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Let’s stop catering to the top 1 percent

The American Dream was “equal opportunity and justice for all.” Sadly the dream has been trashed by plutocrats, media demagogues and politicians elected by us. Why do we bury our heads in the sand and set aside critical thinking? It’s all about greed – the powerful greed of the very rich and our own greed. We are fed the myth we do not have to pay taxes. Elected officials promote this myth. Americans gobble it up.

Wake up, America. Stop believing lower taxes will make our lives better. Are you better off today than you were 15 years ago? I am not and probably you are not – unless you are part of the 1 percent. Tax cuts lead to job cuts, both public and private. Tax cuts increase unemployment and shake the economy.

The suddenly popular Simpson-Bowles Commission Report feeds the notion that the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts should remain in place for all except households above $250,000. The report recommends massive discretionary spending cuts that will increase unemployment and reduce quality of life for many. Massive cuts to discretionary programs have already been made. Federal departments have been excessively downsized. The Social Security Administration does not have enough staff to properly process boomers’ retirement choices. The IRS does not have enough staff to root out tax evaders. More than waste has been eliminated.

Our federal tax system is rigged to favor the rich because they can afford to lobby lawmakers who create preferences for them, such as the cap on Social Security contributions and low capital gains tax rates. One function of democracy is to promote equal opportunity and justice for all. We need truths, not myths, and we need equal opportunities. Elected officials need to show us what justice looks like.

Lynda Stephens

Buffalo