Hightower: Congress' Twelve Days of Christmas
"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: tax breaks galore." Yes, if you're one of America's privileged families making more than $200,000 a year, it's a joyous Noel, indeed, because Newt Gingrich has pushed through some new special tax breaks that'll put more than $20,000 extra in your stocking. But if you're just an ordinary taxpayer making under $55,000 a year -- well, all you get is a lump of coal. Speaking of coal, "On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Utah's Canyonlands." Senator Orin Hatch and some other of Santa's elves have packaged-up 20 million acres of some of the most scenic national parkland in Utah and delivered it to foreign mining conglomerates, letting them strip billions of dollars worth of coal from our lands without paying us even a dime in royalties. "On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the Student Loan Program." Until the banker's lobby got to change the rules, working class students could get college loans simply and cheaply by borrowing from a national fund. But now, they'll have to borrow from big banks , which will charge more and create more bureaucratic hassles for them. "On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: the right to raid your pension." As a special gift, Congress wants to let top corporate executives reach into their employee's pension funds and loot as much as $20 billion each from them -- not only risking your retirement money, but also risking another massive taxpayers' bailout of corporate greed. The powerful and the privileged don't need a partridge in a pear tree -- they've got their true love in Congress giving them everything their hearts desire.