e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,
e_moon60
e_moon60

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The Right Questions, Part One

The return of a Republican-dominated Congress at the end of 2010, along with the return to power of Republican state legislatures and governors  has already led to a cascade of attacks on women, children, the poor, immigrants, and union workers.   In lieu of dealing with the fallout of the severe economic collapse in the last year of Bush's Presidency, the GOP has chosen to instead to return to the fiscal policies that caused that collapse, and the regulatory policies that had steadily eroded the environmental gains of the previous thirty to forty years--cleaner water, cleaner air, awareness and treatment of toxic materials in the environment, etc.

The GOP position is quite clearly biased for corporations and the rich--who are to be free of taxes and "government interference"--and against the average citizenry--who are to have their personal lives scrutinized closely for any signs of "extremism" or "immorality" or unworthiness of any sort.   Hence the fervent support of the most extreme religious positions (such that a religion you don't belong to has the right to control your medical decisions)  and "security" interests (such that anyone who wishes to travel should be willing to be subjected to investigation both physical and historical, including whole-body scanning that allows strangers to see one's naked body in a format that allows--and has already resulted in--the sharing of such images for the entertainment of the recipients.)   Hence the GOP's allergic response to disagreement and criticism, to the point of wanting to review all the correspondence of a college professor who points out where the ideas and funding behind the recent GOP advances came from

Tax cuts and "no new taxes" are the economic foundation of GOP policy...including attempts to divest states and nations of publicly owned assets and put them in the hands of "private" ownership (quote marks because "private" often means international corporations, not the guy down the street who's always wanted to own that state park where he takes his family on weekends.)   The theory the GOP promulgates--and many of its followers believe--is that taxes make it impossible for "business" (read, large corporations) to invest profits in expansion--which expansion would result in hiring more people and producing more, both of which would be good for the economy.   In other words,  the GOP argues that lower taxes will result in corporations investing in the country--by hiring more people (thus giving them money to live on and to spend, including to spend on their own taxes) and by producing needed goods and inventing new useful stuff.  Along with that idea comes the idea that the government should spend less and avoid (or reduce) its debt load.  

 Demonstrably, this does not work.   It does not work because corporations do not want to "invest in the country"--they want--they insist that this is their only responsibility--to make more money.   Lowering taxes gives them higher profit.   Hurray!  If they then hired more people and expanded, they would be spending money and lowering profit.  Boo!   There are cheaper ways to expand than by hiring more people (moving out of the US to a third-world country, for instance, and hiring their workers, or by using robotics)  and corporations have, in the past fifteen to thirty years, done exactly that.   They take their profits away.  Even as President Bush and a GOP Congress lowered corporate taxes,  corporations were shedding employees and closing US plants.  

Corporations are well aware that taxes paid ARE invested in the country:  they pay for roads, bridges, schools, water systems, medical care,  parks, playgrounds, and all the other publicly-funded infrastructure and personnel, including defense spending.   And when they want something built, they lobby hard to get the tax money applied to their project.  But they want that tax money to come from someone else.   They want the government to buy their products (see Boeing, G.E., G.M, and many other large corporations) with other taxpayers' money, and they want the government to give them subsidies and bail them out when they're about to fail (like, um, Boeing, GM, Bank of American, Goldman-Sachs, Citibank) ...again with other taxpayers' money.  But they are not willing to contribute out of their own profits.  That's why lowering their taxes does not--and will not, under current laws--result in their "investment in the country."  If they really wanted to "invest in this country"--they would pay taxes.  But they not only spend millions to lobby Congress to lower taxes...they often pay no taxes, or taxes at a ridiculously low rate (that they then whine about.) 

Consider that the Speaker of the House was dismissive about concerns that GOP goals would kill 750,000 jobs: a three-quarters of a million more Americans put out of work.   The Texas legislature is as bad or worse: having created a budget deficit by lowering taxes and adopting a "no new taxes" stance, it created a budget deficit which it is now "fixing" by cutting state spending for schools and social services to the aged, handicapped, and children, as well as attacking the state parks (seven are expected to close.)   Resulting job loss in Texas?  Over 300,000.  Their fake budget deficit has been passed on to every school district in the state, where tens of thousands of teachers will be out of a job and some schools are closing entirely.   The prospect for children next fall is abysmal.   The defunding of medical care for the poorest, including children and nursing mothers and the elderly and the disabled, is disgusting.  What are they spending the money "saved" on?   More security for the governor and high Texas officials, among other things.  More toys for law enforcement, more prisons...and tax cuts for corporations. 

We, like other states, have an increasing population of homeless, of sick who cannot afford treatment (or even get to an ER or clinic), of children who experience hunger every day.   It is sickening that those with something to give have to choose between a food bank and a free clinic, a rape crisis center and a homeless shelter, between any of these and supporting a political candidate who will oppose the GOP's determination to make us all poor, ignorant, (and if women, pregnant), and powerless. 

The right questions asked at the right time could prevent some of this.   "So how does that work?" is one to start with, followed by more questions that dig into the reality.   "How does it work that lowering corporate taxes makes corporations invest in the country?  Will they hire more workers at good wagers so those workers' taxes will cover the costs of public works?  Will they donate an equivalent amount to build schools and hire teachers that are not controlled by them, that do more than turn out obedient workers?  Will they donate that money to build roads and bridges?  Will they donate that money to provide medical care for the poor, support services for the disabled?   And if you say "Yes, of course," then show me:  have they ever done so?   Have they done so in the past 15 years? "  Because the evidence is, of course, that they have not.  




Tags: economy, politics
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