NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

GOP Party OF The Rich_1.jpgFRESH AIR

“Almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans,” writes Rolling Stone political correspondent Tim Dickinson. “Most of their plans, which are presented as commonsense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor.” On Wednesday’s Fresh Air, Dickinson explains how the tax policies pursued by the Republican Party have changed in the past 14 years — and says those changes have led to greater economic inequality in our country. He explains that the top 400 taxpayers in the United States have seen their incomes increase threefold since 1997. In that same period, their tax rate has fallen by 40 percent. “Today, a billionaire in the top 400 pays an effective tax rate of about 17 percent,” he says. “That’s about 5 percentage points less than your average worker.” If you don’t like the nature of what government does — you don’t like that it funds a social safety net, you don’t like Medicare, you don’t like Social Security — it’s actually a good strategy to leave the government in a perilous fiscal situation, because energies will be directed into cutting spending and paring back these programs. The income of the wealthiest Americans has also increased. Dickinson writes that “since Republicans began their tax-cut binge in 1997, they have succeeded in making the rich much richer. While the average income for the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers has remained basically flat over the past 15 years, those in the top 0.01 percent have seen their incomes more than double, to $36 million a year.” Dickinson tells Terry Gross that the revenue going to the wealthiest Americans is increasing. “This isn’t just about the broadest sweep of American society — this 90 percent — if it’s getting ahead, it’s getting ahead just at the margins,” he says. “The people at the very top of the income period are taking off like a rocket — $10,000 an hour raise for the people in the top .01 percent.” MORE

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