Click for Quick Help
Click for Great ServicesStar-Telegram.Com | Opinions
Opinions
- FORT WORTH -
MARK DAVIS
JIM FUQUAY
PAUL HARRAL
MOLLY IVINS
JIM JONES
BUD KENNEDY
J.R. LABBE
TODD MASON
JON McCONAL
LANCE MURRAY
FRANK PERKINS
PHIL RECORD
BOB RAY SANDERS
JACK Z. SMITH
BILL THOMPSON
JIM WRIGHT

- ARLINGTON -
O.K. CARTER
GARY HARDEE
STEPHEN McLINDEN
DAVID SAMPSON
ALLAN SAXE
ANGIE SUMMERS
RON WRIGHT

- HOMETOWN -
MONICA ANDERSON
SHIRLEY JINKINS
KRISTI PAYNE
PAT RIDDLE
JUNE NAYLOR
   RODRIGUEZ
TOBIAS X. LOPEZ
LAURA TRAVIS
TIPPY

- NORTHEAST -
JOY DONOVAN
DON ERLER
BILL HORNADAY
STEVE JACOB
DAVE LIEBER
MIKE NORMAN
BRYON OKADA
PAT RIDDLE

- FEATURES -
MONICA ANDERSON
DR. BOMBAY
ED BRICE
BEVERLY BUNDY
ART CHAPMAN
LISA DAVIS
BILL FAIRLEY
DAVE FERMAN
JEFF GUINN
KEN PARISH PERKINS
ROBERT PHILPOT
MARY ROGERS
NEIL SPERRY
DR. RUTH
   WESTHEIMER CHAMBERS WILLIAMS
DOTTIE WOODSON

- SPORTS -
WENDELL    BARNHOUSE
RAY BUCK
JIMMY BURCH
WHIT CANNING
JEFF CAPLAN
CHARLES CLINES
MAC ENGEL
JENNIFER FLOYD
RANDY GALLOWAY
ART GARCIA
LENN HAYWARD
RICK HERRIN
CLARENCE HILL JR.
BRETT HOFFMAN
BOB HOOD
MIKE JONES
GIL LeBRETON
TROY PHILLIPS
DWAIN PRICE
TIM PRICE
JIM REEVES
JOHN STURBIN
T.R. SULLIVAN
RICHIE WHITT
CHAREAN WILLIAMS

Go to Front Page News
HOMEPAGE
SEARCH
CURRENT UPDATES
ARCHIVES
METROPLEX NEWS:
FORT WORTH
ARLINGTON
NE TARRANT
HOMETOWN STAR
LA ESTRELLA
TEXAS NEWS
GOVERNMENT NEWS
ELECTION 2000
BUSINESS NEWS
STOCKS
TECH NEWS
WEATHER
LA ESTRELLA

Go to Sports
SCORES & STATS
FAN CENTRAL:
COWBOYS/NFL
HIGH SCHOOLS
COLLEGES
MAVERICKS/NBA
BRAHMAS/LOCAL HOCKEY
STARS/NHL
RANGERS/MLB
GOLF
MOTORSPORTS
THE SPORTS ZONE
RODEO
THE LINE

Go to Life and Arts
LIFESTYLE
WEDDINGS
HEALTH NEWS
NETROPLEX
TRAVEL
FAMILY DAY
FOOD
HOME & GARDEN
JUST GO | STARTIME
ENTERTAINMENT
TV LISTINGS
COMICS
DINING
HOROSCOPES
SOAP OPERA NEWS
PERSONALS
LOTTERY
RELIGION

Go to Opinions
ALL COLUMNISTS
EDITORIALS
LETTERS
CHEERS & JEERS
CYBER-COLUMNISTS

Go to Community

GARAGE SALES
VIRTUAL TEXAN
USER'S GUIDE
BIRTHS
WEDDINGS
OBITUARIES

Go to Star-Telegram Resources
FIND US
NEWS STAFF
ONLINE STAFF
ADVERTISING
CONSUMER RESOURCE
E-CARDS
EVENTS
JOBS
MAPS/DIRECTIONS
MARKETPLACE
N.I.E.
NEW HOME NETWORK
PRESS PASS
PRESS RELEASES
START WITH US!
DFW.COM

Toolbox
COMMUNICATOR
INTERNET EXPLORER
REALPLAYER G2
VIEWING TIPS

| Molly Ivins
EMAIL MOLLY
Updated: Monday, Feb. 26, 2001 at 21:51 CST

Tax cut queries: Who pays? And what will it cost?

