The new regime: Screw the poor | Arkansas Blog

The new regime: Screw the poor

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The fact that preserving billion-dollar windfalls for the rich was a non-negotiable part of the congressional tax bill pretty well set the tone for what's to come everywhere in the new Republican Reich.

Now comes Denny Altes with a solution to arrearages in the state's unemployment compensation fund. He'd raise the income tax rate by one-half percent — but only on the first $25,000 in income, according to accountant Jason Tolbert's analysis. CORRECTION: Altes apparently had talked about a cap on the tax at $25,000 of income, but the legislation as filed has no cap.

No matter the lack of a cap: Working stiffs will pay a disproportionate amount of the tax, which, at a flat rate, will be crushingly regressive.

Please note: This is not an "income" tax at all. Read the bill. It's a wage tax. It would be assessed on wages for work and withheld by employers. Layabout trash spawn of millionaires who live off their farm rents, dividends and bond coupons wouldn't pay a damn cent. The burger flipper at McDonald's would give up a half-percent of his or her pay. Employers, who've traditionally contributed to the workers comp fund, would face no additional assessment. What's next, wagesharing? For the privilege of having a job, you must kick back a percentage to your employer, as sharecroppers of old.

In the warped world of modern-day Republicanism, this makes perfect sense. People who work for a living get benefits when they're laid off. They should pay for them. Why should rich people pay or the businesses who might fire a person for no good reason? "Tax work, not wealth." It was the joke motto of the satirical Billionaires for Bush movement. It has become the living, breathing gospel of some ruling class Republicans. The session hasn't even begun and Altes has already won the title for meanest legislation of the session.

Today's worst person in the world: Denny Altes.

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