Privatizing What the Public Paid For
Privatizing taxpayer-funded roads and utilities means you can still use them — if you can afford to pay again for the "privilege"
by Ed Wallace, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Right. It takes unconventional and courageous thinking to come up with a plan that clears a highway lane for the well off, while the middle class and working poor are left to inhale each other’s $5-a-gallon exhaust fumes. The worst thing about this ill-conceived decision … is it allocates freedom of movement according to income."
— From "Diamond Lanes for the Rich," by Tim Rutten (Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2008)
Few think of it this way, but America already has a major flat tax that we all pay equally: the 18.4-cent federal tax that is applied to each and every gallon of gasoline we purchase, or the 24.4 cents on every gallon of diesel.
Say a young person, who just lost his job at McDonald’s, buys a gallon of gas to get to an interview at Burger King at the same time Warren Buffet buys a gallon of gas to get to the airport in Omaha to board his personal jet: Both the unemployed, below-minimum-wage worker and America’s richest billionaire contribute the exact same amount toward the nation’s highway system on that day.
Now, however, we are being told – to an increasingly urgent drumbeat – that America can no longer afford the luxury of building new infrastructure or even maintaining our current road system, because there’s just no funding for these programs. It’s here that the complete absence of critical thinking about America’s future should astonish and dismay anyone who looks at the facts even casually.
Just for the Rich?
In just a few months America has come up with nearly $1 trillion to cover foolish losses on Wall Street and in the nation’s banking system – losses primarily self-caused in the investor-driven buildup to the mortgage crisis over the past three years. But at the same time we’re being told flat out that Social Security is a disaster waiting to happen, because it will be $1 trillion in default somewhere around mid-century. Yes, you read that right: We can save our financial centers today in mere weeks when it looks like they are over $1 trillion upside down, but there’s no way we can find that much money over the next 40 years to secure all working Americans’ retirement.
Read the whole article HERE.