AUSTIN -- A character in the `The Red Fox' observed that all government comes down to three questions:

* "Who benefits, who profits?"

* "Who rules the rulers?"

* "What the hell will they do to us next?"

The "Who benefits?" part of President Bush's proposed tax cut has been thoroughly examined. Even the dimmest of us have got the point that it's a tax cut for the very rich with a little sop thrown in for some of the rest of us. According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, the poorest 20 percent of taxpayers receive on average a $15 tax cut the first year and $37 by 2004.

The 20 percent of taxpayers in the middle of the income distribution scale get an average of $170 in tax cuts, rising to $409 in 2004.

The average cut to the top 1 percent of taxpayers would be $13,469 in 2002 and $31,201 in 2004. The Bush plan gives 43 percent of all the tax relief to the richest 1 percent of the people.

Few of us seem to be alert to the other shoe here. The counterpart of "Who benefits?" is "Who pays?"

It's obvious that shifting an immense amount of the tax burden off the very wealthy puts more of it on the rest of us. What you get is a shift in the proportional burden of taxation from the rich to the less-well-off.

In the curious logic of the Republican Party, anyone who points out this blatant act of class warfare is accused of "fomenting class warfare." As you may have noticed, rich people are not staggering under their burden of taxation -- there are more of them, and they're richer than ever. If this is what the right calls "redistribution of wealth," it's working fine right now to pump money from the poor to the rich.

The further question that almost no one has addressed is: "What does this thing actually cost?"

One of the hardest and most important questions in government is: "How much does it cost to not do it?" It's real easy to find out how much a program -- say, a children's vaccination campaign -- costs. But what does it cost not to do it? We wouldn't know until there was an epidemic of diphtheria or polio, would we?

What does it cost to cut community policing? How many more lives are rotting away in prison for more than it costs to send them to Harvard?

What does it cost to skimp on prenatal care? What does it cost not to have preschool for children? We know who benefits from this tax cut, but who really pays for it?

One of the silliest arguments that you hear during these fights is: "We're not cutting spending! We're only slowing the rate of growth in spending." That means they're cutting spending.

This game gets played all the time. "See? In last year's budget there was only $100 million for children's health care, and this year we have $101 million. That's an increase!" No, it's not. If you know that the program will have to serve 5 percent more children this year than it did last, that's not an increase -- it's a cut.

Look at the cost of Bush's tax cut in terms of what could otherwise be paid for. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, after 10 years, when the Bush cuts have fully kicked in, the cut for the richest 1 percent will total $774 billion.

That just happens to be more than the $736 billion needed to provide a high-quality prescription drug plan, and that $736 billion is over and above the inadequate plan proposed by Bush.

Of the actual cuts proposed by Bush, the Energy Department's fuel efficiency and renewable fuels program will be cut 22 percent. Given the number of Texas oilmen in this administration, we should have expected it, but talk about shortsighted.

This is who rules the rulers? Reliance on fossil fuels is poisoning the Earth, and this guy wants to cut off research into alternatives. The implications of that decision alone are staggering.

The conservative mantra on tax cuts is: "It's your money." Yes, it is, and it's your national debt too. You have to help fund government because it's the price of living in a civilized society.

If you think you would have been better off being born in Rwanda, good luck. With government, as with much else in life, you get what you pay for, and you pay for real services.

Molly Ivins is a columnist for the `Star-Telegram.' You can reach her at 1005 Congress Ave., Suite 920, Austin, TX 78701; (512) 476-8908; or mollyivins@star-telegram.com.



Send Your Thoughts


Please include your email address

Click for Quick Help
Send this page to a friend
From:To:

For home delivery of the Star-Telegram, dial (817) DEL-IVER.
2000 Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas -- Terms and Conditions

Serving the online community since 1982!