By Marc McDonald
April 15, 2007 at 08:33:47
Let's say your wealth puts you in the top 1/100th of 1 percent of all Americans. The tax burden for these super-rich people has been steadily falling for years. In 1993, they paid 30 cents of every dollar into federal income tax. In 2000, that had fallen to 22 cents. Now, with the Bush tax cuts, it has fallen to 18 cents. And if you're wealthy, your odds of a tax audit actually decrease these days.
Every night, in my room in the YMCA just off Central Park South West, during my visit to America in the summer of 2004, I watched the Democrat National Convention which was taking place in Boston at that time. I remember several of the addresses, including those delivered by Edward Kennedy, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter. Especially memorable was this part of Bill Clinton's address:
At home -- at home, the president and the Republican Congress have made equally fateful choices, which they also deeply believe in. For the first time when America was on a war footing in our whole history, they gave two huge tax cuts, nearly half of which went to the top 1 percent of us.
Now, I'm in that group for the first time in my life. And you might remember that when I was in office, on occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me. But soon as I got out and made money, I began part of the most important group in the world to them. It was amazing. I -- I never thought I'd be so well cared for by the president and the Republicans in Congress.
I, uh, -- I almost sent them a thank-you note for my tax cuts -- until I realized that the rest of you were paying for the bill for it, and then I thought better of it.
Now, look at the choices they made, choices they believed in. They chose to protect my tax cut at all costs, while withholding promised funding for the Leave No Child Behind Act, leaving 2.1 million children behind. While they chose to protect my tax cut, while cutting 140,000 unemployed workers out of their job-training programs, a hundred thousand working families out of their child-care assistance, and worst of all, while cutting 300,000 poor children out of their after-school programs when we know it keeps them off the streets, out of trouble, in school learning, going to college and having a good life.
They chose -- they chose to protect my tax cuts while dramatically raising the out-of-pocket costs of health care to our veterans, and while weakening or reversing very important environmental measures that Al Gore and I put into place, everything from clean air to the protection of our forests.
Now, in this time, everyone in America had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans. And most of us, all most all of us, from Republicans to Independents and Democrats, we wanted to be asked to do our part too, but all they asked us to do was to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts.
Click here to read, hear, and see Clinton's address.