Walter Rhett

Government by Gimmick

In Ideas, National Affairs on April 6, 2011 at 4:19 am

Southern Corn Crib

Now you see it; now you rename it and you can’t figure out how it works or what it means. Then it disappears. Is it money saved? Shifted? Is it restructured into wealth? For who?Congress has not sacrificed its egos in this season of Lent. The season of quiet reverence has not given Congress clarity or charity—or a spirit of compromise. Congress’ heavy footed shrills only kneel before  special interests and ideology. They act as if dogma is governing. Every decision is wrong. Their words offer no forgiveness only a mantra of loveless fear and blame.

In a Rolling Stone interview, the Reagent of Blame, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, the third most powerful elected position in American politics, expressed his encyclical on “The Manifest Destiny of the Poor.” His doctrine of American sloth has long roots in stories of welfare queens and the mistaken ideal of the docile incorrigibility of slaves. In Boehner’s Gloria, he expresses sincere beliefs, his doctrine of Pacem in Terris et Publica, (Peace on Earth and in Politics).

John Boehner: “Can’t pay your student loan? Face it your parents were lazy and you couldn’t afford college. The world needs ditch diggers and you were born into a family of them. Can’t pay your mortgage? Your house was too expensive and you couldn’t afford it. Your taxes going up too much? That’s what you get for electing a democrat president. Never had a job after you got a degree? You learned nothing in school and you’re lazy. I didn’t get to be a congressman by watching jersey shore or playing xbox. You think there’s no jobs for you? There used to be. There was when I was your age. You don’t have free time because you have to work all days of the week for 16 hours a day and you don’t get paid hourly? Thank the unions. They made decent jobs so out of price range of the average American company that they can’t hire anymore people and the works’ gotta get done. These unions… I tell you they won’t be happy till no one in America has a job. And health care? Don’t get me started on health care- doctors study their entire lives and they barely make enough to live and yet Obama, who had his entire life handed to him on a silver plate wants to cut their pay. You know that’s gonna do? Increase costs–the average persons going to have to work even harder just to see a doctor. “

Matt Taibbi
: “With mounting unemployment what do you think is the possibility that we’ll see an Egyptian style uprising of the youth? Should we be worried?”

John Boehner: “It’s not going to happen in the US. The kids hereare too fat, too lazy, too addicted to TV, fast food, cheap credit, and facebook. I have news for you–there are plenty of jobs out there–the unemployed don’t want them. [my emphasis, /wr] Today’s college student feels entitled to make at least $24 right after college. When they find out they can collect unemployment they would rather do that. You know The CATO institute did a study–and I mean, you and me we’re hard workers we could just sit around and live, but these kids today–that’s all they’ve been doing their entire lives. I’m not worried for this country–there are a few of them who actually want to work, take Mark Zucker [sic]. You don’t build a site like facebook out of thin air–it takes talent and hard work. I went to a community college and all I saw were people sitting in front of computers typing away, their eyes were fixed. Probably just facebooking away.”

WPA Protest, San Francisco, 1939

Contrast John Boehner’s views with those of the popular Pope John XXIII’s Declaration on Universal Peace in Truth, Justice, Charity and Liberty.Moreover, man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name. He has a right to freedom in investigating the truth, and—within the limits of the moral order and the common good—to freedom of speech and publication, and to freedom to pursue whatever profession he may choose. He has the right, also, to be accurately informed about public events.

He has the natural right to share in the benefits of culture, and hence to receive a good general education, and a technical or professional training consistent with the degree of educational development in his own country. Furthermore, a system must be devised for affording gifted members of society the opportunity of engaging in more advanced studies, with a view to their occupying, as far as possible, positions of responsibility in society in keeping with their natural talent and acquired skill.

As a human person he is entitled to the legal protection of his rights, and such protection must be effective, unbiased, and strictly just.

The bokors in Haiti who chant and perform rites to bring zombies back to life describe their mal-intent as benefiting the people. So too, Congress’ legerdemain and its use of the deft touch of fear. Voter sleepwalking zones out the offered bad reasons for bad decisions. John Boehner’s bad decisions and bad reasons, if zoned in, offer a common ground of fear and contempt.

He voted for Medicare Part D, “a $550 Billion handout to the pharmaceutical industry.” In Ohio, he supported and campaigned for a wealthy corporate, weekend dress-up Nazi re-enactor in the last election campaign.

The man who now wants to cut the budget just 30 months ago voted for TARP–the Bush plan that provided a $700 billion bail-out to the financial industry. Boehner took the floor to plead with House members to “vote yes.” (Of course, the financial industry was filled with hard working, fiscally responsible, mission focused conservatives who missed the cliff as they followed their greed. Their unchecked excess nearly bankrupted the country and broke the economy. But Boehner bemoans the debt. He didn’t mind giving those who tirelessly support his campaign PACs nearly a trillion dollar stimulus.

