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Don't vote for disaster

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The failure of the Congressional Super Committee to reach a “deal” on cutting the future national budget deficit proves one thing — no one should vote Republican in the upcoming federal elections.
Yes, there are some fine people running as Republicans, but this admonition has nothing to do with individuals and everything to do with survival for everyone who is not part of the super rich who are consistently favored by the actions of elected Republicans.
Recent PBS reports on economic inequality in America, and how the Great Recession happened as detailed in the book AFTERSHOCK by Robert B. Reich, document some startling facts.
First, due to Republican actions over the last 30 years, the top 20 percent of Americans, as measured by money and property, now own 84 percent of this nation’s wealth, while the bottom 40 percent own just three-tenths of one percent of the nation’s wealth, according to PBS’ Paul Solmon.
The richest one percent of Americans, those with incomes above $398,000 in 2007, owned 23 percent of the nation’s wealth, according to Reich.
Reich points out that the last time this happened was in 1928, just before the Great Depression.
This is not just the “normal” economic inequality that occurs in all societies, whether capitalist, socialist, fascist or communist.
This is the result of 30 years of real “class warfare” carried out by the super rich through the use of money to buy political influence with Republicans and to thereby shape national policies to their favor.
Second, the ways this nation’s policies have been warped by Republicans to favor the super rich are dismaying.
For example, income from investments and dividends is called capital gains and  taxed at a 15 percent rate.
So, as financial expert Warren Buffet has explained, he pays less tax on his $50 billion annual income than do the workers in his office.
The estate tax exemption on wealth passed to one’s children has been raised to $10 million per couple by Republican politicians, sheltering more income from taxes.
Third, thanks to Republican-passed laws, the top income tax rate has been lowered from 70 percent in 1981 to just 35 percent today, thereby sheltering the super rich from paying their fair share for the roads, bridges, telecommunications, food inspectors, firemen, teachers, libraries, courts, parks, recreation centers and senior centers used by all citizens.
Fourth, the George W. Bush tax cuts turned Clinton’s annual federal budget surplus into an annual federal deficit by taking away $3.8 trillion over 10 years in tax revenues that would have helped balance our annual federal budget.
Fifth, Republican Congress-persons have cut or blocked federal funds for public education, public roads and bridges, federal and state public employees, health care for the poor and working poor by cuts to Medicaid, and health care for seniors by cuts to Medicare.
Republican legislators have repeated the 1929 post-Depression mantra of “balance the federal budget at all costs” at a time when private spending and investment has been greatly reduced due to the Great Recession of fall 2008.
Sixth, Republican governors and state legislatures have cut or reduced collective bargaining rights, have shortened early voting periods, have passed Voter ID laws that discourage the poor, students, minorities and the elderly from voting, and they have provided tax breaks for businesses even as real hourly wages have stayed “flat” for the last 30 years, according to Reich.
Yes, our nation faces a crisis when 40 percent of last year’s $3.2 trillion federal budget comes from borrowed money, thus adding to our $15 trillion national debt owed to foreign nations and to American investors.
And yes, the health care costs of Medicaid and Medicare will keep on increasing to a catastrophic level — unless the federal government imposes price controls as Richard Nixon did after the Persian Gulf nations massively raised the price of oil.
True, the nation is running an annual federal deficit that is not sustainable.
But why?
The deficit is due to these Republican actions: two wars not paid for by raising taxes, by tax code loopholes like dividends being called capital gains, and by tax cuts that have added to the long term federal deficit.
If you wish to preserve the middle class dream of hard work leading to a better future for your children, if you wish to enjoy public amenities that benefit all citizens and all businesses, and if you wish to preserve unions, collective bargaining, voting rights and the democratic system, you should not vote Republican.

Tom King
Los Alamos