Friday, December 22, 2006

Why Am I Obsessed With the Tax Cut for Rich Seniors?

It's harder than you think to write original material for a blog.

But seriously, it really bothers me. The senior tax cut is the epitome of what has gone wrong in American Politics. Basically, our elected officials have all too often favored the interests of the well to do over those of working Americans and have all too often wasted our tax dollars on welfare for corporations and the well to do rather than addressing the needs of the middle class and the poor and disabled. It really bothers me. It's almost as bad as being redundant.

I dropped out of active involvement in politics many years ago when I was a young man living in Minnesota. Basically I thought it had devolved into pointlessness and silliness and was basically not worth my time. I never stopped reading (and hopefully thinking) about politics though. Over a decade ago, I started to attend some of the Columbia Democratic Club's meetings and was turned off by the shenanigans I witnessed, so I slunk back into my observer's chair.

And then I watched the alarming spectacle that American politics became. First, I watched the New Deal and the Great Society (which had made great progress for this nation) systematically undone by the Reagan and Bush I Administrations. I feared for the future of my country as the gap between rich and poor, which had shrunk so much under the Great Society and the New Deal, opened up again, as real incomes stagnated or even declined for most Americans and as we began to run incredibly huge deficits.

I remember the pundits noting that the Federal Budget had spun out of control with no way to fix it. And then, I witnessed something that gave me hope: America elected a truly-gifted and idealistic (but oversexed) President. And then I watched as his own party and his own inexperience almost destroyed his Presidency. But alas the American People wisely fired the Democratic Congress and unwisely hired the Republicans to run Congress (the problem was that we had no other choice). And then President Clinton was able to go about the business of fixing a lot of what was wrong with the federal government. The deficit disappeared, without throwing the economy into recession, unemployment fell and real incomes began to ascend, albeit all too slowly. The Clinton Administration conducted a quiet but extremely successful foreign policy. Alas there were storm clouds on the horizon, America suffered two major terrorist attacks during the Clinton Administration: Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center. President Clinton responded, by introducing anti-terrorism legislation, which Congress promptly voted down, and by attempting to kill Osama Bin Ladin, for which he was roundly castigated by the Republican Congress. Meanwhile the threat posed by Al Queda grew. Instead of doing their job and working with the President, they chose to impeach him for a trivial matter.

Then there was the Bush Administration, I don't think I have to remind anyone how tragic and destructive the past six years have been. Watching Bush and his Congressional cronies destroying (or at least trying to destroy) every thing I love and admire about our nation (while the Democrats cowered in fear in a uniquely disorganized fashion) was just too much for me. I had to do something.

So, I got involved with the Party that had once done great things for this nation, but was, alas then just the lesser of the two evils. (To be sure, they were much less evil than the Republicans). I vowed I would do all that I could to help that Party get the Republicans out of power, for the good of our nation and humanity. And I vowed to do all I could to help the Democratic Party become, once again, the Party that represented the ideals which I believe this nation stands for.

I don't think that a regressive tax cut is consistent with those ideals. It's the kind of thing that makes me loath the present Republican Party. So I hope that this tax cut is repealed and that other measures, besides tax cuts, are used to meet the unique needs of seniors.

I see this as a test of our local party's leadership. I'm hoping that either they repeal this regressive legislation or that someone can convince me that I have it wrong?

Otherwise, I'm going to end up as one seriously disillusioned blogger.

I was enjoying that hopeful feeling.


Anonymous said...

Your brief history lesson reminds me of that Edmund Burke quote "All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing".

I'm glad you're at least now saying that other measures could be used to meet the unique needs of seniors. Hopefully, is that an acknowledgement that you don't believe 100% of seniors are the "well-to-do" and immune to property tax increases impacting their lives substantially?

Perhaps a solution lies somewhere in the middle? A needs test that applies pro-rated relief? Less of a property tax increase now, but a higher transfer tax rate at time of sale?

Steve Fine said...

I have never said seniors don't need assistance from the community. In fact, as I have writing all along, one of my chief concerns is the tax cut does little to address these problems, while conferring a windfall on many people who don't need it.

(I'm not convinced anyone is actually being forced to move out of their homes, by high property values. But Seniors face a lot of other issues and are deserving of assistance from the community,)

Any legislation needs to give the most aid to the least economically fortunate and taper off at a certain point. The present law does the opposite.

And we should be measuring one's wealth, not income, because those who are seventy are often living off of savings rather than earning income.

Anonymous said...

When you put it like that, I don't disagree at all.