The U.S. tax system is an organized hypocrisy. In 1980, the marginal tax rate for top earners was lowered from 70% to less than 34%. In the last eighteen years alone, the corporate tax rate has been reduced from 28% to a permanent rate of 12%. We’ve spent almost a trillion dollars annually on the military. Another six-trillion on Middle East wars. An additional two-trillion dollars for the Bush tax cuts and just last year, another 1.5 trillion dollars on the Trump tax cuts. This astounding sum equates to over $2.5 trillion dollars of public wealth redistributed from the bottom-up every single year for the last thirty-five years. Sadly, this didn’t just happen by accident. It isn’t because of inexorable forces such as globalization, technology or the invisible hand of the market. It happened because our priorities are upside down.
Reprioritizing just a percentage of this squander would adequately fund: Medicare for all, tuition-free college, a livable minimum wage, universal day care, universal pre-K, extended maternity leave, comprehensive mental health treatment, elderly care, K-12 public education, public sector pensions, infrastructure, environmental and climate initiatives, food safety and consumer protections, mass transit, affordable housing and so on. The reality is, we have been complicit in a subversive strategy to dismantle our own democracy. We’ve allowed the evisceration of labor unions and in the process, eliminated the countervailing power to the free market zealots and the globe-trotting corporations who are rigging the rules of the economy in order to privatize their profits and socialize their losses. We don’t have a problem of economic scarcity; what we have is a problem of unequal power.