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Where Is the Sequester on Tax Loopholes?

Republicans in Congress have taken our economy hostage, demanding deep cuts to programs that help the homeless, the disabled and the middle class. But they won’t consider closing tax loopholes for big corporations and the wealthiest.

Does the country have a spending problem? Senator Tom Harkin says we don’t, that what we really have is a problem with our tax code:

 We have a tax code that is skewed toward the wealthy; a tax code riddled with loopholes; a tax code that encourages companies to offshore jobs, offshore their businesses; a tax code that allows a wealthy hedge fund manager to pay less rate of taxes than a nurse, for example. …

We have to start thinking about this in different terms.  We can’t just focus all of the time on cutting our obligations as a government to build a more fair and just society.

I still believe, as Hubert Humphrey once so eloquently said, that the moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life, our children; how it treats those in the twilight of life, our elderly; and how it treats those in the shadows of life, our homeless, our needy, our disabled.  That is a test of government.  And I, quite frankly, don’t think we are meeting that test right now. …

As we move ahead, and I hear voices saying, no, we have to exempt defense from the discretionary cuts, if defense is exempted, then the disabled ought to be exempted also.  And the homeless ought to be exempted also.  And the middle-class families … ought to be exempted also.

So I tell you, we have got to get back to a better, rational system of revenues and spending in this country, back to our obligations.

— Senator Tom Harkin


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