Epiphanyblog

All about ideas…

Sequester Consequences: The GOP Chooses Tax Expenditures on the Uber Wealthy Over Job Loses

leave a comment »

So, you liked your job – or at least it paid the bills and kept you going. Well, all that may be coming to an end. Congressional Republicans have chosen the consequences of the sequester over raising more tax revenues from closing tax loopholes that favor the uber wealthy.

Paul Ryan

From Neil Gillies: The New York Times on what the republican party is about to do to America: “These cuts, which will cost the economy more than one million jobs over the next two years, are the direct result of the Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt. Many Republicans say they would still prefer the sequester to replacing half the cuts with tax revenue increases. But the government spending they disdain is not an abstract concept. In a few days, the cuts will begin affecting American life and security in significant ways.”om Neil Gillies: The New York Times on what the republican party is about to do to America: “These cuts, which will cost the economy more than one million jobs over the next two years, are the direct result of the Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt. Many Republicans say they would still prefer the sequester to replacing half the cuts with tax revenue increases. But the government spending they disdain is not an abstract concept. In a few days, the cuts will begin affecting American life and security in significant ways.”

The GOP obviously know what the sequester will do the economy. They can’t be that dumb! But it appears they don’t care. They’d rather kill millions of jobs…as well as increase the deficit due to increased social safety net spending for the newly unemployed…than raise one more dime in new tax revenues. That attitude not only put the lie to their deficit reduction stance, but it should show every American just how little Republicans care about their jobs and lives.

According to Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone reporting, in 2003 when then Senator Lincoln Chaffee confronted Vice President Cheney on the second round of tax reduction legistation, stating that it would probably lead to out of control increased deficits, Cheney said we (meaning he and his wealthy friends) deserve it. My hunch is the GOP still believes that the Plutocrats deserve every tax break and cut they’ve received.

My, how times have changed in less than 100 years. At the beginning of the 20th Century, our Plutocrats – men like Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Carnegie and to a lesser extent railroad magnate, Commodore Vanderbuilt – dominated our industrial landscape. Absolute profit, by and large, was their motive. Each actively sought to become the most wealthy, not because they needed the wealth or the cash. Instead the accumulation of wealth for them was like winning real live a Monopoly game. If worker lives were destroyed or communities ruined, to many of them it mattered not. Only winning the game of becoming the most wealthy and powerful…and controlling entire industries.

Not being blind to the rising populist movement against them, they spent millions to elect McKinley twice to protect their interests, even going so far as to choose TR, whom they rightlyTeddy Roosevelt saw as a threat, for what they thought was the politically dead end position of Vice President. However, when McKinley was killed shortly after his second election, TR became president and game changed entirely for those plutocrats. The country was ripe for change…and TR ushered it in.

Populist worker movements in the early 1900s had sprung up all across the country. Labor was becoming aligned with the new socialist and communist movements which would have ended private ownership in favor of labor-public ownership. Labor unions became more than popular among working class people who saw them as the only way to fight back against corporate giants for economic justice and the rights of workers to decent wages and working conditions. Religious and charity groups supported the labor movement, decrying the vast accumulation of wealth by a few. Violence and extreme turmoil were seen everywhere across the country. Capitalism, itself, was under a massive threat to its existence.

Into this conflict, following McKinley’s assassination, stepped TR. He’d been greatly affected by a few highly influential progressive economists who recognized the dangers facing capitalism. In their minds, if capitalism was to survive, the federal government needed to address the concerns of the growing, vast majority of working class citizens for economic justice and fair play. Those economists proposed better, safer working conditions, higher minimum wages, and shorter working hours (a la 40 hours/week). But TR, once in office, went even further, recognizing that the monopolies retarded growth and innovation, he chose policies to to break up the monopolies that had dominated the previous couple of decades and thereby invigorated 20th Century innovation.

Corporate feeding at the public troughThat action alone led to an era of creative destruction and innovation that lasted throughout much of the 20th Century. Only during the latter quarter of the 20th Century, did his anti-monopoly policies begin to lose the favor among the political elite who saw their own personal fortunes or futures rise through choosing policies that favored the plutocrats over labor, creative destruction innovation, and monopolistic business practices.

Yet, his policies for the working classes are probably the best known and appreciated among working people. For the first time, labor, en masse, was guaranteed the right to demand better wages, safer working conditions, and moderately legislated time off.

Throughout the entire era of vast changes, however, Congress never once failed to do its duty to the Country by taxing the people progressively as needed to hold down the nation’s debt – regardless of how much progressive taxes were disliked once they came into being, they were deemed a moral responsibility…and every church and parish and synagog repeated that message of individual and national responsibility in sermons all across the nation.

Presidents from FDR to LBJ only added to what TR began: to create a more perfect nation for every citizen, regardless of wealth or gender or race or religion or ethnicity, could live a sustainable life and to expect their children to accomplish more than they had. In other words, to live the American dream. Now, it appears the GOP would take away that dream to return to an even more perverse rendition of McKinley’s economic policies.

If Republicans refuse to comprise with Democrats on the sequester then our nation will suffer major job losses, home value decreases again as more homes go into foreclosure, and rising deficits in both state and federal budgets as more people require assistance. As Paul Ryan explained, his real emphasis is on tax cuts – or avoidance – and not the deficit or for that matter on how many millions of people are left to struggle along without jobs. His policies emulate those of the McKinley Administration wherein only the uber wealthy matter.

The genius of the American democratic Republic system of capitalism is that it enabled the greatest numbers of people have their say on issues that directly affected their lives and their beliefs. Because of the social safety net we now enjoy, many do not see the harm that our grandparents endured as a result of the same kind of speculation that caused the ’08 financial collapse. Without that safety net, for which we must give thanks to progressive administrations from TR through LBJ, millions of families would be ruined. The Great Depression would have been replayed en toto.

Surely, the US can do better and should do better…as this nation has done in the past to save both capitalism from its worst practices and to assist workers’ aspirations for better lives. Current dogmatic GOP policies (supply side economics which have never worked and only led to greater human suffering and death since first put into practice during the Great Famine in Ireland) only lead to more domestic economic harm. As a result of GOP dogma on preventing evenirish famine Mother and children modest and economically competitive tax increases on the most wealthy, this nation will likely return to another recession that will affect every average family and cause the loss of not just the millions of jobs but an increased loss of average middle and working income family wealth again.

I understand that many will denigrate me and proclaim me a vile, evil “liberal”. But to them I answer that history provides us many lessons, amongst which are economics and moral, religious integrity. History is a great teacher for future policy decisions…at the very least, well beyond me, that is what our founders, from the Pilgrims to those who participated in the Constitutional Convention, believed. As a free, democratic republic, we do need to relearn our historic economic lessons to prevent the disasters of the past. And we as a people do need to rise up, as our forefathers did, to seek better justice and economic viability.

Advertisements

Written by Valerie Curl

February 18, 2013 at 9:58 AM

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 )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: