Editorials | Opinions | February 2008
|Federal Tax Relief Package is Welfare for Billionaires|
Stewart A. Alexander - Peace and Freedom Party
The presidential candidate’s debates, which are being hosted by the corporate networks, are basically media spectacles. Nothing is being addressed in these television debates, by the Democrats or Republicans, regarding how they plan to get this nation out of the mess that is presently destroying the lives of millions of Americans. They do not have a plan, or at least not one they dare reveal to the voters.
|Stewart A. Alexander - Socialist Party USA, Nominee for U.S. Vice President, and candidate for nomination by the Peace and Freedom Party|
Socialists, who consider the needs for the people rather than the desires of the corporate rich, push for solutions that will provide for the needs of working people. Seventy five years ago the U.S. economy was crippled. Under heavy pressure from a growing socialist movement, some U.S. leaders decided to introduce various government programs that would put the nation back to work, initially part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This was followed by the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act of 1935.
Within the first year of the program, over 3.4 million people were back to work and the government invested in work projects that provided jobs for the young and elderly. According to public records, the WPA focused on tangible improvements.
During its tenure, workers constructed 651,087 miles of roads, streets and highways; and built, repaired or refurbished 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 landing fields. In addition, workers cleaned slums, revived forests, and extended electrical power to rural locations.
The Emergency Relief Appropriations Act was not the total solution for bringing an end to the Great Depression, but it was a good beginning. The program eventually put over 8.5 million people back to work and improved the lives of millions nationwide.
The Bush administration has introduced a stimulus package that will give millions of Americans a one-time payment up to $600; this is an election-year act of desperation. It is for certain that the federal stimulus package will not significantly ease the current economic crisis the U.S. is presently facing, and it will only give millions of individuals false hopes as the nation slides deeper into the Bush recession.
American retailers had a disappointing Christmas; the $150 billion stimulus package
is a late Christmas present and a welfare check for the billionaire retailers, with many goodies thrown in for other wealthy corporations.
While some in the Senate are making a worthy effort to add some unemployment relief, and direct some of the money to those with too little income to pay income tax, even these positive effects will be minor.
The stimulus plan we need today requires some bold moves.
First, we must end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars, whose tremendous cost is not offset by taxes, are the immediate cause of the weakness of the dollar, sky rocketing oil prices, and the widening trade deficit, as well as being a pointless waste of precious lives.
We must put an end to the present housing market crisis; action must be taken quickly, or the damage will spread quickly. The federal government needs to take action to protect the millions of Americans that could lose their homes in 2008 and 2009, and shift the cost of this disaster from working people to the financial operators who created the problem.
An immediate change in tax policy must reverse the trend of the last thirty years of shifting the tax burden to those least able to pay. Income taxes should end on individuals earning less than $30,000 annually and couples earning less than $60,000 annually, and increase federal taxes on those with incomes in the millions, who pay less proportionately than they have for a century, must replace this revenue.
A real national rebuilding program is needed. The federal government must invest $3 trillion within the next five years and a total of $5 trillion over the next decade to rebuild the nation’s utilities, communications, and rail infrastructure, refurbish public buildings, strengthen bridges, and repair low income housing across America.
The federal government must invest in constructing low income housing, providing jobs for low income families and providing good paying jobs for women and men.
The federal government must develop programs to relieve working people from the tremendous debt burden that modern capitalism constantly creates. We need universal health care, free education for college students, a universal basic income, and fully comprehensive assistance for the aging.
The laws that tilt the scales against union organizing need to be repealed or changed, freeing millions of workers to fight effectively for better wages, hours and working conditions.
To break the stranglehold of the big energy corporations and associated financial institutions on our government and economy, natural resources including oil must be brought under public ownership and democratically managed by the people, not controlled and owned by private corporations.
Public transportation and electric vehicles must be developed to meet the needs of our people in the 21st Century. This will not be fully accomplished without public ownership under democratic management, as only in this way can the drive for private profit at the expense of society and the environment be defeated.
President Franklin Roosevelt introduced the New Deal that began to release the nation from the grips of the Great Depression. America is now in the Bush Recession, and to implement effective economic solutions, it will be necessary to take a page from the socialists' book. One-time checks are not the answer, and the federal stimulus package is already doomed to failure.
For more information search the Web for: Stewart A. Alexander; Independent Voters Rejecting Democrats and Republicans.