Extending the tax cuts for the wealthiest in the United States was an unnecessary concession of the Obama Administration, which is concluding a very disappointing second year in the executive office. These acquiescences on the part of Pres. Obama to the minority party in the two houses of the legislature are poor examples of his campaign promise to begin a new era in the nation’s capital. Being a centrist is nothing new, for Obama has a perfect model in the former president who recently visited with him in the Oval Office, namely William Jefferson Clinton. Universal health care has yet to be realized, and the end to the economic recession is nowhere in sight for the middle and lower classes—not to mention the persistent underclass, for which the current administration seems to have little, if any, regard.
What is the point of allowing the rich not to pay taxes on income that they receive for doing very little, while their workers are being laid off or are making wages that are morally unconscionable in comparison? Who benefits from these tax breaks besides the individuals receiving them? History and common sense show that they do not redound to the favor of the middle and lower classes, not to mention job creation and the general economy. There is no trickle down reality that we are missing here, for it never has and does not exist. Just because a person repeats the lame idea does not make it healthy; the theory was invalid from its propagandistic inception!
Charity is always a good thing, and as many people should engage in it that can afford to make the sacrifice. There are some who can give much more than others’ proportional giving, for they have way more materially than they and their family need or could spend. So, it comes as no surprise that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and an assortment of multi-billionaires and multi-millionaires have pledged philanthropic donations—as if they are going beyond the call of moral duty to give money they have earned because of cheap labor, tax incentives, subsidies, and the floor of capitalism that inevitably create and divide folks into economic classes. The bottom line is that their largesse will not change a system that produces paupers out of necessity.
Charitable donations are not intended to reform, transform, or revolutionize structures, processes, and policies that discriminate against the middle, working, and lower classes and the poor. In order to improve the life chances of the masses of people who work every day, but cannot easily make ends meet, the market economy on which this country relies has to be seriously changed. This movement towards change may seem as an insuperable challenge, but there is very little alternative to stem the unethical sequestration of the haves and the have-nots. Radical change in our economic structure is not a new idea in theory, but it is very fresh as an action agenda.
What is really at stake is what type of society makes for fairness, equity, and the satisfaction of basic physical and existential needs. It is absurd to think that some inhuman economic forces should be relied upon instead of human intervention to construct our society. We can build a society that guarantees an income for all Americans, affordable housing, exceptional educational resources and facilities, and promise for continued opportunities for the next generation.
Our concentration on the merits of American democracy often avoids identifying and seeking to redress the failures of the republic. We would rather imprison anyone that calls attention to those failures than seek to root out the causes and build a society that make all citizens full participants. Instead of forging the best possible society, we foolishly seek to perpetuate the status quo that is clearly not working.