One of the major issues which faces us today within the U.S. Congress is the “Bush Tax Cuts” and specifically tax cuts for the rich. It is almost ludicrous that this is an issue but it unfortunately describes how dysfunctional Congress has become. The reason this is important is not just because it affects the deficit but rather because it illustrates a basic problem that the Republican Party has imposed upon our society. The fact is that for thirty years, exaggerated with Republican “voodoo economics” begun under Ronald Reagan, an enormous concentration of wealth and income with a very narrow class of individuals at the top of our economic spectrum has developed and the data and facts support this conclusion. The basic question is whether the majority of people–the lower 98% of people–can read the data and graphs and accept this. I expect to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt in succeeding posts.
Take a look at the graphic below. It shows the reduction in the top marginal income rates for top income earners since the start of the Reagan administration. While this does not contain the entire explanation of why the rich have become richer and all the rest have become poorer, it does suggest why the distribution of income and wealth has radically changed. Reagan’s philosophy was: “Government was not the solution; government was the problem!” Not true, Ronnie, and for many years before this economic problem did not exist. President Clinton made some progress in reversing these trends but his record was not entirely clean either. Far too much power was devoted to the corporate capitalistic sector in reducing regulation and far too many tax loopholes have been produced by lobbyists.
With a “progressive” income tax structure, the devastation of that system under Republican administrations by Reagan and Bush II will naturally lead to the kind of total inequalities of wealth and income we have experienced. This maldistribution will also lead to a total breakdown in our social structure and many have shown that we look more like a Third World nation. These comparisons are valid and can be shown by actual data and facts to be true. The basic question that we have to ask ourselves is whether we care enough to reverse these trends before they become too late.