Monday, February 16, 2009

Tax 'code'

A good piece about the not-so-hidden agenda behind tax cuts. Highlights are below, but there's a lot more in there.

It’s time to tell the truth about tax cuts. This phrase dominates political discourse and is coughed out every time a conservative public figure opens his mouth. It is treated like the basis of sound reasoning, yet no one points out what should be obvious - that “tax relief” and “tax cuts” are just code words for destroying the capacity of government to serve the public.

The reason many people accept conservative claims about taxation and government is that they hold up for many common experiences, especially when conservatives are in control of the government. Conservative officials enact policies that make life worse for people while claiming that things will get better. Then they draw upon these negative experiences to advance their agenda. No Child Left Behind is an excellent example. The strategy works like this (a more detailed analysis can be found here):

1. Declare that the agenda is to “improve” public education
2. Pass legislation that cripples public schools
3. Cry out for “reform” when people see how bad our schools are doing
4. Get rid of public schools and replace them with private schools, especially schools that teach conservative ideology (e.g. elite charter schools, religious schools, etc.)

[...]

Treating taxation as nothing more than a burden is tantamount to declaring that citizenship is nothing more than getting all you can for yourself… everyone else be damned. Conservative elites have undermined the responsibilities we have to one another to advance their agenda.

[...]

Not a single home foreclosure throughout this crisis has been caused by excessive taxation. The misfortune of illness in a dysfunctional health system has burdened people with horrendous debt. Where did this problem come from? Profit-driven health care created under the Nixon Administration.

Banks haven’t failed catastrophically through over-sized personal W-2 forms. Radical deregulation is the culprit. Who deregulated the market? Conservative ideologues from both political parties. (This is what the word “centrist” really means - conservatives who’ve infiltrated the Democratic Party.)

Companies haven’t been driven to huge lay-offs because their tax burden is too high. They are victims of an unraveling market. What undermined the integrity of the global economy? An extremist philosophy of governance that is blind to the role of the regulatory frameworks that give stabilizing structure to our markets.
Click through and read the rest.

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