Thursday, July 06, 2006

They're stealing from you

It's obvious to anyone who pays attention. Land of Opportunity, free market, classless society, rising tide lifts all boats - all bullshit. Always has been. Always will be.

Corporate taxes are at the lowest rate they've been since the early 20th century. Who's making up the shortfall? You are, of course, because you're likely an idiot and believe all the crap that's shoveled to you via the major media and the common wisdom of the moment. Some of you are old enough to remember 1982, when the now almost-deified Ronald Reagan had to violate conservative ground rules and raise taxes. But did he raise them on those people who had money to burn, corporations, the wealthy, et al? Of course not. He raised payroll taxes; that little category known as FICA that you always glance at but never fully understand. So, Joe Public is bearing the burden so GM doesn't have to. And, if the company is run into the ground, anyway? No matter. Welcome to the government-backed public bailout for major corporations. Remember 'business hero' Lee Iacocca? Progenitor of the modern CEO as public champion and superstar? How much of a superstar would he have been without a few billion of Joe Public's tax dollars to keep Chrysler from imploding?

But that's the way all of this works. Free trade? NAFTA? Oh, they're sold as panaceas to the public's monetary ills. 'Free' trade will benefit everyone. Why? Well, because products will be cheaper... unless, of course, they're simply made in one country and then sent back to the other to be sold at the old prices. And, as a side effect, labor (your labor) becomes what is referred to as a 'liquid commodity'. That liquid sound that you hear is your job being pissed away across the border so that someone scrabbling to survive can do it by working for 14 hours at 30% of what you were being paid, if they're lucky. Oh, and don't forget that those trade agreements supersede state and federal law, too. So, if a massive Canadian funeral corporation decides to try to illegally rub out the local competition in Mississippi and a state court decides against them, they can sue the US government to recover 'potential lost profits.' And if a giant US chemical company decides that they still want to build a plant upriver on a small, Mexican town's only source of water, even after a public referendum declaring that the local citizens do not want the plant there, they can sue the nation of Mexico to either pay them their 'potential lost profits' or let them build the plant, anyway. Your governments in action. Small business owner? Sorry. Need not apply.

These plans are implemented by people that you elect. Why? Because the people you elect are not like you. They are wealthy. They are 'the rich' and F. Scott Fitzgerald t'weren't kidding: they're different than you and me. 99 of 100 US Senators are millionaires. Most Congresspeople aren't too far behind. And if they are, they certainly won't be by the time they leave Capitol Hill. One of the most lucrative fields in the world is lobbying, especially if you're a former representative who knows who to talk to and where they have lunch and play golf.

And Democrats, please spare me the 'Republican-controlled Congress' horseshit. Those tax changes that Reagan implemented? Solidly Democratic Congress. That little NAFTA issue? Promoted and signed into better-than-federal-law by none other than Bill Clinton. They didn't call him 'Slick Willie' just because he had a way with interns.

Who is suffering? Everyone who doesn't have a second and third house in Aspen, like dear, departed Ken Lay (ok, just departed; my grandmother always said to say good things about the dead, so I will: Good. He's dead.) How about those other lionized figures, the US soldier/sailor/airman? You'd think that they'd be beyond the kind of onerous crap that's served out to Joe Public and his rent-paying, three-job-working ass. After all, they're heroes! Well, it turns out that a bunch of personal data was stolen from the VA a few weeks ago and so the government has decided to make it all better by paying for a year of free credit monitoring for veterans. It's going to cost $160 million. How will they pay for it? By taking the money from a program that gives veterans health insurance and job training. Oh, and another program for farmers' assistance. And a student loan program. And a program to help young people just released from prison. All of it recommended by the White House Office of Management and Budget and soon to be put in the budget by the 535 stooges on the Hill. Way to pay back those people who put their collective asses on the line so we could shoot the shit out of dark-skinned nobodies a few thousand miles away because, you know, they're on our oil...

They're stealing from you. And you're letting them. Because you're swallowing all that crap about the 'land of opportunity'. Because you actually believe that capitalism is the best system ever created, and doesn't simply serve those who already have capital. Because you don't yet understand that it's a crime to be poor in America. Because you think that watching vermin like Paris Hilton and her glitterati pals on TV is somehow evidence to you that your version of their success isn't far away. After all, reality TV pays people thousands, right? It could happen to you! One difference you might think about, though, is that little thing called the 'estate tax' or, as it's known to its detractors, the 'death tax'.

See, Paris and her friends (and family) don't like the estate tax, because it means that all of that wonderful wealth (not income; wealth. There's a difference.) that they've not worked at all for will someday be routed to someone else via the government (if only it actually worked that way, it would be even better.) And that just won't do. It's far better if their kind keeps what's theirs. And the people that don't count (read: not rich) will simply stay that way, because you only count if you got stuff to count up. So, they scream at the 'death tax'. They say it's unjust. They say it will ruin small farms. They say it's double taxation.

Unjust? Is it more or less just than allowing most of the wealth of this nation to remain firmly ensconced in the hands of 1% of its population? Ruin small farms? No one has ever lost a farm to the estate tax. No one. Ever. The lower limit is far higher than most family-owned farms are or will ever be worth. Double taxation? It's not income. They didn't earn it. It's wealth. They simply own it. And, in fact, wealth is one of the things in this nation that is far UNDERtaxed. But, you know, when your elected representatives are part of the same monied class as Paris and her buddies, they might have to think of their small, family farmland on which they've just built a 27-room, 6-garage, 2 tennis court estate. Life's a bitch that way, huh?

By this point, you might be aghast at my use of language: 'they', 'their', 'monied class'? Decrying the wonder that is capitalism? By the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I was just speaking in favor of income redistribution! You might even suggest that I'm using the language of... [gasp] class war!

Ya think?

You're goddamn right I am. There's been a class war going on in this nation since its inception and it's been a war on and against the poor and anyone else who didn't have the money to buy their way out of it, from Shays' Rebellion (look it up!) right up to Katrina. And you, most likely amongst the afflicted class, are letting them do it because you've swallowed the delusion of the American dream and capitalism and, for some reason, are still waiting for it all to work out. Keep waiting... or start thinking.

They got the guns but
we got the numbers
- Jim Morrison


Post a Comment

<< Home