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Leaving Children Behind

Taxes might be one of the few things in life that are certain, but taxes certainly don't have to be as grossly unfair as the political Scrooges in Washington make them.
 
 
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Taxes might be one of the few things in life that are certain, but taxes certainly don't have to be as grossly unfair as the political Scrooges in Washington make them.

Take, for example, the massively regressive tax giveaways that Bush and his plutocratic cohorts in both parties have enacted. Having shoved the vast preponderance of this money up to the wealthiest Americans, they then tossed a political sop to middle-class families in the form of a $400 tax credit for children. They even touted this sop as deliverance on George W's favorite piece of political rhetoric: "Leave No Child Behind."

That's a sweet slogan, but their delivery on it hit a sour note when it was revealed that they had, in fact, left lots of children behind -- for example, the children in 6.5 million low-income working families were not included in Bush's bill. Public outrage at this exclusion has forced the senate, under unrelenting pressure by Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, to pass another bill belatedly extending the child tax credit to these children.

The house, however, where ideologically-extreme Scrooges rule the roost, has refused to include the low-income children. "Ain't going to happen," barked a smirking Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader, who is nuttier than a whole peanut factory. He says that low-income working families don't deserve the child tax credit because they don't pay taxes.

Earth to Tom: While they don't pay federal income taxes, a disproportionate amount of their meager incomes go to pay sales taxes and other assessments. Add up all the taxes, and the poor pay a bigger percentage of their incomes than do the rich. As for who "deserves" the tax credit, a million of the families Bush is scorning are U.S. military personnel, including 250,000 children of our soldiers who are on active duty.

The next time Bush uses his leave-no-child-behind line -- remember these children he left out.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Thieves In High Places: They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time To Take It Back," on sale now from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com.