Lowered Expectations

Death and Taxes – Americans Choose

Richieville News Service – WASHINGTON
It is often said that the two sure things in life are death and taxes, but new research shows that Americans believe they can choose between them and are ready to die rather than accept higher taxes for the wealthy. As reported by the Congressional Budget Office, there is a widening gap between average life spans of the rich and poor.  For the first time, life expectancy is actually declining in some areas of the country.  
“I may live 7.5 years less than some rich person,” said Elma Witherspoon, of Athens, Texas. “but at least we reduced the capital gains tax to 15 percent.” Ms. Witherspoon lives in Henderson County, one of the 180 U.S. counties where life spans for women declined between 1983 and 1999. “Now if we can just make the Bush tax cuts permanent,” she said, ” I can go to my grave with a happy heart and sooner than I had planned.”
Most of the counties where life spans have shortened are in the south, where voters have embraced Republican policies of cuts in social services accompanied by cuts in tax rates for the super wealthy. This would seem to bear out the conclusion that many voters would rather die than see the rich give up their tax shelters.
James McGregor lives in Fayette County, Alabama, where men on average live 11 years less than men in the most long-lived areas. “Nobody lives forever,” he said, on a recent spring morning, while waiting to fill out a job application at WalMart. “What’s a few years of life compared to letting rich people have lower effective tax rates than working people? Sure, if we had national health insurance, I might be able to make it past 65, but by then they’ll probably have done away with Social Security, so I won’t have anything to live on, anyway.”
Patricia Peabody, of Fulton County, Arkansas, though doomed by poverty and neglect to be among the 19 percent of American women whose life spans will be shorter, had a philosophical attitude about her sooner-than-average demise. “I just don’t like big government, ” she said. “And that’s the way I’m voting, even if it kills me.”

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