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Raise Your Voice

By PETER MOLENAAR

Patriot”™s Call: Tax the Rich

“It is shameful that billionaires profit off the suffering of working families as the pandemic ravages the economy”¦”, so said our congressperson, Ilhan Omar. In fact, because of gaping loopholes in the tax code, the wealth of America”™s billionaires can go untaxed forever, and even when taxed, the rate is about half that of taxes on wages. Consider organized labor”™s Sept. 9 letter to lawmakers: “The wealth of our country”™s 708 billionaires alone rose by $1.8 trillion, or 62%, during the pandemic””enough to pay for half the ten-year cost of the $3.5 trillion package.”

What package?

President Biden”™s “Build Back Better” vision includes a vital infrastructure plan which will create millions of jobs. Universal childcare along with universal preschool is also in the mix. Hey, let”™s lift up every child. Tuition free community college (okay, let”™s take it all the way). Let the nation building begin!

Will ”™Tax the Rich/Build Back Better”™ also address the pressing matter of climate change? Well, for example, if nothing is done, a young worker entering the outdoor workforce today can expect his or her exposure to hazardous heat conditions to quadruple before retirement. Outdoor workers are already 35 times more likely to die from heat exposure. So, for farm workers and construction workers the answer is most definitely: yes.

Here in “the hood”, more than once I personally suffered heat exhaustion while working at Smith Foundry. However, it was indoors with fans in place, plus a livable wage. Want to try your hand at farm labor, 100 degrees under the sun, at the current average $10.80 per hour?

In any case, for the time being, it seems to me that we should unite around the social-democratic policies which are emanating from the Democrats. Perhaps a younger generation will overcome the wedge issues and the hate issues, in order to establish real freedom””a society in which our labor benefits the whole and not merely, for the most part, the likes of Donald Trump. That would be real socialism. Right?

Note: People”™s World and Union of Concerned Scientists served as source material for this article.

Peter Molenaar

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