On May 28, 2003 George Bush delivered another handout to the rich by signing a $350 billion tax cut bill. Despite the Bush administration touting the bill as tax relief for “those who need it,” the bill will not help the neediest. Instead, the bill disproportionately benefits the wealthy, just like Bush’s first $1.35 trillion tax cut in 2001.
Misleading Treasury Department language stated that “91 million taxpayers will receive, on average, a tax cut of $1,126.” This statement hides the fact that those with the highest incomes benefit most from the bill. According to the Tax Policy Center, the middle fifth of US households will receive only $217 from the tax cut, and 53% of all households will receive $100 or less. Meanwhile, those earning $1 million or more a year will each receive $93,500. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities)
Due to the economic slowdown, Bush’s tax cuts, and the costs of the Iraq war, this year’s federal budget deficit is $400 billion – the largest in US history. Creating a massive deficit is part of a conscious strategy by the White House so they can claim “there isn’t enough money” and then force huge cuts in social services. With nearly every state facing a massive budget crisis, politicians are trying to make working people pay for the tax cuts by cutting funding for schools, healthcare, and communities.
Rather than demanding that money be used to create jobs or fund healthcare and education, Congressional Democrats accepted Bush’s idea that tax cuts were necessary. They simply complained that Bush’s original $726 billion tax cut proposal was too large and that it should be whittled down to $350 billion – still a massive handout to the rich.
It is the working class, the poor and the middle class who deserve tax relief. Rather than Bush’s handouts to the rich, we should massively raise taxes on giant corporations and the millionaires who can easily afford them in order to expand funding for education, healthcare, and needed services in these difficult times.