Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rich Welfare Queens

Someone with some extra time on their hands should put together a website detailing very closely the welfare that US billionaires and millionaires receive in the form of tax breaks.  One could start with the billionaire hedge fund managers who pay taxes at a 15% rate as a result of the Carried-Interest Loophole.   I would bet that they receive far more welfare cumulatively than those below the poverty line.  The website could also detail the welfare that corporations receive, and indirectly the large shareholders.  Lastly, the website should detail the dealing of Congress, particularly those on the Finance Committees of both the Senate and House who are largely responsible for keeping the Carried-Interest Loophole alive, despite widespread popular support for ending it. 

In his excellent NY Times article, "America is Europe," David Brooks makes a very strong point showing that tax breaks are equivalent to government spending.  If we factor in tax breaks, "the U.S. has one of the biggest welfare states in the world. We rank behind Sweden and ahead of Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Canada."

The major difference is that countries like Sweden and Italy provide welfare to its citizens who are young and old, whereas the US provides the majority of its welfare to its wealthiest citizens.

Our welfare to the wealthy of America really needs to change. Hopefully we the people can start shining a light on this so that we can gather enough support to make some real changes.