Pyramid of Capitalist System, issued by Nedeljkovich, Brashick and Kuharich,
Cleveland: The International Publishing Co., 1911.

Bush cuts taxes for the wealthy, and cuts vital spending for the rest of Americans. Most of the support for eliminating the estate tax comes from just 18 families. Matt Taibbi gives us the numbers. Bush proposes a complete elimination of the estate tax in his budget. It would benefit the following people, among others. These benefits, shown in red, are compared to the cuts Bush and the 18 families propose for the rest of Americans, shown in blue.

Bush tax cuts
Bush budget CUTS

$32.7 billion gift in tax cuts to the Wal-Mart family

$28 billion to be CUT from Medicaid.

$11.7 billion tax cut gift to the heirs to the Mars candy corporation
$3.4 billion to be CUT from Veterans Administration benefits (supporting the troops?)

$9.7 billion tax cut gift to the Cox family (Cox cable TV)
$1.5 billion in CUTS for education

$826.5 million tax cut gift to the Nordstrom family
$630 million CUT – Community Service Block Grants would be eliminated

$468.4 million tax cut gift to the Ernest Gallo family
$420 million CUT from LIHEAP (heating oil to poor)

$164 million tax cut gift to the family of former Exxon/Mobil CEO Lee Raymond
$108 million CUT over ten years to COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. The program sent one bag of groceries per month to 480,000 seniors, mothers and newborn children.

As Taibbi says:

That’s not only bad government, it’s bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace.

In the words of Bishop Spong:

Capitalism . . . has within it the seeds of its own destruction if it allows more and more of the available wealth to be confined into the hands of fewer and fewer of the people. This was the capitalism that Karl Marx felt would finally destroy itself. Capitalism, however, as lived out in the western world has been tempered by social legislation that taxes the wealthy to provide benefits for the poor and middle classes. Capitalism courts revolution when it allows the wealthy to get too wealthy and the poor to get too poor.

Unfortunately, I noted, the recent history of the United States has moved in exactly that direction. During the eight years of the Bill Clinton presidency, which was a major portion of the decade of the 90’s, more wealth was produced for Americans than in any other decade in our national history. Indeed, it expanded the wealth of America to twice what had been produced in the entire history of an independent America. It also widened the gap between the rich and the poor to levels never before seen. That gap has widened even more under the presidency of George Bush and today rests at what I regard as dangerous levels. Every economic program of the Bush administration has been designed to enhance the wealth of the wealthy and, in fact, has exacerbated the poverty of the poor. So we have an economic policy that allows CEOs to be paid hundreds of millions of dollars, made up of salary and stock options, while refusing to provide health care for more than 40 million citizens and allowing our public schools to be significantly under funded.
John Shelby Spong, Q&A Newsletter, Feb 21,2007

This photo shows one of the solar-powered lamp-posts that are springing up
around Burkina Faso, especially in small towns which otherwise have no
electricity. This one is at the colourful market in Markoye, about 40km
north-east of Gorom-Gorom.
Solar power of course has considerable potential in places like Burkina, where
there is more than enough sun. But the purchase and replacement costs for the
equipment are still prohibitive for people’s personal use.

We’ve been having a number of “lights out” at my home due to power shortages. Ghana has just made an agreement with Nigeria to help supply electrical power.

Nigeria has agreed to supply 80 megawatts of electricity to Ghana as part of a deal to help the country to address its current energy crisis.

Additionally, it has accepted to take over the supply of power to Benin and Togo, to take off the burden on Ghana and bring some relief to the country.
. . .
President Kufuor said Ghana again was exploring other alternative sources including solar and bio-diesel.

All Ghana’s power comes from the Volta dam. If water is low, we have both water and electricity shortages. It would provide Ghana with a great deal more security, as well as flexibility, if we establish other sources of power. I would love to see Ghana develop its use of solar power. That is the only power source we can count on for sure, and we have plenty of it. Ghana needs to develop both electrical resources, and water conservation and resources. Taxes and tax breaks could be used to encourage the use of solar power. Ghana should apply the following principles:

non-damage to economic growth, non-damage to the level of energy services provided to the energy consumers, and also reduce the damage to the environment. The order of priority should be:

1. Becoming more efficient and preventing waste;

2. Exploitation of residual energy;

3. Production and exploitation of renewable and alternative energies (exploitation of non-fossil sources). For Ghana, the obvious area to look at is solar power.

Solar power installation

Our Government may need to pass a legislation that all new houses built need to consider the inclusion of solar power provision. This could be encouraged by a small tax on new buildings, which is waived if adequate solar power facilities are installed. The tax incentive offsets the considerable cost of solar power, making it more attractive. This is a way to fund solar power at no cost to government. Would it not be wonderful if Ghana became the leading developer of solar power in Africa? It must surely have a future, and those countries who embrace it will get the opportunity to have the industry based in their country.