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Why refuse to recognize what's behind our economic woes? page 2
Economic stimulus plan fails to address the nation's real economic problems

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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 2/17/2008

By Richard Amrhine

continued

Or maybe it could pay for a study to learn why the U.S. poverty rate goes up under Republican administrations. That's so easy that there would be enough left over to build housing for the poor, and to send their kids to college. A government with vision could see the dividends that would pay.

A developing consensus suggests that the nation's wealth gap is a main cause of chronic economic illness. In 2004, the top 1 percent of U.S. households held more than 34 percent of the wealth. In broader terms, the top 40 percent hold about 96 percent of the wealth while the bottom 60 percent account for only 4 percent. Feeling a little left out?

While capitalism is designed to breed competition, it also leads to a concentration of wealth that demands government intervention and regulation to maintain the fairness and equal treatment promised by the Constitution. There is no guarantee of wealth in the Constitution, but wealth clearly undermines equality.

tilted toward the rich

No matter what your view of governmental regulation, it helps prevent the rich from accruing every last penny and leaving everyone else penniless. But because money buys political power, government policies are always tilted to favor the rich.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats? Republicans expect us to believe that what is good for the rich is good for the rest of us, while Democrats try to look out for the average Joe but can never overcome the power of wealth. The current administration's skewed tax policies and corporate favoritism illustrates the lopsided division of wealth.

Taxes are the primary tool available to the government to regulate wealth, but they are rarely imposed properly. The idea is to even things out by heavily taxing the extremely wealthy, while giving a break to the poor and middle class. Income taxes don't accomplish that. They are considered progressive because they increase based on how much you earn. But total salary and wage income realized by the ultra rich and by working stiffs isn't dramatically different because there are so few of the former and so many of the latter.


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