Tax wealth not work!

Tax Day demonstrations took place by the hundreds this week from one end of the nation to the other.

On Wednesday morning, at one of these actions in California, David Watson, a member of Patriotic Millionaires, told a rally of union members and community activists that the tax system in this country is designed to give him breaks that he hasn’t asked for and that he doesn’t need. “We’re supposed to have a progressive tax rate in this country,” he declared to the cheers of the hundreds listening to him. “We don’t.”

It was much the same all over the rest of the country this week with the AFL-CIO, Move On and many other members of the 99% Spring Coalition demanding taxes on wealth, not on work. They demanded that the 1% and corporations pay their fair share. They rejected wholesale the basic premise of the Republican-Romney-Ryan budget that instead gives millionaires and huge corporations more tax breaks than they already have and workers higher taxes than they now pay.

The Tax Day actions mark a big victory for labor and all of its progressive allies. They have succeeded in taking the issue of taxes away from the tea baggers and the rest of the right-wing Republican cabal that too often used the issue in a demagogic way to blast “big government” and any other force that has the ability to devote resources to meeting the needs of the people, rather than those of the rich.

The tea-party “taxpayer” parades of two years ago look pathetic when stacked up against today’s uprising by the majority for fairness in taxation. The Tax Day actions of this week approached the issue of taxes from the point of view of the working-class majority, not from the point of view of a selfish 1% minority.

We congratulate everyone who came out in force this week. As a result of these actions lawmakers are going to have to pay attention to what matters. They are going to have to invest in jobs, in the schools, in the infrastructure and they are going to have to take care of the working-class majority they were elected to represent. Their argument that these things can’t be afforded has been rejected by the majority.

During the height of the Great Depression the money was found to build the Empire State Building, roads, tunnels, dams and enormous bridges, all with beneficial effects for the entire nation. During the current economic disaster the people are saying they expect no less and that it is up to their lawmakers to act.

Photo: During an Occupy Dallas tax day protest outside the Citigroup shareholders meeting, April 17, in Dallas. LM Otero/AP