Sanders, Clinton & the tax ripoff
Published Dec 16, 2010 8:24 PM
It’s easy to see that the tax deal is a bad deal for workers and all poor
and oppressed people. Though if passed, it will give emergency relief to some
of the long-term unemployed, this is at a heavy price to the entire working
class. The Barack Obama administration claims it was the best deal it could
get, that Republican senators would filibuster anything better. Even Democratic
politicians say the president caved in without a fight.
The super-rich benefit big time from the deal. Families with the top 1 percent
of income already pocket more each year than those in the bottom 50 percent.
They own more than those in the bottom 90 percent. But they refuse to give up
their tax break.
When Obama called on Bill Clinton to sell the deal, you knew it stunk. There
was no way to watch Clinton mealy-mouth his explanation without flashing back
to 1996. Then President Clinton was selling “welfare reform.” It
was supposed to help poor people find paying jobs.
Now the poor — including all the tens of millions of unemployed and
underemployed — have no welfare and no jobs. This is disproportionately
horrible for African Americans, Latinos and Latinas, and all oppressed peoples.
It is horrible for the whole working class.
Sometimes, even in the millionaires club known as the U.S. Senate, there are
one or two who stand up against the tide of reaction. They may not do it
consistently, and it would be foolish to count on them, but even resistance
from these quarters can have an impact. For example, in 1964 Senators Wayne
Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska were the only two to vote against
the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Their opposition helped legitimize the
then-small movement opposing U.S. aggression against Vietnam.
On Dec. 10 Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont held the floor for eight and a half
hours while he railed against the tax giveaway to the rich. There were at least
two important lessons from Sanders’ day-long resistance.
Sanders’ first lesson: If the Democrats who disagree with the deal really
wanted to fight it, they could have tag-teamed with Sanders and stopped the
bill from passing. Looking backward, if the Democrats had really been serious
about opposing the invasion and occupation of Iraq, they could have
filibustered the war allocation bills, just as the Republicans filibuster for
everything these days.
Sander’s second lesson: Maybe the less reactionary senators and
representatives can’t get a bill passed that helps the poor if they
restrict the struggle to Congress. There are too many reactionaries there. But,
he said, progressive legislators can use their influence to call on the people
to demonstrate and rally, even come to Washington and insist that Congress not
do business as usual.
If the legislators were serious, that’s what they could do. Conclusion:
The Democrats were not serious about opposing the Iraq war and now
they’re not serious about helping the poor. Realizing this truth is only
the beginning of the fight that working and oppressed people need to wage.
It’s time to take the next step.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
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