It worked. Citibank and Goldman, Sachs made record profits last year. GE made $5.1 billion in US profits and paid no taxes. And MacDonald’s has announced,–“there are jobs out there,”–it will hire 50,000 workers on a single day, soon to be announced. Those lazy folk who don’t want to work will have jobs, according to John Boenher “if the government will just get out of the way.”

Among Boehner’s duties, in the middle of a 1995 House debate on the tobacco subsidy, Boehner handed off contribution checks from lobbyists to members on the House floor. “They were given to me to hand out,” he said.

As he bemoans the debt and Democrats job-crushing efforts, Republicans have cleverly hid the fact that their budget cutting proposals actually increase spending in several areas. The Republican members of the House Armed Forces committee want to increase 2012 Defense spending by $7 billion. The  Defense News report cited warnings of dire risks to American strategic strength of the world’s largest military budget is not increased. The US spends six times more than China, next on the list.

Here are other facts about the budget cutting that Republicans don’t mention.

Research that both sides agree on indicate that cutting family planning funds may actually increase the number of abortions. In Georgia, the estimated increase is as high as 44 percent.

Republicans are willing to leave open the comparability loophole in Title I, in education funding. It shifts more experienced teachers away from low achieving schools.

Republicans (HR 1, Section 4012) are willing to ensure the short term future of proprietary schools, private, for-profit schools, a $30 billion industry, with high default rates and low graduation rates. These private schools can earn 90 percent of their revenues from public funds and student grants.

The Republicans have added a bill rider, (HR 1, Section 4020), that prevents changing the structure of the US Joint Chiefs Command which will in turn prevent the $240 million savings Defense Secretary Gates recommends.

And in its plan announced today by Rep. Paul Ryan to create a private voucher payment system direct to insurance carriers, what they call a “choice-based cost control program,” beneficiaries will pay more for the same level of service

An over-arching fact of Republican budget cutting is that it often means cutting programs by transferring public revenues to private hands. These public transfers by legislative action are a re-distribution of wealth. They are part of an agenda to put the public treasury into corporate hands.The prize is the $2.6 trillion social security trust fund.

The focus of many of the Republican budget cuts also have as a consequence important political changes. Many of the EPA cuts suspend approved regulatory and monitoring activities. Under the cry of budget cuts, Republicans are leveraging a broad, aggressive, invisible agenda that targets and resets woman rights, low income services, middle class wage and benefit protections, worker safety protections, environmental protections, and expands the right of legislatures, state and federal, to exercise command and control. Under the guise of reducing the deficit, Republicans are changing the air we breathe, the services we receive, the safety of our travel, with an open handed contempt for the crystal stair of progress.

Finally, a word about “job-crushing” corporate taxes–paid by the consumer in the popular wisdom. Like the urban legend of the Tommy Hilfiger dis of Oprah, it is simply not true by evidence and logic. Despite paying no taxes on a global profit of $14.1 billion–5.1 billion in the US–and having a tax credit for $3.1 billion, GE has reduced its American work force by 20 percent since 2002. GE is not the exception. Other companies paying no taxes have down sized jobs.

The logic of coupling tax rates to job loses or as pass throughs also has a major flaw. It links false causes. Individual taxes are paid on income and reduce personal discretionary spending. Personal income is taxed as total income. But corporate taxes are paid on profits, on net income, not total income. Profit is what’s left after all expenses have been covered. Income, earned by a worker for his or her labor, and profit, earned by a business after labor and capital expenses, are two different things. It is impossible for taxes on profit to raise prices or inhibit jobs because it is impossible to determine what the profit will be at the point of sale or payment, given all of the variables of costs that go into rent. It’s impossible to tell before what will be left after. It often takes years for corporations to figure their liability.

None of this stops conservative writers in the Atlantic and elsewhere from arguing that nobody pays their fair share; over half of US workers pay no tax, stats are skewed because taxes are often deferred. But what’s fair? Do two wrongs make the same behavior the right choice? Are the loopholes the result of vigorous, special interest lobbying?

For some writers, “obsessed” characterizes those who feel corporations should pay more of their profit for the common good—the roads that transport their goods, the education provided their workers, or at least a contribution equal to the money they spend to influence public policy.VV Other writers blame envy and hate on the demand for higher taxes without a comment on the issue of fairness and resources

In 2005, the effective US corporate rate was 3.1 percent.

Remember, Pope Paul XXIII declared every person can make up their own mind.

  1. what happened to you guy? No nothing from you? You decided to ditch me or what?

    Hope you’re life’s ok? Bit weird here – what with wars going on etc

    You going to drop me a line or what? I take it you went off the idea of uk?

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