Responsible Wealth, Responsible Taxes

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Katrina vanden Heuvel Every day, the damage done by the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy becomes clearer.
With 15 million people unemployed, millions of families facing home foreclosure, and state and local budgets decimated by lost revenues, there is a huge struggle to find the resources needed to respond to our economic crisis.

If you're wondering why we're in such bad budgetary straits, remember those Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Nearly half of the cuts went to W's "base"--the top 5 percent of income earners--while the bottom 60 percent received less than 15 percent. By the end of this year, W.'s fiscal malfeasance will have cost this nation--ready for this?--$2.5 trillion.

These regressive remnants of Bush's presidency are thankfully set to expire on December 31, 2010. But if there's one thing we can count on--like GOPsters calling modest healthcare reform a "government takeover"--we know Republicans and conserva-Dems will pull out all stops in trying to keep that from happening. That's why the work of Responsible Wealth (RW) network is so critical right now. RW is a group of 700 business leaders and individuals in the top 5 percent of wealth and income who've received the lion's share of Bush tax benefits.

The group was key to preventing Bush from permanently repealing the estate tax--which has generated $1 trillion in revenues over the last ten years and is paid by fewer than one percent of families. Now it's turning its attention to ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy once and for all by taking the Tax Fairness Pledge and directing their tax breaks to groups that fight for tax fairness that benefits all Americans. (Groups like Responsible Wealth/United for a Fair Economy.) There is a Tax Break Calculator anyone can access to determine the amount they receive from the Bush tax cuts.

Mike Lapham, director of Responsible Wealth and a signer of the pledge, said: "These tax cuts were irresponsible when they were passed in 2001 and 2003. In the midst of a deep recession, they are downright inexcusable. Members of Responsible Wealth recognize that their own prosperity and success would not be possible without the foundation of a strong public education system, an effective transportation network, a strong legal system and more. Responsible Wealth members are more than happy to pay their share to support those public investments that they have benefited so greatly from."

We need people who have benefited from these cuts to step forward and say plainly, "We don't want them and our nation can't afford them."

Check out the calculator for yourself and see what you receive courtesy of George Bush. Take the pledge if you can and join this important fight.

It's time to rebuild our country and that's going to require ending the Bush tax insanity--support Responsible Wealth's fight for a more progressive tax system.

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