Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) thinks that if Republicans are pushing so hard to take away federal support from the poorest citizens, it’s only fair to do the same to the richest – after all, they can actually afford it. Republicans in Florida, Alabama, and Moore’s home-state, Wisconsin, have been fighting to require drug tests for anyone who qualifies for welfare, food stamps, or other aid programs for the poor.
Moore is speaking out decisively against this needless exploitation of the poorest, most vulnerable citizens; she says that she is, “sick and tired, and sick and tired of being sick and tired, of the criminalization of poverty. We’re not going to get rid of the federal deficit by cutting poor people off Snap. But if we are going to drug-test people to reduce the deficit, let’s start on the other end of the income spectrum.”
She is introducing a bill today called the Top 1% Accountability Act, which would require anyone with more than $150,000 of itemized deductions to either pass a drug test or settle for much lower standard deduction. Those targeted would be households with an income of over $1 million. Moore argues compellingly that just as benefits subsidize the poor, deductions, which are also treated as government expenditures, are nothing but government subsidies for the mega-rich – and are a vastly more expensive program that benefits nobody but takes needed dollars out of the federal budget.
Deductions for capital gains alone are worth $93 billion, while all anti-poverty programs total $81 billion. A single category of deductions, which applies almost exclusively to the rich, is worth more than all measures to the poor.
Moore’s bill is unlikely to pass, but it is a powerful statement about how Republicans abuse and marginalize the poor to “cut costs” while lavishing money on the rich. Men and women who are struggling to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads should not have to suffer the indignity of a forced drug test, especially not while the cocaine flows freely on Wall Street and the authorities turn a blind eye. It’s time to end the war on the poor and start the holding the 1% accountable for gaming the economic system and using their wealth to flout the law.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.