Come On, Let’s Really Increase Taxes on the Rich

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Well, here’s something you don’t see [ever] in corporate media: a review of tax measures in the USA since the crash in 2008 that have succeeded in increasing taxes on the rich. And it turns out, tax increases that are regressive [sales taxes, etc.] or include the non-rich, seemed to fail quite a bit.

How did these taxes on the 1% succeed?

One way is mixing “traditional lobbying with the direct action of the Occupy movement.”

And here’s some rationale for why the rich should pay more, with tax revenues going to restore and improve public services:

Unions and their allies stressed that those who’d benefited from the policies that sparked the financial meltdown—corporations and the rich—must pay for the public deficits it produced.

via Public Sector Unions Win When They Preach “Tax the Rich”.

Here are some other tactics from Chicago: “Through direct actions—such as holding a ‘grade-in’ in a bank lobby and occupying a subsidized Cadillac dealership—teachers challenged the city’s spending priorities. They offered the obvious answer to the question of where to find money for new books, art supplies, and teacher pay.”

And in New York City:

In New York City, unions and grassroots groups staged a week of action in December, highlighting how the city could save more than $750 million: by renegotiating the fees and high interest rates Wall Street charges to manage billions of public dollars.

The protests were designed to reinforce new mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign commitment to fighting inequality. De Blasio has pledged to raise taxes on those making over $500,000 to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.

And here’s what the food service precariat did:

When it comes to taxes, public sector unions should take a page from the recent fast food strikes. With their twin demands for $15 and a union, fast food workers leapfrogged nearly two decades of patient organizing intended to raise the minimum wage in steady increments.

Instead of taking the traditional approach of calculating a politically feasible goal, the fast food workers aimed high. With direct action and a lot of publicity, they shattered the parameters imposed by simple legislative maneuvering—and shifted what’s possible.

Traditional tactics aren’t working anymore. Workers have everything to lose if we and our unions don’t escalate our actions and embrace far more creativity in our positions, demands, messaging and engagement.

If we keep going with the same tactics, we will continue to be slowly eroded into oblivion by the federal Conservative Party and other worker-hating, greedy rich people and their political compradors with their union-busting legislation.

If you haven’t smelled the organic fair trade coffee yet, you haven’t woken up.

We need to demand–loudly–that we need to raise taxes on the rich and corporations. And not in a mild, incremental tax cut roll back that the BC NDP suggested in their losing election campaign last year. Too little. We need real solutions for real people.

And we need them now!

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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