Take Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Two Percent
By Pablo Rodríguez
Thanks to Speaker John Boehner and Congressional Republicans holding the U.S. economy hostage during the debt-ceiling debacle in the summer of 2011, a package of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as the 'fiscal cliff' are less than three weeks away. And once again, Speaker of the House John Boehner insists on fighting for billionaires and once again holds our families hostage while he lectures on the virtues of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
But allowing taxes to go up on middle class Americans would be devastating - both for families who are already struggling to make ends meet and for our economy.
American families continue to work harder for less while CEO pay has grown to 209 times the pay of average worker. Aging workers are threatened by retirement cuts and the pool for Medicare is dwindling. The gap between the rich and poor is growing, and the American working and middle-class continues to bear the brunt.
Millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced and have been replaced by lower wage jobs, too often without benefits. Foreclosures continue to plague too many of our communities. The path for families to reach the middle-class continues to disappear. How can we allow American families to live in poverty amid unprecedented prosperity?
Ignoring the resounding defeat of Mitt Romney and the rejection of his failed fiscal policies of the past, tone-deaf Republicans like Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor would rather allow taxes to go up on 98% of Americans than have CEOs and hedge fund managers pay their fair share.
This fight for fairness continues today and couldn't be more relevant with a battle being waged in Washington, D.C. over taxes. That's why I'm part of The Action, a grassroots movement to return fairness to our tax system, and ultimately, our country.
President Obama has charted a sensible path forward for our nation by proposing to make no changes in the amount of federal income taxes that 98% of Americans currently pay, but to raise taxes on just the 2% of Americans who make more than $250,000 a year. The Senate already passed a plan to keep middle class tax cuts from rising and the President has said that he is ready to sign it.
Recently, GOP Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) joined the growing number of Republicans who have succumb to mounting pressure from their constituents as a result of the #My2k White House social media campaign launched just over two weeks ago. The campaign has been designed to put pressure on Congressional Republicans to pass the extension of current middle-class tax rates before they expire at the end of the year.
If Congress doesn't act, every family in our country will see their taxes go up in the new year. For a typical middle class family of four, that means a $2,200 increase in taxes. For my sister Ruth, that's the difference of being able to make car payments and pay car insurance for 6 months. For my sister Liz, that's about 6 months' worth of gas that she needs to travel to and from work.
My sister Ruth is an admissions officer at UCLA. She shares the same advice we were given by our parents and grandparents growing up when she is recruiting students to apply to study at UCLA: "Work hard, do your best and the only thing that will limit you is the determination you draw from within in order to achieve your dreams."
Countless parents continue to work hard so their kids can have a fair shake at success. But we should all worry for the futures of our families when some in Congress place the wants for the wealthiest 2% ahead of the needs of middle-class families.
We should be clear it is the actions of those in Congress like Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor who are operating on behalf of a few and not the majority of Americans. I have yet to see the grassroots movement of Americans taking to Twitter, Facebook, or writing letters to the editor stating they would rather pay an additional $2,200 in taxes than have CEOs and hedge fund managers pay their fair share. Speaker Boehner and Rep. Cantor's actions fly in the face of the fact that Americans voted for economic fairness in the November 6th election.
It is my honor to serve as Executive Director of Communities for a New California (CNC). CNC was in large part created because of how the ongoing state budget crisis has so disproportionately impacted working families in the rural areas of California. CNC is committed to not only ending this trend, but more importantly in reversing it.
Members of my organization, Communities for a New California, reached over 50,000 voters leading up to the November election through phone calls and door-to-door visits. We heard time and time again from people that just want a system where everyone pays their fair share. It's time for a system that closes loopholes for the rule breakers who intentionally evade taxes. It's time to end tax breaks and concessions for rich corporations that outsource jobs and hide profits in secret offshore accounts.
Join me. Call your member of Congress and urge them to keep middle-class taxes from going up. Send an email to your representative or post a message on Facebook or Twitter. Join The Action right now.
Pablo Rodríguez is the Executive Director of Communities for a New California (CNC), a statewide civil rights advocacy organization. He has also worked as a public policy consultant, as well as serving as Director of the Dolores Huerta Community Organizing Institute.