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May 18, 2012


 (First, for my inevitable detractors, I am a lifelong liberal Democrat and a Keynesian, neither of which has much to do with the following observations and commentary.)       

 Let’s discuss spending (in contradistinction to investment). We must first have some understanding of  what “spending” is, and what it is not. We also have to look at the public value of the targets for which “spending” is to be increased or decreased. Finally, we must fairly look at the revenue side of the balance sheet in order to fund such “spending” and hopefully avoid adding to the deficit in the process. These three criteria (and there are others) are so intertwined that they cannot be discussed in isolated context, so I will make no such attempt.

What is “spending?” When the government spends money on its tangible assets (interstate highways, national parks, buildings and other such infrastructure and associated facilities along with their maintenance, manning, provisions of offices and equipment, is that spending? No. That is investment. When the government spends money on public health and education? No. That is an investment (and study after study has proven that providing a healthy and educated workforce is very profitable to the government in terms of enhanced revenues from such a populace). When the government spends money on enforcement of the Pure Food and Drug Act, when it shares in funding states’ initiatives for good causes, when it enforces federal law relating to crime, antitrust violations etc., is that spending or investment, or a mixture of the two? It is a mixture, a matter for accounting apportionment. The list of federal expenditures and investments is long, and I will make no attempt to exhaustively list them. The idea here is to cite the funding of a few of the exercised powers of government and to flesh out their either-or definition of spending or investment or both.

There is, of course, massive government spending afoot these days. There is no difference accounting-wise between spending money and failing to collect money. Both are outgoes from the Treasury and with our chronic failure to fairly levy and collect taxes on the rich and corporate class, there is little hope that our budgetary problems, annual and/or long term, will go away.

So what is the republican response to such a terrifying fiscal catastrophe looming over America? Cut taxes, i.e., further reduce our waning ability to survive as a viable First World State! This (I hope pretended) view surpasses mere greed; it partakes of the psychotic. America cannot endure and survive such self-imposed poverty. Falling to a conquering power is one thing; falling to the greed of an uncompromising and wealthy few in the richest country in the world is quite another. This nonsense must end. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear and ignore corporate propaganda to the contrary, it is plain that we need more rather than less revenues in our Treasury. We need not encourage our steady descent into Third World status!

 We need to have corporations pay more – not less – taxes. Many pay no taxes at all (Exxon Mobil, Verizon, GE et al.) and some even get refunds! We are supposed to give additional tax cuts to companies that are already getting refunds in a given year? Why? How much more money can Swiss banks hold? Why should GE pay less taxes than a clerk working second shift at the local 7-11? Why? Why should you and I agree to give the rich and corporate class more money in the form of tax cuts so that they can fund multinational corporations who use the money to take our jobs to China and elsewhere? Why should we fund our own economic demise because the rich and corporate class wishes to plunder our Treasury even more – and in broad daylight? Why? Insanity!

The Norquists, Romneys, Roves, Ryans and many large corporations are united in fighting for further tax cuts for the rich and corporate class, which they say will reinvigorate our economy. (That is what George Bush told us when he handed out a trillion dollar tax cut to the rich and corporate class a few years ago. I await even a faint signal that the predicted booming economy is nearing.)

 So what is the public value to an increase in the tax cuts given to the rich and corporate class? Worse than none, since it will inevitably increase our twin deficits (and the interest payable on such increased debt). This will be owed and paid for by you and me – with interest –  sometime down the road (if we survive as a viable state), not the rich and corporate class, who will have enjoyed the tax cuts you and I were denied. Tell me how any such shenanigans serve the interests of this country and its people!

We cannot afford big spending republicans, and do not be confused – a tax cut for the rich and corporate class IS spending. It is money that never reaches our coffers in the Treasury, which is identical to the money that leaves our coffers. It is outgo, not income to our Treasury. We cannot afford such an exercise in total greed by big spending republicans, either now or for the foreseeable future.

Let us unite in refusing any such further gifts to the rich and instead demand that they pay their fair share of the load so that we can stay afloat in these troubled times.  GERALD E

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