Political and Marketing Muscle for Bush Tax Policy Provided by Groups Out to Drastically Reduce Gov't Services

For the far right, there’s method to the madness of massive deficit-creating tax cuts

Massive and unfair tax cuts that would drive the federal government deeper into debt are being aggressively promoted by powerful right-wing groups that are ideologically opposed to the government’s role in providing basic services and protections to individuals. A new report by People For the American Way examines five major organizations whose ability to commit resources to and exert influence on policymakers and grassroots operations have helped keep the Bush administration’s irresponsible tax policies high on the domestic agenda, despite ever-worsening deficit projections, the huge cost of war in Iraq and its aftermath and warnings about the nation’s long-term economic health.

“For those who want to drastically restrict the federal government’s ability to take action on behalf of individuals and the common good, there is method to the madness of reckless tax cuts that is particularly troubling at a time of war and economic uncertainty,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “They see massive deficits as a way to undermine the federal government’s ability to deal with national priorities like stronger public schools, a cleaner environment, and better access to health care.”

The report profiles five groups who share an anti-tax, anti-government and pro-privatization agenda, but play to different strengths. Americans for Tax Reform is the inside-the-beltway operation which excels at building and maintaining political coalitions among politicians, industry groups and other right-wing interest groups. The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute are the ideological think tanks, churning out policy papers and providing the bulk of material support and marketing might for policymakers. Citizens for a Sound Economy drives the field operation, channeling corporate money into grassroots campaigns for specific legislative proposals. Finally, Club for Growth is the uncompromising political action committee, enforcing ideological rigor by targeting wavering politicians when they are most vulnerable, including Republicans deemed insufficiently committed to anti-tax dogma.

“The debate about tax policy should be broader than just how many billions or trillions of dollars will be given away to America’s millionaires,” said Neas. “It is important for policy makers and the American people to understand that behind the push for these huge tax cuts is an anti-government movement that is eager to force radical reductions in the social services and legal protections provided by the federal government to the American people. The tax plan is part of a broader strategy that includes packing the federal judiciary with judges who embrace a states’ rights approach to the Constitution in order to restrict the federal government’s legal authority to protect Americans’ rights and address pressing issues. This report sheds some light on the key players in this movement and their strategies.”

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