Govt Needs To Put Folks To Work

I’m hearing mixed reports about the economy.  It’s on the rebound according to some.  Consumer spending is up from this time last year by billions of dollars.  Folks are spending money.  One report suggests this is a sign of consumer confidence.  The Republicans would say this has to do with the certainty factor attributed to tax breaks for all.  Wait, isn’t it a little too early for that?  Curiously, another report argued that while folks of all economic means spent money during the holiday season, they did not feel confident about the economy, this despite the “certainty” of tax breaks.

Did not the Repubs argue that tax breaks for the wealthy would create jobs? Have those jobs been created?  Will they be?  I don’t think so.  Yahoo just laid off a ton of workers.  Notwithstanding unemployment numbers, many corporations have enjoyed another year of profits despite the sluggish economy.  They’ve retooled, outsourced, sub-contracted, laid off expendable workers and the like.  They’ve found corporate loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  In some cases business paid no taxes at all and will be getting fat refund checks from the government.  What happened to corporate welfare reform?  CEOs and high salaried executives are getting corporate bonuses and a nice income tax break from the IRS.  Now, I don’t begrudge someone for making a lot of money – I just think they should pay a higher tax rate – and I mean actually pay that rate, not find ways to shield profits or legally game the system.  Our tax system should remain truly progressive and not oppressively regressive.

The economy is a complicated construct.  For those employed, unemployment numbers don’t mean much, but gas prices or tuition bills might.  Not to speak for anybody, but a millionaire or billionaire for that matter might view the economy as a set of policies that should protect and facilitate the expansion of personal family wealth and make it possible to pass it on to family untouched by the government.  I’m reminded of the Pink Floyd song “Money”.

Republicans argue that the wealthy are the key to reducing the unemployment rate.   But do the wealthy really care about unemployment?  Philanthropists might, but they reserve the right to contribute to whatever cause is close to their heart, not necessarily job creation.   Altruism aside, we must remember that the bottom line of capitalism is profit.  There is no such thing as a free market with a social conscience.  It’s all about the bottom line.  The government should be in the business of job creation and should not outsource the responsibility to corporate America whose priority is profit, not people.  Mr. President, put folks to work.   People first!

Tax Cuts for the Leisure Class

Well, the Obama administration gave in to Republican demands to extend the Bush era tax cuts for all wage earners, including to the insanely rich which alone will cost $700 billion.  The President argued that the compromise was necessary so that taxes would not rise on the middle class at the end of the year.  Of course the Republicans held the unemployed hostage proclaiming they would let jobless benefits expire for the long-term unemployed unless Obama handed over $700 billion (to be added to the national debt) for the leisure class.  It worked, and the Republicans with smug smiles say this news is encouraging.

Here’s the thing – Republicans have said that they could not support the $56 billion unemployment extension package unless it was paid for by spending cuts.  Yet in the same breath, they demand $700 billion in tax cuts for the millionaire and billionaires among them, (their preferred customers) without a plan to pay for it.  Just charge it to the national debt they say.

As the NY Times reported in the article Tax Cuts Suggests New Path for Obama, the entire package of tax relief will cost $900 billion – call it another stimulus package.  The Republicans have claimed that the tax cut for the wealthy will create jobs.  Now that they have it and there is no more uncertainty, the American public regardless of party affiliation needs to hold the Republicans accountable for job creation.