Bush's budget proposal for FY 2008 is emblematic of the social crisis unfolding inside the U.S. Empire, its ramifications still largely ignored in mainstream politics. Coupled with whopping military expenditures and permanent tax cuts for the extraordinarily wealthy, Bush's budget shreds what little remains of the tattered social safety net for the most downtrodden members of the world's richest society.
The Iraq war marks the first major war in the last century fought in the interests of America's ruling elite without even the pretense of "shared sacrifice." During the First World War, the tax rate for top income earners stood at 77 percent; during the Second World War, at 94 percent. Even during Vietnam, the wealthiest taxpayers faced a rate of 70 percent on personal income. Yet, as the bloodletting in Iraq has been proven a war for nothing more than U.S. control over Middle Eastern oil, the corporate class continues to enjoy an income tax rate that has been capped at only 35 percent since 2003--the year the U.S. invaded Iraq.
Bush's budget makes clear that the growing numbers of economically disadvantaged Americans--already supplying the cannon fodder to kill and die in Iraq and Afghanistan--must also continue to shoulder the suffocating financial burden for U.S. imperialism's twenty-first century follies.
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