Liberals Promise 'Largest Grassroots Efforts Ever' to Thwart Bush Tax Cut

By Christine Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

( - On the heels of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's cautionary notes about the need for economic stimulus and the dangers of allowing budget deficits to get out of hand, liberal groups have formed a coalition focused on thwarting the centerpiece of President Bush's economic recovery plan, the dividend tax cut.

"In the coming weeks and months, the coalition will be organizing events all across the nation to mobilize opposition to the president's tax cut scheme," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Henderson said that the "Fair Taxes for All" coalition is organizing anti-tax cut events in New Jersey, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Coalition members include the National Women's Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, USAction, and Campaign for America's Future.

As was the case with the president's 2001 tax cut, liberals characterize the dividend tax cut as a major giveaway to the wealthy that will hurt the poor and drive up the federal budget deficit.

Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, promised to produce "one of the largest grassroots efforts this nation has ever seen."

"We are united in opposition to President Bush's irresponsible and unfair tax policies," said Neas. Eliminating the double tax on dividend income would interfere with liberal efforts to boost federal funding for public schools, clean air and water, and access to health care, he said.

Conservatives, Neas warned, are engaged in a nefarious "two-prong strategy, happening largely beneath the radar of the American public, to radically weaken the federal government's ability to protect citizens' rights and address critical domestic needs."

First, said Neas, Bush wants to use tax cuts to drain trillions of dollars from the federal treasury over the next two decades.

Neas, quoting a colorful quip by Grover Norquist, a key Bush advisor and president of Americans for Tax Reform, "has summed up the strategy: 'my goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.'"

Next, said Neas, Bush wants to "turn back the clock" on the Constitution by "creating a federal judiciary dominated by right-wing judges who embrace a return to the states rights judicial philosophy."

John Sweeny, president of the AFL-CIO, said that the president's budget and tax cut proposal is not a jobs and growth plan but "a smash and run plan."

"The Bush proposal is loaded with tax cuts favoring a privileged few and totally neglects education, health care, and public investments needed to create good jobs," he said. "The labor movement will fight this billion dollar heist."

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