Monday, September 08, 2008

On not raising taxes

It is not the stated purpose of this blog to provide political commentary unconstrained by the wisdom of scripture and Spirit. I usually resist the temptation to rant or review or rave about a particular news item or event, but today I feel succumbing coming. So if you prefer to enjoy my blog without the lingering bitter taste of elephant that has passed its expiration date, read no further. Do please return -- this won't become a habit.

How long has it been that the Republican battle cry has been "No new taxes"? How long have we drunk in the trickle-down theory even though those in the "down" aren't even yet damp? When did we begin to believe that the Founding Fathers meant deregulation when they wrote "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (and yet, having eloquently stated the basis for civil and civic rights, Somehow couldn't manage to express the heady concept of deregulation, leaving it to Congress to help them out)?

I know when humans confessed our desire for an earthly king, full of power and full of other... things.

I know when the Supreme Court decided that a fiscal entity (the corporation) was entitled to the same rights as flesh-and-blood-living-breathing-endowed-by-their-Creator-with-certain-inalienable-rights-entities (people). (That would be 1886 in, of all cases, Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. The SC didn't actually decide to afford "legal persons" more power than "natural persons", though it is quite clear that case law has managed to do just that. For unabashedly biased accounts, click here or here.)

But do tell me, dear friends, why we of at least some small brain decided to go along with it, and to elect and re-elect the shills to put such destructive nonsense into play?

I refer here to the federal bailouts of certain large fiscal entities. Need we be reminded that that is, in fact, our taxes funding poorly managed, deregulated, tax-sheltered, legal persons? Which means that the defaulting corporations are major recipients of yours and my tax money, while at the same time, loud cheers of joyful support go up to the heavens when the current Republican candidate for President (don't get me started on the Democratic one) repeats the sounding joy "no new taxes", and promises to lower maximum corporate tax from 35% to 25%. That is before the deductions, my friends, that lowered the 2000 effective tax rate for all corporations to 27% . The GAO reported last month that over 60% of US-owned legal persons paid no federal income taxes; of those "most of the large USCCs that reported no tax liability in 2005 also reported that they had no current-year income".

Really? No income? Well, then, let's Do decrease their tax rate, because clearly it's become a burden.

Still, we have a strong economy, based on the unimprovable (and unprovable) economic theories of the Right. To wit:
  • the poverty and hunger rates are rising;
  • health costs put families into bankruptcy (Hey! Incorporate and apply for a bailout!)
  • the war(s) (remember Afghanistan? Anyone?) cost me and you $284,722 per minute That's roughly $809 billion thus far (interestingly, the war in Southeast Asia (aka "Vietnam") cost $670 billion in today's dollars);
  • or, put another way: $5000 per Iraqi in 2007 alone. (What could Iraqis have done if we'd simply handed each of them $5000? What could our hungry people do if we handed them $5000? Oh, but right, we don't believe in government handouts. Darn!);
  • the high school dropout rate in CA is about 25%, while the incarceration rate stands at 3.2% nationally and 4.7% in CA. Reported unemployment here is 7.3%. Today; check in tomorrow;
  • the Governor of California, himself the lucky benefactor of a recall initiative, is currently facing recall for suggesting a temporary 1% sales tax hike, and
  • Ford stated this month that it "cannot afford" to sell its 65 mpg car in the US. That's with $100m net income Q1 2008. That's net, folks. Wonder what it will have been come tax time...
Look, I know it's more complicated than this. But --
  • until we begin to believe and act and vote as if we are jointly responsible for each other,
  • until we decide that people are people and corporations aren't,
  • until the financial health of the country is based on how the "least of these" is doing rather than on the "productivity" levels of major corporations (we Do understand that productivity goes Up when fewer people are needed to do the same amount of work, which benefits the legal person but not the natural one, don't we?)
  • until we decide that one of the ways the federal government exercises its constitutional responsibility to "preserve and protect" its people is to promote and provide for the welfare of the natural persons under its care,
it's gonna look like this. Is God weeping yet? Are we?

End of direct and sarcastic political commentary. We now return you to your regularly scheduled pabulum.

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