Save the children: Tax the rich

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Almost 25 percent of U.S. children are now living in poverty - the largest number since the Great Depression.

Since the current economic crisis began, child poverty has grown by two million to some 16 million youngsters nationally.

According to the Children's Defense Fund's 2010 report, "Children in America lag behind almost all industrialized nations on key child indicators. The United States has the unwanted distinction of being the worst among industrialized nations in relative child poverty, in the gap between rich and poor, in teen birth rates and in child gun violence."

Overall, the country is experiencing the fastest fall from "middle-class" life to poverty in the 51 years since government started counting the poor.

Recently, CBS's 60 Minutes aired a segment on child poverty that served as a powerful reminder that every day millions of American children are facing the harsh realities of homelessness and hunger.

In the segment, reporters sat down with a group of about 30 black, brown and white children and asked them to share their experiences. They eloquently told their stories of what it's like being poor.

Many began to cry as they recounted having to ask their classmates for leftover food at school. One spoke of the shame of having to live in the family car; another spoke about going to a church food bank.

When asked if any had experienced their lights being cut off, almost all the hands went up. The children recounted how they had to do their homework by flashlight and candlelight. Most were living in cheap motels; some lived in family cars.

As the show pointed out, this situation is largely a consequence of over one million people having been evicted from their homes last year. This year, at least one million more homes will be foreclosed.

60 Minutes didn't deal with the racist aspects of this crisis and how mortgage scams were aimed primarily at black and Latino working families. Yet racism and poverty are intertwined: 25 percent of African Americans live below the poverty line. Presently, 35.7 percent of African American children live in poverty compared to one in five children living in poverty overall. 26.9 percent of Latino households live in poverty compared to 14.6 percent overall. White children, however, are numerically the largest group of children living in such conditions.

Sadly, instead of dealing forthrightly with these problems, the right wing has switched the script. Now the talk is about deficits and taxes when the real issue is jobs and the welfare of families and children.

These problems are rooted in the capitalist exploitation of the working class. They are caused by low wages, the massive export of jobs, and discrimination in hiring.

All of this has been made worse by the 30-year dominance of anti-working class policies of the extreme right, which caused the recent economic crisis.

Working families are poorer because the wealth created by their labor has been expropriated by the richest of the rich.

Record profits and record poverty go hand and hand. Indeed, the reduced buying power of working people because of poverty wages is a big factor in what caused the economic collapse. Today 14.6 percent of all families are living in poverty.

Balancing the books on the backs of poor children, the elderly, the infirm and jobless is morally and politically unacceptable. Trying to destroy unions is not going to save the children. Cutting funds to education, nutrition, and childcare, firing teachers and firefighters is no solution to the crisis.  But that is what the ultra right is doing

The way out of this crisis is to stop blaming the victims and to make the wealthy culprits pay.

It is irresponsible and immoral not to do so. The time has come to tax them.

Tax them for the children

Tax them until it hurts.

Image: Need not Greed // CC BY-NC 2.0

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  • The rich aren't taking the money from the poor. If it weren't for the rich who employ the poor and invest on newer and better and more effective forms of production, the poor/middle class would have to work the whole day (no machines, no computers, no process optimization) just to have enough to pay for their food. The rich *enable* the poor to be more productive and therefore to bargain for higher salaries, etc. The advances that have dramatically reduced the costs (and raised the quality) of every single product and service people consume on a daily basis is a direct consequence of capitalism. Every day people have more and then want more. This is good, but don't try to take what you have not earned and don't assume for a second that the world (i.e. other members of society) owe you anything.

    Posted by Felipe Almeida, 11/25/2013 8:49pm (10 months ago)

  • I've just come across this post, and I have to admit, this is hilarious. Your thought process is to tax the rich...and then what? Are you just gonna give it to the poor like a modern day Robin Hood? Unemployment isn't a tax issue, it's an employment issue. Until the government decides to start creating bulk jobs impoverished areas poverty will be a problem. You can't seriously think taking money out of one persons pocket and putting in another is the way forward.

