Thursday, June 30, 2011

Obama tells Republicans to "take on their sacred cows"

President Obama has confronted his Republican opponents head on over their policies of tax breaks for rich people and powerful corporations.

Across the world, conservative parties wedded to special interest groups and lobby interests, are calling for cuts on public services and tax hikes on ordinary people (the recent VAT increase in the UK being a case in point). But they fight tooth and nail to protect the accumulated tax exemptions and subsidies payable to their rich sponsors (and, yes, this includes themselves).

These are the 'sacred cows' of the hard right, which claims to favour fairness, but actually favours privilege and class. As the Guardian reports today:

"The president, in a rare hour-long news conference, called on Republicans to "take on their sacred cows" – including tax breaks for "millionaires and billionaires, oil companies and corporate jet owners" – in reaching a deal on Congress legislating an increase in government borrowing from the present $14.3tn (£8.9tn) limit, without which the US may be unable to meet its obligations within weeks."

The Republican's sacred cows include the USA's staggering military budget, which they refuse to budge on, even as they slash and burn social programmes across the nation. Obama is right to also challenge them on this:

"Obama said more than $1tn in cuts have already been agreed but that other areas of the budget, including defence spending – considered untouchable by some Republicans – must be scrutinised. He said that retaining tax breaks for the wealthy will be at the expense of programmes for the less privileged."

These are the battle lines on which the 2012 presidential elections will be fought. Wealth and privilege versus the interests of ordinary Americans. As usual, tax justice is at the core.


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