Letter: Plutocracy — government of, by and for the rich

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

“This is not a democracy, it is a plutocracy. The people don’t rule here; wealth rules, the corporations rule. They rule the Congress, they elect the president, they run the Pentagon, they own the media.” — Ramsey Clark, former attorney general under Lyndon Johnson, speaking at an anti-war rally in the fall of 2002.

Mussolini, himself the father of Fascism, adopted as his own the saying, “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

The president and Republicans in Congress are pushing a tax cut bill that further validates these statements — a tax bill that mostly benefits their donors, particularly their corporate donors. A bill that benefits Wall Street more than anyone else. Small business watchdogs have come out against it because the tax rate for small businesses would be higher than that of giant corporations. The consensus is that this bill would hurt middle to higher middle-class Americans the most, while in some cases giving other middle class people a small tax benefit — a benefit that would likely be more than offset by what it takes away from them in social programs. We know that to pay for Donald Trump’s tax cut for Donald Trump, Republicans will try to cut virtually every program which helps the poor — Medicaid, Medicare (by at least $1.5 trillion) food stamps, Meals on Wheels, drug treatment programs and on and on. It will also explode the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion, but Republicans only care about deficits when Democrats are in power. Conversely, only Democratic administrations ever seem able to shrink budget deficits. Donald Trump said this bill would hurt him financially — “believe me” — but of course it benefits him and his children greatly. His tax rate goes down, his business tax rate goes down, it does away with the minimum alternative tax on the wealthy which will save him millions and it would give his children a huge gift by doing away with the estate tax, which only benefits the rich because there is currently no estate tax unless the estate is valued at over $5 million for an individual or $11 million for a couple.

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Such tax cuts are designed to “starve the beast.” That is to reduce tax revenue in such a way that the government is forced to cut spending. The dream of many Republicans is to get rid of all programs that help people: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Cutting taxes when we have to pay for three hurricanes, a tropical storm, record wild fires and possibly an expensive war Trump is likely to get us into will do just that — potentially leading to the kind of poverty so many lived through during the Great Depression. The kind of poverty those programs were designed to eliminate.

Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, God love him, said that if Republicans tried to do away with such programs, they were stupid — and that doing so would spell the end of the Republican Party.

Lonna Gooden Van Horn