    Posted by John Cambridge, 08/20/2013 9:58am (1 year ago)

  • The media teaches us to celebrate the rich, the lavish homes, the extravagant cars and boats, the beautiful jewelry and clothing. The rich are living a dream lifestyle that is unparalleled in the history of humanity, and we are supposed to be happy for them. But when you start seeing every lavish home as the reason for a rundown neighborhood, every limo as the cause of a poor family living in a van, every gala wedding celebration being furnished with the food of thousands of poor people who will instead go hungry, the admiration of the rich becomes disgust. The extreme tax breaks AND business breaks that go to the well-connected rich come at the cost of closed schools and hospitals, evicted families and impoverished young people. The potential wealth of our society will be squandered on these lucky few until we start seeing their lavish lifestyle with the abhorrence it deserves.

    Posted by John Condon, 07/29/2013 3:08pm (1 year ago)

  • Even though I am not a citizen, I somehow understands how the taxing works in this country. I personally think that the rich should be taxed more (if they are the only ones being taxed, then it is even better) because the more you earn, the more you can afford to spare. These taxes should then be properly channelled to the right platforms like toward helping the needy and children in poverty etc and not for government manipulation to waste them instead on unnecessary wars and such.

    Posted by Peter Mould, 07/10/2013 4:04am (1 year ago)

  • This welfare state that the USA currently has, is as close to your socialism that I care for. In fact, I would rather see it regress to an insignificant minority. You say "tax the rich.." well, I am TRYING TO BECOME RICH!!! Whether I get there by winning a lottery, working for a higher wage, or owning my own business, I am doing all the things that YOU are against!!

    Posted by qazycat, 05/23/2013 3:24am (1 year ago)

  • I visited Russia last year. I find it interesting that Russians I met said that socialism does not work. They said that more people become lazy. I see your ideology of socialism is very flawed. Workers will not be motivated if it gets taken away if they advance.

    Posted by Tom, 04/04/2013 10:49pm (1 year ago)

  • You can't tax the rich enough. communism has never worked anywhere and it won't until greed and power is erased from mankind.

    Posted by kenema, 12/11/2011 7:54pm (3 years ago)

  • The United States of America should pull out because “By the U.N.'s count, 1,462 Afghan noncombatants were killed by June 30”. The Fact is valid, because the source of information comes from the United Nations. As long as the United States places troops in Iraq, the both the United states of America, and Taliban, will continue harm civilians, both accidently and intentionally. The only solution to stop the unnecessary deaths of Iraqis is to pull troops out of Iraq. According to taking note, “5 percent of civilian deaths have come from airstrikes”. This statement is valid because the UN has confirmed this. The United States of America is directly responsible for these airstrikes. Although it is necessary for The united states to use airstrikes, ending involvement in Iraq will end the need for civilian deaths.

    Posted by sam trophy , 10/01/2011 6:20pm (3 years ago)

  • The poverty experienced by 14.6% of all families is hardly the abject picture painted by the homeless. Most families at the poverty level have code-compliant housing, cars, TV sets, microwave ovens, and other accoutrements of what those overseas in true poverty would consider an UPPER class lifestyle.

    Yes, there are those who do live in abject poverty - largely because of mental illness and recreational drug use, and the failure of adults to get an education and take responsibility for their own lives. The children spawned by such people are the unfortunate victims of their parents' irresponsibility.

    Jobs are being exported to Communist-run countries such as China and Viet Nam because labor is cheaper there, and the lifestyle of the proletariat is considerably less affluent than that of the American "poor". This should give your readers some clues regarding the viability of the Commuist approach.

    Posted by Dave, 08/09/2011 10:31am (3 years ago)

  • never mind the fact that the top 5% of people shoulder 70% of the tax burden and their not all millionaires the top 5% is anyone making $159,619 or more. Hmmmm and let us not forget that the bottom 49% pay no taxes. So the other 46% of the people shoulder 30% of the tax burden. So yeah tax reform is needed everyone needs to start paying their fair share from the bottom to the top. You dont want to work and be a productive member of society why should my tax dollars go to fund your lifestyle of laziness paying for your food your housing your medical care?
    Work harder everyone billions if not trillions of your tax dollars are needed support welfare and countless other socialist programs for those that are to lazy to provide for themselves.

    Posted by Todd, 07/16/2011 2:03pm (3 years ago)

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