Disturbing Truths About Our Government
By PAUL BUCHHEIT, COUNTERPUNCH
Not because the government does too much. But because it's done too little.
Consider a few disturbing truths:
-- We cry 'socialism!' at the mention of higher taxes, but we allow a
businessman to make enough money to pay the salaries of every police
officer, firefighter, and public school teacher in the city of Chicago.
-- The richest 1% had a big slice of the American income pie in 1980.
Since that time, they've cut a second piece of the same size for
themselves, and then a THIRD piece! Three times as much in 25 years. They
got this extra pie not from being good hard-working little boys, but from
tax cuts and deregulation.
-- As Howard Zinn argued, low-income people go to jail for thefts of a few
hundred dollars. The people who take BILLIONS from society by calling
their income "carried interest" instead of income are considered shrewd
-- And how about corporations, the driving force of a 'revitalized'
economy? Right now the 500 largest non-financial corporations are sitting
on $1.8 trillion in cash instead of investing in people. And they're not
paying much in taxes. The portion of federal revenue derived from
corporate income tax decreased from 33% in the 1950s to 12% in 2005.
Companies have saved billions by moving their headquarters to tax havens
such as Bermuda or the Cayman Islands. Business-backers claim that the
U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates among OECD countries, but
the U.S. is actually the fourth lowest among OECD countries in the
collection of corporate taxes as a percentage of GDP.
Tea Partiers, we should get mad together at government, because they've
done too little to correct these injustices. It is not in their own best
interests to raise taxes on the rich.
And we should get mad together at the mainstream media for not reporting
on the abuses of the small percentage of very wealthy people who make it
so hard on the rest of us.
Paul Buchheit teaches in the School for New Learning at DePaul University.
Belief is the death of intelligence--Robert Anton Wilson