Wealth vs. Work

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Description

A policy which cuts taxes generally paid by wealthy Americans, thereby increasing the proportion of taxes paid by working Americans.

Sightings

As described by John Edwards in Rewarding Work And Creating Opportunity:

Except for a brief respite in the '90s, for most of my adult life American politics has been stuck in the grip of two competing and unsatisfactory theories. The first, which I thought we’d disproved in the '80s, was the conservative notion that America should ask the least of those with the most. That idea was so far wrong, it took our country a decade to recover, and yet our leaders are making the same mistake again, this time with feeling. The second theory, which I thought we'd banished in the last decade, was the notion among some in my party that we could spend our way out of every problem. It didn't work, yet some in my party want to bring it back.
It's time for a new approach that trusts people to make the most of their own lives and gives them the chance to do so. It's time to stop emboldening entrenched interests and start empowering regular people. Above all, it's time to end the failed conservative experiment and return to the idea that made this country great: Instead of helping wealthy people protect their wealth, we should help working people build their wealth.
The president and I agree on one thing: this campaign should be a debate about values. We need to have that debate, because the values of this president and this administration are not the values of mainstream America, the values all of us grew up with – opportunity, responsibility, hard work.
There's a fundamental difference between his vision and mine. I believe America should value work. He only values wealth. He wants the people who own the most to get more. I want to make sure everybody has the chance to be an owner. . . .
[T]he true cost of the administration's approach isn't what they've done with our money, it's what they want to do to our way of life. Their economic vision has one goal: to get rid of taxes on unearned income and shift the tax burden onto people who work. This crowd wants a world where the only people who have to pay taxes are the ones who do the work.
Make no mistake: this is the most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism a century ago. Like socialism, it corrupts the very nature of our democracy and our free enterprise tradition. It is not a plan to grow the American economy. It is a plan to corrupt the American economy and shrink the winners' circle.
This is a question of values, not taxes. We should cut taxes, but we shouldn't cut and run from our values when we do. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan argued for tax cuts as an incentive for people to work harder: Americans work hard, and the government shouldn't punish them when they do.
This crowd is making a radically different argument. They don't believe work matters most. They don't believe in helping working people build wealth. They genuinely believe that the wealth of the wealthy matters most. They are determined to cut taxes on that wealth, year after year, and heap more and more of the burden on people who work.
How do we know this? Because they don't even try to hide it. The Bush budget proposed tax-free tax shelters for millionaires that are bigger than most Americans' paychecks for an entire year. And just last week, Bush's tax guru, Grover Norquist, said their goal is to abolish the capital gains tax, abolish the dividend tax, and let the wealthiest shelter as much as they want tax-free.
Look at the choices they make: They have driven up the share of the tax burden for most working people, and driven down the burden on the richest few. They got rid of even the smallest tax on even the largest inheritances on earth. This past month, in a $350 billion bonanza of tax cuts on wealth, they couldn't find $3.5 billion to give the child tax credit to poor people who work. Listen to this: They refused to cut taxes for the children of 250,000 American soldiers who are risking their lives for us in Iraq, so they could cut dividend and capital gains taxes for millionaires who were selling stocks short until the war was over.
The president keeps promising his plan will create jobs – but it hasn't, it won't, and that's not why he did it. He said he wanted to end the double taxation of dividends. Then he turned around and signed a bill that lets people shelter dividends from companies that don't pay taxes at all, including companies that evade taxes by setting up headquarters in Bermuda.
This President says he can't afford to fund No Child Left Behind, but his tax bill ought to be called No Tax Shelter Left Behind.
It is wrong to reward those who don't have to work at the expense of those who do. If we want America to be a growing, thriving democracy, with the greatest work ethic and the strongest middle class on earth, we must choose a different path.

See Also

Richest 1 Percent

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