Well, let me give you just two—one thing to think about your income taxes. The interest on the debt—the debt that Ronald Reagan promised, if he was elected, he would end—is so great now that it equals all of the money that will be withheld from your paycheck in January, February, March, April and part of May. All of the rest of the income taxes you will pay for the year go to war. They go to the Pentagon budget. Remember, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are not on the regular budget. They go to the Energy Department, which is the bomb-making division of the military. And they go to Veterans Affairs, paying for past wars. And as Joe Stiglitz pointed out, in terms of personnel costs, the peak year for World War II was 1993.
One of the major reasons that we are in so much trouble in this country is that what Reaganism has brought us is spending without taxing, spending that money in ways that are totally unproductive and counterproductive and impose huge costs on the future. And this huge national debt, which is going to get worse with the stimulus, no question, and put us in danger down the road of a big inflation—but what the national debt does, what “borrow and spend” does, is it takes taxes from people who work—because that’s about 85 percent of all income tax money, from people who work—and it transfers it to capital, people who own the national debt.
And who owns the national debt? Banks, insurance companies—oh, those are businesses we’re having to bail out—the thugs in China who shoot independent union organizers, and some older wealthy Americans. It’s a redistribution scheme to take money from working people and redistribute it to capital through the tax system. I’m curious, by the way, why the Republicans don’t see this, since they oppose redistribution down. You would think they should be out there actively opposing redistribution up. And a few of them have been.
Wallace Stevens, the Detached Poet
7 hours ago