WASHINGTON -- February 7 -- In remarks today at the National Press Club, Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) and Congressional Black Caucus co-founder the Honorable Walter Fauntroy drove home what the historic shortfall in U.S. revenues means for regular Americans. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that in 2004, federal tax revenues fell to their lowest level, measured as a share of the economy, since 1959.
"President Bush is waging an all out attack on sensible programs that ensure retirement security and make health care affordable for America's working families. Republicans say they want to privatize Social Security to create an 'ownership society,' when what they're really telling working Americans is, you're on your own," said Congressman Stark.
"This budget will mean poor people get poorer. But the rich are still getting richer, because $1.8 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy are still part of President Bush's plan," said Fauntroy. "African Americans and Latinos have been particularly hard hit by the economic policies of this president." A new report from United for a Fair Economy shows that since 2000, more than a third of the progress made in the 1990s in reducing poverty among African-American families has been erased, as 300,000 of these families fell below the poverty line from 2000 to 2003.
Responsible Wealth member and business leader Arnold Hiatt commented, "Even with the major cuts in basic human services this budget is anticipated to propose, Mr. Bush is leaving our children a crushing legacy of debt. In effect, the tax cuts for the rich are creating a new birth tax on every baby born in our country. This soaring deficit continues to undermine the soundness of our economy."
Dr. Elizabeth A. Letzler presented the group's Responsible Tax Pledge and signed it, along with other affluent Americans. "We calculate that 257,000 American millionaires are scheduled to receive an average of $123,592 each in federal tax breaks this year, based on data from the Tax Policy Center," said Letzler. "That alone totals $32 billion. Today we're launching a drive to have these millionaires pledge to refuse the tax breaks and donate the proceeds to charity."
Responsible Wealth is a national network of over 800 business people, investors and affluent Americans who are concerned about the deepening wealth divide in America and who advocate widespread prosperity. The Responsible Tax Pledge, along with a tax break calculator, can be found at www.responsiblewealth.org.
The Responsible Wealth Press Conference on the Bush Budget February 7, 2005 National Press Club
Representative Pete Stark has been a member of Congress (D-CA) since 1973 and is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, currently the ranking member of its Health Subcommittee. He is a long-time advocate of tax reform and tax fairness and an opponent of corporate loopholes in income tax laws. A founder of the $100 million Security National Bank of Walnut Creek, Stark sold his interest in the institution after his election to
Congress. He graduated from MIT with a degree in engineering, holds an MBA
from UC Berkeley and is a veteran of the US Air Force.
The Honorable Walter Fauntroy was appointed by Martin Luther King as director of the Washington Bureau of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1961 and went on to coordinate the 1963 March on Washington and direct the 1965 Selma March. He was elected to Congress in 1971 as a Democrat from Washington, DC, where he co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus and served as a member of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee. He graduated from Yale Divinity School and is now the pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington.
Dr. Elizabeth A. Letzler is a former banker and member of Responsible Wealth from Baldwin, NY. She manages a significant amount of family wealth for herself, her children, and others, believing that stewardship is an important moral principle today more than ever. Letzler is a founder of CHOPS, an online activist community that targets progressive high school and college youth, and has been actively involved with shareholder fairness actions on behalf of Responsible Wealth.
Arnold Hiatt was chairman of the Stride Rite Corporation, a top-rated public manufacturing enterprise, for three decades. Under his guidance, Stride Ride received widespread recognition for combining significant earnings momentum and increased productivity with socially responsible corporate behavior.
Meizhu Lui, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy, has been a hospital kitchen worker, an AFSCME union leader, and an organizer for Health Care For All. She is a trustee of the Hyams Foundation and a member of Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP). Her work has been honored by a variety of organizations, such as the YWCA, the Commonwealth Coalition, Rosie¹s Place (for homeless women), the Immigrant Workers¹ Resource Center, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, and the Boston Women¹s Fund.