not very appetizing.
Through their two patriotic-sounding front organizations, Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, the Brothers Bad have managed to fool so many. Only those taking home a quarter million a year can expect a higher IRS bill,  so the small crowds of teabaggers - those folks blustering about “lower taxes” - must be in that affluent bracket. Walton County is home to some of them, apparently. Lucky them. Wish I made that much.
“Class warfare” parrot the Republicans. Which class is it they champion? Not the homeless class, not the old, the sick, the war veterans, wounded or otherwise. Not the folks whose jobs went to Mexico. Not the well qualified who’re now having to take menial employment. Not the people whose workweek has been cut to four, maybe three days. Which class then? Clearly not the middle.
It’s the class of Americans whose annual income exceeds $250,000, of course. People like Republican congressman John Fleming of Louisiana who issued a public bellyache saying he couldn’t afford to pay more in tax. He takes home $600,000 a year. Well if you can’t manage, squire, I certainly can’t and nor can my neighbors whose earnings might be less than one tenth of yours.
And it’s folks like those hedge fund managers and Wall Street guys gambling with our money and taking bonuses even when they lose it. And the “job creators” like Mitt Romney who only kill jobs.
In this newspaper (Oct 26 2011) I read Walnut Grove mayor Don Cannon: “No-one likes to pay taxes, every taxpayer would like for them to be lower, and I could say that about my utility bills and my mortgage. Our local governments are responsible for providing for their citizens (you and I). Someone has to pay the price.”
Well said, hizzoner.

ENDIT

© 2012 Fred Wehner is a journalist formerly with the Daily Mail in London, who then founded and ran the New York News Agency before settling in Monroe 21 years ago.