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ISSUE 117 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/31/2003

Rich gain at expense of the rest

By Jared Wall
Staff Writer


Friday, October 31, 2003

It is a widely known fact that as governor of Texas, George W. Bush did little for higher education. A nationally low percentage of low-income students reached college, and college retention rates dropped. Bush revealed his ongoing tendency to provide stronger tax incentives to families with discretionary incomes, rather than the low and moderate-income families that need the resources.

Despite these misgivings, Bush still wants to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Unemployment has increased, per capita income has decreased; the income of the financially disparate has gone down significantly and the wealthy have gotten the breaks. I thought people agreed many years ago that trickle-down theory was flawed.

Bush thinks that the road to financial equality involves breaking the middle class, which is the group most Americans fall into. "The president is making the case that people who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year should be paying a third more taxes," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Calif.).

In 2001, Bush sold his 11-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut as a tool to "take down the toll gate on the road to the middle class," emphasizing its beneficial impact on workers "on the outskirts of poverty." However, this tactic does not close the gap between the poor and the wealthy so much as blur the line between the poor and the middle class by taxing the middle class into poverty. In 1999, the 500 richest people in the world had more money than the bottom three billion combined. The gap since then has only widened.

Democratic candidate Howard Dean said the following on tax cuts for the wealthy: “They are a mistake. The middle class never got a tax cut for us to defend. Their college tuitions went up. Their property taxes went up. Fire and police and first response services are going down, and local people are having to pay for that.”

College tuition goes up every year. Bush’s tax cuts offer only a temporary solution, and pose an imminent future threat. The deficit has become larger than any other time in history. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the budget will balloon to $480 billion in 2004, thanks largely in part to tax cuts and to Bush’s $87 billion proposal to rebuild Iraq. This deficit estimate reflects what the average college student will owe after college when they enter a job market that cannot support them.

The middle class, which was once the backbone of the American economy, is now its soft spot. The two hard spots, wealth and poverty, both seem to be permanently secure – not a good thing for the economy or for Bush.

After all, most people aren’t rich, and it’s the majority who will come back to haunt him come election time.


Staff Writer Jared Wall is a sophomore from Sioux City, Iowa. He majors in English.


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