By now, it is common knowledge that the George W. Bush tax cuts only served to funnel more money into the hands of the wealthiest Americans, slashed our national tax revenues, ballooned our deficit, and played a huge role in exacerbating the tremendous income inequality in our nation. Crucially, they shifted the burden of taxes from the rich onto the middle class.
It should come as no surprise then, that Jeb Bush’s recently released tax plan contains his brother’s tax cuts- but ones that go even farther in protecting the wealth of the highest earners and shunting more of America’s wealth into the hands of the oligarchs. The current tax rate on the wealthiest Americans is 39.6%- the rate it was before George W. took office. Jeb’s plan would drop it down to 28%- by almost a third.
On top of that, Jeb Bush has proposed cutting the capital gains rate tax, allowing Wall Street gamblers to hoard even more of their ill-gotten gains, from 23.8% to 20%. The Huffington Post reported that half of the capital gains in America goes to the top 0.1% of earners, and the idea that it would spur investment has failed to materialize. Bush would also cut the corporate tax rate from 35% down to a shocking 20%, allowing the companies who evade billions in taxes through offshore tax havens to keep even more of the profits.
Unsurprisingly, Jeb Bush did not offer many specifics as to how he would pay for all of this tax revenue. He did offer a few token tax cuts for the middle class, but those are small potatoes in comparison to the billions in deficit that we will have to somehow make up for. The Tax Policy Center reported that “in 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years”- all a product of the Bush tax cuts.
It just goes to show how false Jeb Bush’s claim of being his “own man” really is. This tax proposal is a one-percenter’s dream, an extreme scorched earth starve-the-beast plan that would be the nail in the coffin for the American middle class. Our infrastructure and public programs are in desperate need of funding that is going to the top 0.1%.
It is far beyond time that America institutes a progressive tax program that redistributes the outrageous wealth of the mega-rich to the rest of the American people, to use it to invest in our future- in our public schools and infrastructure and renewable energy and our public institutions that provide critical services for millions of American. The more the wealth at the top grows, the harder it will be to wrest control of our nation from the oligarchs. Jeb Bush is nothing but a puppet of the rich, making a desperate play for fundraising dollars. We cannot allow another Bush to wreck our economy once again.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.