Priority Number One

North Philadelphia is the hood. As someone who has worked and lived here for two years, I can tell you that things are not well in this part of the world.

There are almost no jobs, schools are horrible, and in many areas violent crime is pervasive. So I have one question to ask supporters of the Bush tax cuts: when are the rich coming here to shower us with their tax windfalls by opening businesses, investing in the local economy, and allowing their growing wealth (or urine?) to trickle down upon us?

What I’m saying is that it doesn’t take an economist to realize that cutting taxes for the rich does not result in widespread economic benefit. Instead, it is outright fraud.

Things are bad around here, and they have only gotten worse since the right-wing turned the tax code into a perverse social-engineering experiment. To those who say the fate of North Philly was sealed by American deindustrialization, I point to the formerly middle class and rapidly stagnating neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia and the inner-rig suburbs on both sides of the Delaware.

There, home values are flatlining or in outright decline, solid middle class families are sliding into poverty, and income is disappearing. There, we see the true implications of starving government programs and handing tax cuts to the wealthy.

And, even in be midst of the destruction of the middle class, which is the very thing that makes the US great, renegade GOP operatives and complacent Democrats focus on austerity and belt-tightening. Make no mistake – this only threatens to drive the economy further into the toilet.

As the poorly devised Super Committee fades into history, it is time for all people who do not make substantial income from capital gains to tell their federal legislators and President Obama that the number-one priority is defeating any push to make the high-income Bush tax cuts permanent.

Defeating this perverse legislation will ensure much-needed revenue for important government programs, infrastructure investment, and making a down payment on the national debt.

This must be the top priority if the US is ever to recover from the nightmarish right-wing alternate reality that began in 2001. Otherwise, America as we know it, is finished.

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