The Fair Taxes for All Coalition (FTFAC), uniting over 500 grassroots organizations, has launched a petition and direct action campaign demanding that the House and Senate block George W. Bush’s $674 billion tax cut for the rich, which they warn will cost $2 trillion in lost revenues over the coming decade.
The new coalition was announced at a Capitol Hill news conference Feb. 12 attended by AFL-CIO Pres. John Sweeney, People for the American Way President Ralph G. Neas, ACORN President Maude Hurd and other leaders.
Nancy Duff Campbell, president of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), co-chair of the FTFAC told the news conference, “NWLC is co-chairing this Fair Taxes for All Coalition for one reason: to fight the devastating effect of President Bush’s massive new tax cuts on women and children. These tax cuts threaten to sabotage all of the priorities critical to woman and the vast majority of Americans.”
Bush’s $364 billion cut in taxes on dividends, she charged, could provide health insurance for all the 9.2 million uninsured children
It could also extend the Head Start program to all eligible school children in the U.S. Instead, Bush’s 2004 Fiscal Budget tightens eligibility for these programs and converts them to a block grant.
“But its gives millionaires an average tax cut of $89,000,” Campbell said.
Hurd, a substance-abuse prevention specialist from Dorchester, Mass., told the news conference that Bush’s proposal for “yet more tax cuts for millionaires is so willfully blind to the destruction it will cause that it reminds me of the behavior of a substance abuser.”
Bush peddles his tax cut scam as an “economic stimulus” but Hurd argued that “putting money into the hands of the least well off would be most likely to stimulate the economy while giving piles of cash to millionaires doesn’t help. People choosing between heat and food will immediately spend any money they get. Millionaires will put money in the bank.”
Hurd said ACORN and its allies will not just “scream at the addict … We are going to stop this destructive policy in Congress.”
In the coming weeks ACORN and others in the coalition will be circulating the petition, staging rallies, teach-ins and other mass actions,
Rachel Burrows, ACORN legislative representative told the World, “Our petition is directed to Congress and it seeks to get across one point: that there are literally millions upon millions of people across this country who are opposed to these tax cuts.” (The petition is online at www.fairtaxesforall.org). “I think we are in a different situation than we were when Bush’s first tax cut for the rich was approved,” she said. “We are acting on the assumption that this is a fight we can win,” Burrows said.
“I expect Tax Day, April 15, will be a day of protest against these tax cuts across the nation,” she said. “The Republicans hold only a tiny margin in the Senate and as the debate heats up some moderate Republicans can be persuaded to vote against the tax cut scheme,” Burrows predicted.
The combined $150 billion in state and local budget deficits caused by Bush’s tax cuts loomed like an 800 pound gorilla at the National Governors Association annual meeting in Washington. George W. Bush told the Governors they had received enough federal money. He told them to line up in support of another tax cut for the rich. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) reminded the governors that Bush’s “homeland security” is an unfunded mandate that will cost them billions with no help from Washington. Yet Bush doled out $37 billion in taxpayer funds to bribe Turkey to allow the Pentagon to invade Iraq from Turkish territory.
Health and Human Services Secretary Thommy Thompson tried to sell the governors on the Bush plan to shift Medicaid costs to the states, touting it as “discretionary power.” But the only “discretion” it confers is to slash Medicaid to the bone and take the heat from the outraged poor. “We gotta move rapidly,” Thompson said, speeding past the fine print.
But the governors weren’t buying. They demanded that Bush come up with an immediate $15 billion aid package for the states. They also demanded that the federal government assume the costs of providing health care for six million low income seniors by shifting them from Medicaid, partially funded by the states, to Medicare, wholly funded by the federal government. These seniors are 15 percent of those enrolled in Medicaid but 35 percent of the programs costs.
Washington Governor, Gary Locke told reporters that he governors struggling with the deepest deficits since World War II “received nothing but great smiles and rhetoric” from the Bush administration.
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