Spread around the wealth -- you bet

I am comfortably middle class. Though that assumes that there's still comfort in a middle class where the day-care bill is higher than a pre-housing boom mortgage and climbing at twice the rate of inflation.

Not to mention health insurance costs that soar 10 percent a year while coverage slips an equal amount. Don't even get me started on grocery-store sticker shock.

Oh, and I just got a notice in this month's bill that my electric company wants a "rate adjustment. " Why don't they just cut the crap and admit they're going to jack it up again?

Despite all that my federal income taxes could increase slightly under Barack Obama or John McCain's tax proposals if I look just at the raw numbers and don't take deductions and credits into account, according an independent analysis by the Tax Policy Center. Or maybe they wouldn't, based on a chart the Washington Post compiled.

Either way, so be it.

Because unlike Joe the Plumber, who's probably already regretting the day he asked Obama why the candidate wants to increase his taxes, Warren Buffett and I say bring it on. Not that Warren and I share an income bracket. I haven't even caught up with Leona Hemsley's dog.

Whatever scant amount additional I might contribute -- and, believe me, it's less than a McDonald's run a week --Obama is welcome to it to spread as he sees fit.

There. I've said it. Go ahead: Spread around the wealth. Because trusting Exxon Mobil and the like to do it isn't working out so well.

  • The country's poverty rate climbed from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.5 percent in 2007 -- the years of the alleged economic expansion, according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities . At the same time, the median income for working-age households fell $1,001. Incomes rose 9 percent for the wealthiest Americans. Yes, the center is considered liberal-leaning, but it's U.S. Census Bureau data.
  • The gap between the rich and the poor has grown worldwide in the past decade, according to a report the international Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development released this week. The United States, land of the free to buy food if you can afford it, is the fourth least-equitable country in the world, trailing only Mexico, Turkey and Portugal.
  • Food stamp payments for a family of four aren't enough to buy what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls its "thrifty" food plan, the center for budget priorities says.
  • American corporations continue to profit by trillions, though the haul did decrease in the second quarter this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Financial corporation meltdowns drove most of this.

Why does this matter? Think lost opportunity. Consider needless suffering. "The economic price of greater income inequality is the waste of human resources," the organisation said this week.

And McCain calls Obama's plans "class warfare." Wake up, Senator. We're teetering already, and not because the Democrats have been in charge and spreading around the wealth. It's happened under Bush.

Oops. I forgot, McCain isn't Bush. He's actually worse. He's recycled Reagonomics that failed the first time when trickle down didn't trickle. No, he's worse than even that, because he doesn't want to leave the government anything to spend on programs that might help pull Joe Sixpack out of this. Not that Reagan did much of that either. Think student aid cuts.

So go ahead, cut into my McDonald's consumption -- the guys don't need it anyway -- if it will mean giving someone else a chance at an education, better care for a chronic illness or an improved after-school program.

The alternative is to keep doing what we've been doing, which doesn't work. At least not for me. Maybe for Exxon, but not even for Joe the Plumber if he thought about it.

Originally posted at debralegg.com. Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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