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Why refuse to recognize what's behind our economic woes? page 3
Economic stimulus plan fails to address the nation's real economic problems

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Date published: 2/17/2008

By Richard Amrhine


Tax cuts, the kind President Bush wants to make permanent, help only the rich and large corporations because few enjoy the benefits of gobs of money. The value of these tax breaks to the masses is so subtle they hardly even notice it.

By taxing wealth, or net worth, instead of income, the government would be more able to zero in on the disparity. While that doesn't account for someone who makes $200,000 a year and blows it all on maintaining a lifestyle, he or she is not accruing the wealth that will provide a high standard of living in retirement or when that high-paying job otherwise disappears.

Edward Wolff, noted New York University economics professor and author of "Top Heavy: The Increasing Inequality of Wealth in America and What Can Be Done About It," says there are two ways of looking at the situation, both of them bad.

Some view the disparity as morally and ethically wrong, that having so few haves and so many have-nots is divisive and unfair.

The other view is that the wealth gap stunts future economic growth. It begins when the bright, but poor, student is denied the opportunity to go to college because rather than helping to pay college expenses, his government thinks it's better to provide tax cuts that make the rich richer.

And that's why the government's economic stimulus plan won't do any good.

Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star. ramrhine@freelance star.com

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