The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tax the rich and the bankers?

2012 article excerpt:

Populist demagogy of ‘tax the rich’

President Obama has ratcheted up populist demagoguery calling for increasing taxes on the rich, the “1 percent,” with a nod toward the Occupy forces he hopes to harness into his campaign. His aim is to raise the revenue needed to fund an expansive government bureaucracy to do “good works” and regulate workers’ behavior, such as with new taxes on soda pop to keep us from getting too fat.

Obama invokes what he calls the “Buffet rule,” urging that those with annual incomes over $1 million—less than 450,000 out of the 144 million who filed tax returns in 2010—should pay at least the same percentage in taxes as those with median income.

Warren E. Buffett, Obama’s inspiration, is the third richest man in the world as of November 2011 according to the “World’s Billionaires” list in Forbes magazine, worth about $39 billion.

(This, of course, is pure demagogy. Buffett and others like him know all the loopholes to evade taxes and can pay all the lawyers and accountants they need. They can afford not to pay taxes. It’s their system.)

Workers are barraged with all these tax schemes and urged to choose their poison in order to save “our” economy. But there is no “our” economy, or “our” government. We live under their government, a dictatorship of capital.

Workers have no interest in how the capitalist class organizes to get the money to fund their government. This is the reason the capitalist class levies taxes: to beef uptheir cops and prisons; to pay for their ever-expanding government; to pay for the profit-producing interest they rake in on their government bonds; to balance theirbudget. Whatever they need to advance their class interests, which are irreconcilable with those of the working class.

For this reason, communists have no “tax program,” urging some taxes be raised and others cut. Communists oppose all taxation on working people. Up until 1943, workers in the U.S. paid no income tax. The first was imposed by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, because the U.S. rulers needed to pay for their drive to dominate the world capitalist order through the slaughter of World War II.

Can’t tax our way to political power

The working class needs to chart its own political course. There is no way for workers to tax our way to taking political power out of the hands of the capitalist exploiters. No way to change the government and its class priorities by advocating more taxes on the rich.

This can only be done out of the battles fought by working people to defend themselves and others, deepening class consciousness, leading to a victorious revolutionary struggle for political power.

To do this requires a break with both capitalist political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. We have to do away with all illusions that their system can be reformed to serve us.

Workers know that the rich get away with murder. They also know the capitalists’ government bureaucracy is a nightmare for us. But no reform or tax scheme can alter the class nature of the power we face.

It is the labor of working people that creates the massive surplus value that capitalists appropriate and from which they derive their profits and power. Nothing workers get in terms of schooling, medical care, or pensions is charity—it’s all produced by us.

A workers and farmers government will not levy taxes on working people. A government of toilers will provide universal lifetime education, health care, and disability and pension benefits by drawing on society’s enormous surplus wealth—wealth produced in one and only one way, by the working class.

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