Friday, October 30, 2009

30 years: Hats off to Citizens for Tax Justice

TJN is only six years old, and we think it has been a productive six years. Yet our six-year pedigree pales into comparison with our highly excellent colleagues in the United States, Citizens for Tax Justice, which has now spent an extraordinay 30 years mercilessly picking apart the spin, lobbying, hypocrisy and crackpot ideologies that are so characteristic of U.S. politics.

Senator Carl Levin put it eloquently:

"CTJ is a voice for real fairness, for justice, in our tax system, a voice for those who believe in closing special-interest loopholes and enforcing compliance with the tax code. CTJ is there every day and every week, with detailed analysis of tax proposals, alternative ideas, and good suggestions. Bob McIntyre, CTJ’s longtime and tireless leader, is one of its driving forces and a terrific public servant who has dedicated his life to tax justice. Washington would be a much poorer place and even more skewed to the powerful interests without Citizens for Tax Justice..."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. The high-profile U.S. journalist Jonathan Chait also highlights how extraordinarily influential CTJ have been:

"The episode took place in 1999, when the presidential campaign of George W. Bush told the Washington Post it could write an exclusive story about candidate Bush's tax plan only on the condition that the paper not show the plan to any outside experts before writing and publishing their story.

Amazingly, the Post agreed to these terms, and wrote a story about the tax plan that seemed to reinforce the image of Bush as a "compassionate conservative" that the campaign was trying to hard to project. Of course, CTJ did an analysis in the days following the publication of that article and showed that the Bush tax plan was very regressive and that there was nothing compassionate about it.

Chait said the incident is remarkable because the Bush campaign 'crafted an entire media strategy around Citizens for Tax Justice. It was, 'Don't show this to Citizens for Tax Justice before we put it out or we're sunk.' And I think they were right.'"

Read more on CTJ, and such snippets as the Showdown at Gucci Gulch of 1986, here.


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