Skip to content

THE FRUITS OF INEQUALITY

September 30, 2017

THE FRUITS OF INEQUALITY

Americans of every political stripe, left, right and center, including me, object to lavish and unnecessary spending of taxpayer money by public officials. We also object to the payment of money to public officials or those who would become public officials (see Flynn and Manafort) by foreigners whose interests are not aligned with ours (see Russian payoffs and money laundering at the Bank of Cyprus).

We have just yesterday watched the HHS Secretary Tom Price go down in flames of resignation and today we are told that the VA secretary recently spent half his time in London sightseeing, all at taxpayer expense, so he may be next for the ax, and not because he played the taxpayers for suckers, but rather because he was caught. To Trump, appearances are everything, so it is not the spending that is bad, it’s being caught, and speaking of Trump, we are also told today that the president has spent more taxpayer money going to country clubs and golf courses in his first several months in office than Obama spent in eight years in office, so perhaps he should accept his own resignation from office for lavish overspending of taxpayer money.

We the taxpayers have learned about such wrongdoings via the press, a press defined by Trump as “the enemy of the people.” His shoot-the-messenger efforts in order to obscure the message are slowly but surely coming to an end. It is clear that the press is not “the enemy of the people” as ballyhooed by Trump  but rather the guardian of truth in unmasking what is going on in the back room of the ruling Republican majority, a Republican majority that talks about bare-boned budgets for the poor and middle class while at the same time engaged in yet further tax cuts for the rich and corporate class, a majority that promised to “drain the swamp” if elected but whose efforts to date in overspending taxpayer money and more tax cuts for the superrich  are designed to “drain the treasury.”

However, the rotten political culture we have elected as above described and the taxpayer money so  lavishly spent by those who preach austerity for the poor and caviar for the superrich are chump change when compared to the even more rotten political culture we have involuntarily inherited as a result of Citizens United, a democracy-deadening decision that allows Big Money to buy our elections.

I was reading just this morning from Piketty’s great book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a chapter devoted to the inequality of income, where he describes how all such capital and labor inequalities in income came to pass, and was motivated to write this post as a result. Piketty concluded this chapter by noting that “The very large decrease in the top marginal income tax rate in the English-speaking countries after 1980. . . seems to have totally transformed the way top executive pay is set, since top executives now had much stronger incentives than in the past to seek large raises.” He continues: “I also analyze the way this amplifying mechanism can give rise to another force for divergence that is more political in nature: the decrease in the top marginal income tax rate led to an explosion of very high incomes, which then increased the political influence of the beneficiaries of the change in the tax laws, who had an interest in keeping top tax rates low or even decreasing them further and WHO COULD USE THEIR WINDFALL TO FINANCE POLITICAL PARTIES, PRESSURE GROUPS, AND THINK TANKS.” (My emphasis).

So who wants to reduce taxes on the Kochs and Mercers (and incidentally, Trump) even further than the internal revenue code allows at this time – and why? Here are who and why. The superrich and the Republican Party are joined at the political hip. Piketty is right to a fault, as in, you give me more money to spend with more tax cuts and expanded loopholes and I will give you more money to get reelected. We have a lot of money and will drown out these heathen losers with propaganda like the world has never seen. Continue to help us suppress the price of labor, cut our taxes and expand our loopholes and we will keep you in office forever. Deal? Done. It’s that simple.

This is the quid pro quo that is on the table in the back room of our Republican wheelers and dealers and Citizens United has armed the parties to this anti-democratic understanding with the tools to make it happen, as it is. We the People are not governing; our governors are in the minority but in office via hook or crook, misrepresentation, gerrymandering and enormous funding by those who expect something for class Trump is trying to sell us with his long since discarded trickledown chatter.

What to do? Ignore the financial plight of the billionaires. Insist on legislation guaranteeing a living wage rather than a minimum wage. Resist tax cuts and insist on ending tax loopholes for the superrich. Reverse Citizens United or at least limit its application. Stop political treatment of us “losers” as though we are mere ATMs to fund the bottom lines of such as the Mercers and Kochs (and incidentally, Trump).

But for time and space, I could cite dozens of other ideas on how to end economic and political inequalities in favor of creation of a vibrant economy and inclusive democracy, but that is for another day, a day that may not be available to us given the present chaos and greed in our nation’s capital and statehouses reminiscent of the collapse of Rome, all of which, unless ended or at least curtailed, could be our fate. It is time for the 99 percent to speak up at the polls and, if necessary, in the streets if we are to save our democracy, which as I often write, is one of the last few things left worth dying for.    GERALD       E

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: