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The Inclusive Economy

This Is What Fair Tax Policy Would Look Like

By Ezra Levin on 02/09/2016 @ 04:00 PM

Tags: Federal Policy

Today, 140 million Americans are financially insecure — nearly half the population. At the same time, wealth inequality is at historic highs, aided and abetted by billions of federal dollars spent unfair tax programs that do little or nothing for most working families.

With things so out of whack, what can we do? Well, what we can’t do is wait for Congress to wake itself up. What we can’t do is hope that the answer comes from above. What we can do is mobilize and educate. We can get engaged — and angry. We can stop accepting the status quo and lend our voices to the fight against inequality and for expanded opportunity. That’s what the Turn it Right-Side Up campaign is about: big solutions to big problems.

Late last year, the Turn it Right-Side Up started putting into place the first pieces of this nationwide public education and advocacy effort. We launched a website, and an animation to start spreading the word. We connected with engaged citizens from dozens of states and communities throughout the country. We started focusing on the presidential campaigns’ policies coming from both the Democrats and the Republicans. We were just getting started.

Today marks the full launch of the Turn it Right-Side Up campaign. It is no coincidence that this new action comes in the midst of the presidential campaign. We don’t know who will be the nominee in either party, but the debate on these issues is happening now, and now is the time educate the candidates and raise awareness about these unfair tax programs. This is why today the Turn it Right-Side Up campaign is kicking off a year of action with the release of a statement of principles about what this campaign is all about: wealth inequality, economic opportunity, and unfair tax programs.

We know that wealth is nothing less than opportunity. It’s the new opportunity afforded by homeownership, entrepreneurship, higher education and a secure retirement. It’s the opportunity lost when a family has too little accessible wealth to fix a broken down car or make through a month of reduced hours at work.

We also know that wealth — and opportunity — are unfairly distributed in this country. The top 0.1% of Americans owns about as much wealth as the bottom 90%. Millions of Americans have little or no wealth to speak of. And this disparity is only starker in communities of color, where the growing racial wealth divide defrauds American families and children of color every single day of the year.

And finally, we know that this offensive situation is an inevitability but rather a simple political choice. We know that the federal government spends hundreds of billions of to help those at the top grow their wealth, while doing little or nothing for most working families. We know that good tax programs have in the past and can again in the future expand opportunity. We know that this change won’t come unless we make our voices heard.

That’s what we know. But the campaign is fundamentally about more than that: it’s about what we want. We want fairness. We want change. We want the millions of Americans who are currently getting the short end of the stick to start getting their fair share.

This means an end to the multi-billion-dollar bonanza for those at the top. It means helping every American build wealth. It means creating an America with more homeownership, more college graduates, more secure retirements, and less financial insecurity and uncertainty.

Does this sound good to you? Then join the citizens from the across the country who have already signed up to stay informed and lend a hand. Get engaged. And join us to get to work.

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