We’ve all heard the age-old axiom that “Actions speak louder than words,” right?  What would you think of the following actions based on that?  In a country where corporations are already paying the lowest amount (by percentage) of taxes in that nation’s history, a group politicians is trying to lower the corporate income tax.  In that same country where lower and middle class incomes have been virtually stagnant the past 10 years and the top .5% of people own over 40% of the wealth that same group of politicians is trying to reduce taxes for the wealthiest and reduce medical benefits for the poorest.  What do those actions tell you?

Yes, that country is the United States and that group of politicians is the Republicans.  They’re trying to do those things while saying they understand what the common person is going through.  In a recent discussion with a very conservative friend he told me people need to stop complaining and “just buckle down and work harder.”  I’m no stranger to hard work, I worked at a Burger King in high school to help get money for college.  I worked 20+ hours a week in college for the same reason as well, while attending classes full-time.  While lucky enough to be working in an IT department on Wall Street I would do 60-70 hours a week and think nothing of it, mostly so I could pay off my student loans early.  I’m sure there are plenty of lazy people out there and I have no sympathy for them, but there are also plenty of hard-working people who are out of work because some banks decided to use some not so scrupulous methods back in the run-up to 2008’s crash and recession.  We all know what happened after that … the banks got bailed out and the average joe didn’t.  Now the banks are back to making their usual record profits and many people are still struggling … and a certain group of politicians once again wants to tell us that “Trickle-Down” will work.  We give breaks to the rich, and they’re supposed to pass some of that on.

It has been proven time and time again that “Trickle Down Economics” (or as the modern conservatives call it “Supply Side Economics”) doesn’t work – The CBO has stated when you have to give away money, money given to lower and middle class people has an almost 3-fold effect on economic returns because these people tend to spend money on necessities.  Money given to corporations or the wealthiest (generally through tax breaks/loopholes/reductions) tends to stay with just a few people and thus has little return.  If there is hard math on why it doesn’t work, why would any politician champion refusing to repeal ill-advised Bush tax cuts to the wealthy while at the same time proposing cuts to services for the poor?  With the income gap getting wider every year since the 80’s wouldn’t this just do the same thing?

One of the things that should happen is a revision to the tax code, cut the loopholes, garbage, tax shelters, etc.  When companies like GE are not paying any taxes at all despite billions in profit, millions in tax credits, and who knows how much in no-bid contracts, how can you argue against a revision?  That’s right, GE spent millions of dollars on lobbying for laws and loopholes so they wouldn’t have to pay any US taxes despite making 5.1 billion dollars in the US.  If corporations are now people, thanks to Citizens United, why can’t I do the same?  Oh, that’s right, because politicians are no longer politicians in this country, they’re simply wage slaves to the highest bidder.

Tax codes change every 25-30 years (1926, 1954, 1985), the reason is because in these occasional years there are complete overhauls, getting rid of the loopholes, tax breaks, ways for rich people to pay less money and the government to make it up by sucking more money out of the middle and lower class.  They need to be fixed on these occasional years because as soon as it’s finished, the corporate lobbyists move in and start to throw money at politicians to re-add loopholes and tax breaks.  Maybe the 2012 tax code revision needs to include a law that prohibits politicians from becoming lobbyists for a minimum of 5 years after leaving any political office?

 

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Zarberg is a member of The Political Observers, a sub-group of our writers who are devoted to topics that are political in nature. Zarberg provides a liberal viewpoint in his articles.

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