As democracy wanes, plutocracy takes over

All one has to do to evaluate the tax debate in Washington is to view the historical record. Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the tax rate on the top group was 90 percent. President Ronald Reagan brought the rate down from 70 percent to less than 40 percent, which, along with increased military spending, resulted in the beginning of the debt crisis. When Reagan came into office, the national debt was less than $1 trillion. He left with a debt of $3 trillion.

President George W. Bush dropped the rate on the top 1 percent even lower, and the cost of two unpaid wars, an unfunded Medicare Part D and an economic meltdown brought the national debt to astronomic proportions. When you add the numerous loopholes that only the rich and big business can take advantage of with corporate welfare and subsidies, the rate at the top varies from about 15 percent to 0. Add to this the fact that the top 1 percent controls the huge majority of wealth in this country and that the gap between them and the middle class is the largest of any industrialized country in the world.

There is a huge majority of Americans who believe that the tax rates on the richest Americans should go up and their loopholes should be eliminated. Even a large number of people in the top 1 percent believe this. So who is it that is insisting that taxes should never again be raised, especially on the “job creators,” and that instead we should cut entitlement spending? Rather than honor an oath to the Constitution, compromised politicians in Congress take an oath to a handful of anti-middle-class oil billionaires like the Koch brothers and the lobbyist Grover Norquist to never raise taxes on the rich. Their vision of America is not of a democracy but of a greedy plutocracy that they control.

John W. Kowalski