Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Bush: Rich people don’t pay taxes 

Another bit of truth escaped George W. Bush’s mouth yesterday at a carefully vetted (read that supporters only) campaign rally in Virginia. Call it his Leona Helmsley moment, when he said taxing the rich was a failed strategy because “"the really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway."

There you have it. Cutting taxes on the rich has nothing to do with helping the rest of us or the economy. It’s why bother since they have all those pricey lawyers and accountants, and can hide the money offshore?

Too bad George wasn’t around when Leona, the wife of New York real estate tycoon Harry Helmsley, drew prison time for tax fraud and evasion. He could have pardoned her on the spot. Leona, dubbed the Queen of Mean for the way she treated staff at the Helmsley hotels she ran, declared, “Only little people pay taxes.” The newsfakers had a field day with that one, but don’t expect any screaming headlines or television coverage of Bush's remark. Then, the network anchors all fall into “the really rich people” category.

Last week, at a signing ceremony for the $417 billion defense bill, Bush popped out with another bit of truth when he said, “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

His record on harming the country and the people is impressive: 9/11, illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tax cuts and more tax cuts for the rich, the highest deficits in history, an economy in the tank, more than 2 million jobs lost since he was handed the White House, letting what were good jobs be outsourced to lower paid workers in foreign countries, unconstitutionally giving taxpayer money to religious groups, taking away our freedoms and turning us into a police state, criminally leaking the name of a CIA operative, blowing the cover of an alleged double agent, destroying the environment, tearing up treaties, slapping our allies in the face, threatening Iran, Syria, North Korea and China, and working to overthrow Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba. This is a mountain of impeachable offenses, but neither the corporate trivia mills (a.k.a. corporate news media) nor anyone in Congress will say the I-word.

On the few occasions he tells the truth, his words are dismissed as a joke or that he “misspoke” himself. Jokes or misspoken words can have dire consequences—nay, catastrophic consequences. Ronald Reagan nearly found that out in 1984 when, not realizing he was before an open microphone, he sent the then Soviet Union into a tizzy with his quip, “My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes." The Soviets didn’t find that funny, especially after he had called the USSR the “focus of evil” and an “evil empire” in a March 8, 1983, speech before the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Fla.

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