When I was growing up, people joked about how much they hated taxes, but they paid them, and we had a solid middle-class society. Real wages rose from WWII through 1973.
Today one of our two major political parties -- nationally and in state capitals -- is unwilling to consider raising taxes no matter the circumstances. Though most of Washington's officials and media are hysterical about the deficit, and willing to hurt anyone in an effort to reduce it, both parties voted in December to extend tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans for two more years.
Despite profits of $14.2 billion -- $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States -- General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year. Its CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, recently replaced Paul Volcker as leader of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board as its name was changed to the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.