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My Turn: 'Death Tax' phrase shows very conservative bias of editorial

Posted: December 6, 2012 - 1:08am

The Empire’s editorial headline on Sunday, Dec. 2, is biased to the very conservative end of the US political/economic spectrum. The code phrase “Death Tax” confirms the bias that runs throughout the editorial.

Cutting government spending is not “…the only way to hit the brakes.” Many government employees will be out of work and no longer able to buy things. Local businesses that depend on government spending and contracting will have to lay off their employees, slash their operating expenses, and terminate projects. Many will close their doors.

We need a more reasoned analysis (without context, the colored charts and isolated numbers don’t help). The Empire needs an editorial that discusses the other part of avoiding the “FISCAL CLIFF.”

Warren Buffett — with Bill Gates, routinely named by Forbes magazine as the two richest men in the US — said that a “fair” tax rate would not require that his personal secretary pay a larger portion of his or her personal income in taxes than he, Warren Buffett, pays.

Buffett’s “fairness” — according to the Empire — would reduce billionaires to being “penniless.”

Mitt Romney’s tax returns show us that a handful of the top income earners in the US now pay a lower tax rate on taxable income than the people who work for a salary. Since the early 1950s, these top earners have been so successful at moving wealth out of the pockets of working people, and into their own accounts, that they have now accumulated about two trillion dollars (a 2 followed by 12 zeros) in disposable cash and assets.

So. The other side of the “FISCAL CLIFF” problem is that the Captains of US industry are hoarding their wealth. They cite the “uncertainty” in the marketplace as the reason why they refuse to invest in business expansion, and the creation of new business opportunities. In other words they have become afraid to take risks.

The Empire’s next editorial on the “FISCAL CLIFF” needs to talk about Obama’s proposed return of tax rates on the top end hoarders of wealth to what their rates were in 2000. In 2000, the federal budget was in balance, and the US economy enjoyed, essentially, full employment.

This is the other side of the FISCAL CLIFF discussion, and the Empire needs to talk about it in their editorial column.

• Smetzer was director of a multi-funded regional economic development program in the Interior of Alaska during the 1970s. Now retired, he lives in Juneau.

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