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Opposing Tax
Cuts for the Rich



• Job Killing Free Trade Schemes: FTAA and 'Fast Track'

Defending Public Education

• Tax Cuts for the Rich

Five Attacks on Working People (overtime pay, free speech, TEAM Act, 'Right-to-Work', Anti-Salting Bill)

Confronting Energy Profiteers

Protecting Social Security

Campaign Finance Reform


Protect and Defend Social Security (UE Policy, 2000-01)

• Stop the Southward NAFTA Expansion- No to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) (UE Policy, 2000-01)

• Stop the Attack on Public Education  (UE Policy, 2000-01)

Saving Social Security by Destroying It? (UE News)

Online Social Security Workshop

A Tale of Two Citizens (Capitol Hill Shop Steward)

Hands-Off Social Security! (UE Political Action)

Support Real Labor Law Reform

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Unfortunately, the struggle to prevent Congress from granting an enormous tax cut to the wealthiest taxpayers has failed. The final tax cut package returns hundreds of billions of dollars to the rich, and at best a few hundred dollars each to upper-income working people. The House passed the final bill on May 26 by a margin of 240-154, and the Senate cleared the bill the same day by a 58-33 margin. Bush had barely signed the tax cut bill into law when it became obvious that the massive tax giveaway to the wealthy has eroded the federal budget surplus almost completely.


George W. Bush was the favorite candidate of the corporate elite and the very wealthy individuals who financed his several hundred million-dollar run for office. The quickest way for Bush to repay these supporters is with a gigantic tax cut, compliments of the U.S. taxpayers and Treasury.

Tax cut supporters claim that the tax money that rich people no longer have to pay will be automatically invested in new business, new plants, new equipment, and consequently new jobs will be created. Proponents also claim that since the U.S. government is now collecting a surplus of tax revenue, it’s time to slow down tax collection. The problem is, this scheme was tried during the early years of the Reagan regime, and as a result our country was plunged into debt to the tune of more than $5 trillion! And to add insult to injury, because of tax loopholes and low tax rates to begin with, wealthy individuals in the U.S. are already some of the lowest-taxed rich people on earth.

When George W. Bush held court in Austin, Texas, with the leaders of big business back in January — including GE CEO Jack Welch — these captains of industry reminded Bush that cutting taxes on business and the wealthy was priority number one. Bush is working hard to keep his promise.


The Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans are floating a variety of tax cut proposals already, testing out several schemes simultaneously (including one proposal that has already been given approval in the U.S. House; Senate action is not expected to move as quickly). It is already obvious that much of the total tax cut — probably more than $1.3 trillion over the next decade — will end up in the pockets of those earning more than $100,000 per year. The early Bush plan includes a tiny cut for married couples making less than $12,000 per year, no cut at all for couples making less than $45,200 per year, a small cut for couples below $109,250 per year, and large reductions for those earning above $109,250 per year. Single taxpayers at lower income levels will receive very little.

In addition to the discussion of tax rate reductions, Republicans are pushing for changes to the tax code affecting tax credits for children, the "marriage penalty," estate and gift taxes, charitable contributions, and the business research tax. Even the Republicans admit that the business research tax cut is a gift specifically targeted to big business. Many Democrats in Congress are conducting both public and private negotiations with the Bush Administration about the tax cut proposal, an unfortunate display of opportunism and disorganization that does not bode well for the chances of stopping or slowing the pace of or the size of the tax cuts. The tax cut battle is likely to last well into the spring or even early summer months.


Our union opposes the reckless and unjustified Republican effort to massively reduce taxes for the wealthy. Given the ups and downs of our economy, a massive tax cut could plunge our country back into a debt catastrophe akin to the Reagan fiasco of the 1980s. Our unfair and insanely complex tax system should, however, be reformed to provide for tax relief for working people. The system should also be simplified and made progressive, meaning that those earning virtually nothing pay nothing, and those earning the most pay the most. The thousands of tax loopholes and tax shelters must also be eliminated, compelling wealthy individuals and corporations to finally pay their fair share of the tax burden.


  • Why doesn’t Congress use the budget surplus to finance a desperately needed national health care program? Or use "surplus" tax revenue to pay off the astronomical national debt that was created by Ronald Reagan and George Bush back in the 1980s? Why on earth would we want to repeat the mistake of granting a huge tax cut that might lead to another debt avalanche?

  • Instead of an enormous tax cut, why doesn’t Congress use the tax surplus to shore up Medicare, Social Security, and make needed investment in our nation’s public schools? With more than 5 million people in the U.S. now worth at least one million dollars, is this a time to be expanding the ranks of this privileged segment? Do these people need a tax cut?

  • The claim that rich people will invest their tax-cut bonanza in areas that will produce jobs and new economic activity doesn’t hold any water. During the 1980s wealthy individuals invested their tax cuts in all kinds of unproductive places such as real estate speculation and interest-bearing government treasury bills. Why do members of Congress constantly assume that wealthy people always invest their money with great concern for how many jobs it will create?

  • According to research done by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D.,S.D.), the Bush tax cut will add up to enough to pay for a new Lexus automobile for the highest tax bracket, enough to pay for a used-car muffler for working people, and nothing at all for those on the bottom.

  • Members of the Senate and House of Representatives earn $141,300 per year. The leadership of both bodies earn considerably more. Due to Congressional action in 1999, President Bush receives $400,000 per year. And with virtually every member of Congress and President Bush having sources of additional income, this places every member of Congress in the tax bracket likely to receive the biggest tax cut of all!

  • If Congress is determined to cut taxes on the most wealthy segment of our society, would Congress be willing to eliminate federal income taxes entirely on those earning less than $20,000 per year? Why not?

  • Bush, like his father and Ronald Reagan before him, promotes tax cuts as a convenient gift to wealthy supporters — and as a backdoor means to slashing federal spending that benefits working people. When taxes are cut, revenue to the government falls, leading to an inevitable belt-tightening. The huge cuts that gutted the funding for the National Labor Relations Board in the 1980s were engineered by the Reagan Administration when reckless tax cuts increased the deficit.

(See also: Progressive Caucus Calls for Real Tax Relief (UE News, February, 2001)

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