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Paul O'Neill: Bush Official Would Abolish Corporate Taxes, Slash Social Security and Medicare

September 9, 2001

Often you can discern the ultimate direction an administration wants to take the country not so much from what the big honchos -- Bush, Cheney, Powell et al -- say, but more so from the little-reported remarks of lower-level officials. 

The big honchos are virtually always under the tight control of administration spinmeisters and image-makers.  The lesser officials, however, occasionally slip under the radar of the administration controllers, and blurt out the truth.  When that happens, a quick retraction, clarification or statement that the official "was only speaking personally and did not reflect administration policy" will follow.  But these attempts at spin should be seen for what they are.

It's no secret that the Bush administration has some fanatical right-wingers in it, like John Ashcroft, he of the "dancing is sin" and pro-Confederacy outlook.  But recent statements by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill would make all rational people stop in their tracks.

As documented by the media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, O'Neill, in an interview with the British Financial Times, has called for:

  • abolishing taxes on corporations
  • abolishing capital gains taxes
  • drastically reducing or eliminating Social Security
  • drastically reducing or eliminating Medicare

Usually, such radical, politically unpalatable proposals would be saved until an administration's second term, when there are no concerns about being re-elected.

Luckily for the Bush administration, the mainstream media have virtually ignored O'Neill's comments, made a few months ago.   I've just read about them myself now.

However much fair-minded people condemn the way Bush's tax cuts are heavily skewed in favor of upper-income individuals, that skewing would probably be small potatoes compared to how a Bush administration proposal to shift the tax burden entirely onto individuals would be structured.

Paul O'Neill has apparently spoken about the need to "educate" the public about the current system and how it needs to be changed.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the first "official" hints of policy proposals along the above lines.

As has been said in a notably happier context, "America, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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