Friday, July 28, 2006

They're Killing Me ...


A quick afternoon perusal of the news finds the following, Republicans Tie Minimum Wage to Tax Cut. The house Republicans don't want to approve the minimum wage unless tax breaks are given to the rich - to smooth it out a bit and not make it seem so much like a welfare program for rich people they're throwing a bone to middle-class folks by including tax deductions for college tuition in their tax proposal (the middle class and everyone else is already allowed to save for college tuition tax-free using 529 plans or a Coverdell Education Savings Account, so what more they can gain from this I'm not entirely sure).

The minimum wage presently stands at $5.15 an hour. If you work a 40 hour week you're making $10,700 a year and that's barely a wage you can support one person on, much less a family. So of course anyone making solely minimum wage is barely getting by and more likely than not working two jobs, very often with neither providing health insurance, to scrape by. The minimum wage is not indexed to inflation, as common sense would indicate to me that it should be, and it hasn't been changed in ten years. So as we learn today, the Republicans will only buy into changing it now if the inheritance taxes on wealthy estates are eliminated. So regular people aren't entitled to a working wage unless people who haven't a worry in the world financially pay less taxes - how does that work?

So we're talking about cutting the taxes on the rich, but not eliminating or appropriately index the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) which more and more middle class, two-income families are finding themselves subjected to. I've sort of beat the AMT to death, the last time being in April: The Alternative Minimum Tax: Watch Out!. We're presently taxing our children at a higher tax rate than the old "children's rate" between the age of 14 to 18 because a cash strapped congress is trying to scrounge for revenue, and the Republicans are looking to cut "inheritance" taxes for the rich. I could go on and on ... but then the real point here is that the less well-off, the working poor as they're called, are entitled to a working wage without having to give anyone else bennies to justify it. But the working poor just don't count as much to the Republicans, of course, so ...

I don't know when the average Jane or Joe middle-class person is going to wake up to the fact that they're the ones paying for subsidizing the rich, which means that on a percentage basis of income they're paying more to support this government and its expenditures in places like Iraq. The little guy is being made to pay, while our Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. seem to be mostly interested in making sure that they take care of the primary campaign contributors. People should be getting pissed, very pissed ...

Addendum (5/31): It turns out that the 529 college saving plan, which is tax free, is due to stop being tax free for deductions from the account in 2010. Part of what this tax bill is intended to do is keep the tax-free status of the plans in place for good, i.e. not end after 2010.


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