There is a group called Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), headed by John Boehner, GOP Speaker of the House. This group wrote a pledge, which our elected representatives and even our governors are being “asked” to sign. We know how much pressure there is on Republicans to conform so we can guess that signing does not necessarily mean all of these Republicans are totally in line with the program. Doubts aside they have all promised that they will not raise taxes.
They agree to “oppose any and all increases to personal and business marginal income tax rates as well as any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless it is matched by other tax rate decreases.”
On the face of things this is designed, I believe, to appeal to everyone and turn Republicans into our heroes. But just the thought of it made me so angry I could not sleep. I spent half my night trying to “use my words” so I, and others, could understand my anger. As usual I came up with several hundred words.
1. By signing this document these Republican Congress people and governors have told us that they will not have the flexibility they need to help solve our financial dilemmas.
2. They have included all American taxpayers to get personal income tax payers on their side, however, most of us know that our taxes cannot be raised right now because we are not solvent enough to rescue the economy and we can’t spare that money. So, this is about the top 2% of Americans and corporations (perhaps also some small businesses, but not the other 98% of us.
3. Since most economists believe we will solve our debt problems by a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases, this pledge, by taking revenue increases off the table, means that we are left with only spending cuts. Guess what they intend to cut? And here we are back to Medicare vouchers and the demise of Social Security. We paid our money and we want it used for us as per the promises we grew up with. It is not our fault that our government has squandered our safety net, although it is our problem.
4. Once again this turns America into a shallow country with only one goal – profit! America has tried to be so much more than this. We need to think about the future in enlightened ways that go way beyond simple greed.
5. And, although I think this pledge is a political trick and is wrong in so many ways, I think it reflects the change in the importance of the average citizen to those top 2 percent. Since they no long need us as employees they do not intend to continue the safety net that protected us as employees and protected them as employers. We are superfluous and perhaps “lazy.” While this makes me “throw up a little bit in my mouth,” it does suggest that we may have to reinvent ourselves even far into our senior years and invent incomes that we can rely on in case these pledge signers succeed in dismantling our benefits which are somehow now called entitlements. This is not just semantics, it is politics.
6. Stop voting for these people. You are not rich enough to be in their exclusive and very expensive club.
So far 263 members of the House of Representatives and 41 Senators have signed this agreement and 1263 state legislators have also signed a similar agreement on the state level. You can find a copy of the pledge and a list of signers at http://www.atr.org/taxpayer-protection-pledge-a2882