America's Shrinking Middle Class Cannot Afford to Bear the Full Burden of Taxation Any Longer and Our Children Cannot Afford to Bear the Cost of Dealing With the Nation's Debt Any Longer, Either. If Congress and the President Won't Force the Super-Rich to Pay Up, Then the Courts Must
(Posted 2:00 p.m. EST Saturday, December 18, 2010)
SATURDAY SPECIAL COMMENT
By SKEETER SANDERS
This is not my usual Tuesday blog commentary (My annual Christmas column will be published this Tuesday, December 21). But I have to ask, in light of President Obama's signing into law the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, the following question:
Are there grounds to mount a legal challenge in federal court to the continuation of this $900 billion tax giveaway to the nation's millionaires and billionaires?
I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to pretend to be one. And I'll be the first to concede that what I am calling for may not be legally possible. But for once, I find myself in agreement with the Tea Party movement's chief complaint that the federal government -- both Congress and the White House -- is being dangerously derelict in its fiduciary responsibilities and I've had enough of it.
The federal budget deficit has grown too large to be closed by spending cuts alone, yet the Republicans refuse to take off their blinders and face up to this reality.
Whether they like it or not (and the Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they don't), taxes will inevitably have to go up. And they will inevitably have to go up on those who can most afford to bear the burden: The nation's muiltimillionaires and billionaires who make up only two percent of the nation's population, but hold more than 70 percent of the nation's total wealth.
For the GOP to expect the increased taxes to be borne on the nation's middle class and working class -- whose incomes have been drastically squeezed by the vicious combination of increased unemployment and freezes in wages and salaries while at the same time confronting ever-increasing energy and health-care costs -- is not just unconscionable. It is flat-out unrealistic, to say nothing of being grossly unfair.
It is precisely that kind of unfair taxation that led to the American Revolution against the British crown in the late 1770s. It is also what led to the far bloodier French Revolution a decade later (and why, to this day, the French still look down on overtly ostentatious displays of extreme wealth).
Because Congress and the White House have failed to meet their fiduciary responsibilities by extending the fiscally irresponsible Bush tax cuts onthe nation's super-rich, the time has come to seriously consider taking legal action to do away with those cuts.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a lawyer and I'm not going to pretend to be one. But I cannot imagine how there could not be a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of middle-class and working-class taxpayers, who will continue to disproportionately bear the burden of taxation at a time when many simply cannot afford to do so because of unemployment or freezes in their wages.
I also cannot imagine a class-action lawsuit not being filed on behalf of the nation's young people who will inevitably be forced to deal with the nation's multi-trillion-dollar federal debt, which has now ballooned by yet another $900 billion as a result of this travesty.
Middle-class and working-class Americans have reached the economic breaking point. Indeed, the middle class is in danger of disappearing altogether -- which would create a dangerous situation akin to that which existed in France at the time of the French Revolution -- and, I dare say, in Russia at the time of the revolution that overthrew the czars in 1917.
I say there has to be a shift in the individual income-tax burden to those who can most afford to bear it: The millionaires and billionaires of this country. If Congress and the President won't do it, then the courts (and ultimately the Supreme Court) must.
If not, this country will face the kind of economic chaos that Greece and Ireland are now going through and that Spain and Portugal are likely to go through next -- severe economic austerity imposed upon them by outside economic forces. Remember that many foreigners hold trillions of dollars of our country's debt. Our largest creditor is China. At any time, our foreign creditors can demand immediate payment on what we owe them; if that happens, then Greece and Ireland will be a walk in the park compared to what we Americans will experience.
What do you think? Should there be legal action to strike down the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Let me know by visiting my home site. I'll publish as many of your comments as I can.
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Copyright 2010, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.