Drain the Treasury, Pour in the Votes


With the second presidential debate, this one on domestic issues, looming Friday night, the Bush campaign is running around like a headless chicken, trying to paint its huge tax cuts for the rich as a gift for the middle class.

In Iowa on Monday, Bush signed another bogus tax cut into law, calling it a measure for the “middle class”— though in reality it has little to do with any middle class you might ever have heard about.

“More than two-thirds of the tax cut will go to the fifth of households with the highest incomes,” says Robert Greenstein, who heads the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington. “Households in the middle 20 percent of the income scale will get only nine percent of the tax cuts . . . and will receive an average tax cut of just $162 from the bill next year. By contrast, households in the $200,000 to $500,000 income range will get an average tax cut of $2,390.”

The chicanery doesn’t stop here. Tucked away in the small print is news that the bill will cause the government to lose $146 billion in revenues over 10 years and add more than $200 billion to the defict.

Greenstein points out that since Congress enacted reforms that closed corporate tax shelters this year, it might have used money saved from those bills to pay for the new act. But no, they passed this middle-class tax relief con without paying for it. That means we’ll all pay for it—probably in the form of reduced social services—long after Bush Junior has left the scene. That’s known in right-wing circles as returning usurped federal powers to the states.

As for low-income working families, the group politicians love to abuse, forget about it. Why give a sucker an even break?