Democratic Underground

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 this year.

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 ten years.

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,, has produced an excellent one-page flyer that summarizes why John Kerry would make a much better president than Bush. It's at

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

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