Friday, March 02, 2007

Bush Took Tax-Cuts for the Rich from Soldiers

So today, let's discuss the revelation that Bush likes to make war and duck out on the bill. The specific charge this time is that 88% of the National Guard units are near naked, which is hardly a way to face the enemy. Soldiers aren't made of tin; you have to pay for all these pesky things like "trucks, Humvees, generators, radios, night-vision goggles and other gear that would be critical for responding to a major disaster, terrorist attack or other domestic emergency" like say... a Category 5 hurricane. "We are really concerned about vehicles," said Lt. Col. Pete Schneider, a spokesman for the Louisiana Guard. "We would have enough for a small-scale issue . . . maybe a Category 1 tropical storm we could handle -- an event that doesn't involve massive flooding or massive search and rescue," he said. One would think a nice order of those would count as an economic stimulus package?

"Army National Guard units in the United States have on average about half of their authorized stock of dual-use equipment, needed both for fighting wars and for domestic missions, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. The National Guard estimates that it would require $38 billion for equipment to restore domestic Army and Air National Guard units to full readiness. The Army has budgeted $21 billion to augment Guard equipment through 2011.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the use of U.S. military reservists has risen from about 12.7 million days of service in 2001 to an estimated 63 million days in 2006. The current increase of U.S. troops in Iraq is expected to require the call-up of as many as four National Guard combat brigades beginning early next year.

But while the 830,000-strong selected reserves make up more than a third of the total military, they receive only 3 percent of equipment funding and 8 percent of the Defense Department budget, the report said.

In 2006, Army National Guard units preparing to deploy had to borrow on average one-third of their people and 60 percent of their equipment from a dozen other units, making for a less cohesive force, the report found."

So what was Bush doing instead of taking care of our men and women in uniform, what were the conservatives pushing as vital to the "war on terror" instead of tending hand and foot to the every need of those members of our society they claim to honor the most in their hearts? Why.. they were taking care of those nearest and dearest to the true core of the conservative- the rich. While clothing our soldiers in cardboard instead of decent armor, and stripping the Guard to their swimming trunks, the conservatives were leading the charge in tax-cuts for the rich. You see, the cons had a novel approach. If we give a tax-break to the rich, they'll have enough money to buy a nice new expensive yaught, and there will be one less [i]{white}[/i] person that we'll need the Guard to save. Hence... tax-cuts are patriotic. And if you're not for them, you have Osama on your Kwansa card-list.

The facts of the tax-cuts enacted at the insistance of Bush and his cronies from 2001 to 2004 is that the middle 20% of American taxpayers got back an average of $647
for 8.9% of the pie. Those who made up the top 1% of taxpayers got back $34,992
for 24.2% of the pie. Millionares got back $123,592 for 15.3% of the pie. There has been no great tech boom, cell-phone reception is still spotty, cancer has yet to be cured, and we are still dependent on fossil fuels. So where did this money go if it didn't go towards the most basic tools needed to fund Bush's greatest expense: the 'war on terror?' Why was this not instead a "Patriot Tax" (whose name would automatically make traitors out of anyone who voted against it) to ensure the viability of the American military?

Let's be honest about the facts here....

"The average after-tax income of the top one percent of the population more than doubled over this period, rising from $294,300 in 1979 to $703,100 in 2001, an increase of $408,800. (CBO adjusted these figures for inflation and expressed them in 2001 dollars.) This represents an increase of 139 percent. By contrast, the average after-tax income of the households that make up the middle fifth of the U.S. population rose $6,300, or 17 percent, during this period. And the average after-tax income of the poorest fifth of households rose $1,100, or only eight percent."

Why are we talking about tax cuts as if it were a patriotic duty for the rich to buy things for their own personal use and not to buy a few Humvees or some body armor for an infantry soldier? And let's take a look at the White House's favorite fish and hook line that cutting taxes fuels economic growth. The
reality of it is that:

So cutting taxes for six years hasn't caused the economy to grow for majority of Americans. {Hint: If you don't buy a new car every year to change the color, you are in the column on the far left, which shows how your wage rate went down.}

Tossing Bush's tax cuts ontop of the economic growth that would have occurred anyway, we can compare it to that civilian job growth (left side) against the jobs created by the military in the same ammount of time (right side).

Now it's not my liberal bias here, but something the conservatives should have loved, but likely will never allow themselves to entertain, which is the possibility that they really could have their cake and eat it too. Democrats want to create jobs through government spending. Republicans supposedly want a top-notch military and well-supported troops in order to fight the 'war on terror.' So, if these obnoxious tax-cuts they had been swooning over had really been spent on Humvees and body-armor instead (let alone renovations on Walter Reed Medical Center and qualified case managers to look after wounded vets), jobs would have been created, the economy would have been good, and things might not be so dire in that little 'war on terror,' eh? May the American public never hand their purses over to the cons again. Or the terrorists will win.

Real patriots party after paying taxes.

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