I listened to the 9 Republican presidential candidates debating yesterday with little surprise at their various proposed tax scams to enrich the wealthy and demolish the rest of us.  Note how many of them have been making out like bandits.

The core issue with taxes based on personal and corporate income is the quid pro quos that we derive from publicly administered taxes.  The libertarians would more or less limit tax uses to such minimums as police and war powers and a few grudging extensions towards small public services here and there to be kept to the minimum.

The vast contrast between the U.S. and our competitor 20 plus developed nations is that each of them uses fair taxation to provide ‘property’ to their citizens at minimal cost in such areas as medical care, pensions, paid vacations, guaranteed food and affordable housing, and many other rights too numerous to detail in a short report.

The Republican game is to pretend that taxes collected by our governments are disposed of in some sort of bureaucratic black hole rather that they being used to provide us essential public services.

The biggest scam for more than half a century — when most developed nations introduced universal medical care to their communities — was that our own American Medical Association — a voluntary organization made up of wealthy doctors who intended to stay wealthy — started the ideological games that have sabotaged American medicine ever since.  Who has not heard that tax funded medical care is SOCIALIZED MEDICINE?  Of course this title only plays on ideological prejudices.  The reality is that tax funded medicine in the developed countries is both more efficiently and cheaply directed to all who need medical care, but also does many of the things (e.g. preventive medicine) about which we only chatter.  The bottom line is that too many poor people in this country die prematurely because they only get emergency medical care when it is too late to save their lives.  And many again of those earning just enough income not to qualify for Medicaid die needlessly either because they can’t afford medical insurance or find that their medical insurance does not cover the life-saving procedures called for to save their lives.  As a college teacher close to my students and sometimes teaching about this problem, I heard more horror stories than I can want to remember.

Bottom Line.  When the Republicans talk about cutting taxes they are really saying that their wealthy friends should be spared the expense of contributing their fair share to paying for the basic needs of all of us.  They are stealing OUR property rights and handing them to the RICH.

And then there are the subplot tax games with new names.  The so-called “DEATH TAX” would have us believe that the massive fortunes which some have assembled should not be recycled in part in the public good while the rest of us struggle to fund wars with a good portion of our income, small as it may be.

And then there is their new gimmick, a so-called “FAIR TAX” which is just another name for a sales tax.  Needless to say, the lower one’s income the more of it is stripped away by sales taxes.  By some estimates a fair tax system would hit our lowest income families with the loss of as much as 35% of their small earned incomes.

Beware the Republican robber barons.  They are hoping to make a comeback and destroy the protections for the rest of us established with the New Deal.  Do we need yet another Depression to restore fair property rights in this country?  Perhaps so.  Greedy economic policies tend to produce them.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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