Billionaires for Bush
September 29, 2004
By Jackson Thoreau
Another example of how super-wealthy Americans are getting richer
under Bush was released last week with Forbes' annual list of the
400 richest Americans.
There are now a record 313 billionaires in the country, a 19 percent
jump from 2003. The combined net worth of the 400 rose $45 billion
On the same day, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a political
tax cut that mostly benefits big corporations and wealthy individuals,
adding to the planned total cuts under Bush of $1.9 trillion over
Despite about half of that money being earmarked for the wealthiest
2 percent of Americans, Bush says middle-class Americans will benefit
from these cuts. But in 2005, almost 70 percent of this legislation's
benefits will go to the wealthiest 20 percent of American families,
who will see an average of $1,200 each, according to the Urban Institute-Brookings
Institution Tax Policy Center. Only 10 percent of the money will
go to the middle fifth of households, who will merely see $169 each.
Who do you think will pay for these tax cuts down the road? Although
Bush promised to not pass on problems to future generations, that
is exactly what he is doing with his record deficits. Americans
will either see more tax increases in the future or further cuts
in programs that many people need to survive.
The burden will once again fall on middle-income Americans.
Bush has reduced the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest one
percent of Americans, who control about 35 percent of the country's
wealth, from 22.2 percent in 2001 to 20.1 percent this year, according
to the Congressional Budget Office.
Meanwhile, the middle fifth of Americans, who control about 15
percent of the pie, saw their tax burden rise from 18.7 percent
to 19.5 percent. The wealthiest one percent received an average
tax cut of $78,460 this year, while the middle 20 percent's average
take was $1,090.
While Bush claims to lower Americans' taxes, he is really shifting
the burden to state and local governments, which usually have tax
policies that hurt the middle class more. His 2005 federal budget
cut grants for programs to states by about 3 percent, and he has
changed laws that resulted in further cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.
Meanwhile, Bush has forced states to pay for unfunded mandates
for homeland security, election reform and the No Child Left Behind
education law. Federal policies cost state and local entities at
least $185 billion over the past four years, according to the Center
on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Bush's record also includes a 4.3 million increase in the number
of Americans in poverty, a $1,535 decline in median income, after
adjusting for inflation, a 5.8 million rise in the number of people
without health insurance to a record 45 million, a 1.2 million net
loss in jobs, and a 34 percent rise in the average tuition for college.
In addition, Bush failed to fulfill his pledges to get bin Laden
"dead or alive" and extend the assault weapon ban. He lied us into
another Vietnam-like war in Iraq that has killed thousands. He pulled
out of the Kyoto agreement on global warming and rolled back more
than 200 environmental regulations. He backed a Constitutional amendment
to outlaw gay marriages.
Rob Kall, publisher of the ezine, OpedNews.com, has produced an
excellent one-page flyer that summarizes why John Kerry would make
a much better president than Bush. It's at http://www.opednews.com/kall_092404_why_kerry.htm.
Print it out. Copy it. Distribute it far and wide.
Jackson Thoreau, a Washington, D.C.-area journalist, contributed
to Big Bush Lies, published by RiverWood Books and available
in bookstores across the country. Thoreau's free electronic book,
The Strange Death of the Woman Who Filed a Rape Lawsuit Against
Bush & Other Things the Bush Administration Doesn't Want You to
Know, can be read here.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.