Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Americans Are Not Stupid

Go ahead, send a picture of a tea bag to the President on April 1, 2009, but include a letter that states what you think about how our taxes are generated and used.
Some people take from others because of irrational fears about there not being enough to go around. It can be argued whether that is a true definition of greed, but the results of being greedy or fearful ends up being the same. The people at the top of major corporations are an arrogant and greedy bunch. The regular working people who have good ideas within those companies are required to accept a pittance for "selling" them to the corporations. So, without any justified reward the workers keep their best ideas to themselves and continue to endlessly complain about the corruption, greed, and mismanagement at the top. Having worked for the largest corporation, many tiny companies, and been self-employed for over 30 years I know who gets what and when in each of those situations. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the auto manufacturer company's top executives will give up much to get the bail-out money from the Federal government. Most of the money will come out of the paychecks from those on the lines and staff personnel—unimportant people who just do the work.
The arrogance of egotism has always been and remains a large part of our tax system, too. How can the government prevent those who used their seemingly ever present poor judgment to lose so much money held in 401Ks from getting super incomes and bonuses when they have lawyers to protect them? Our government needs to look at it in an entirely different way. The middle income tax-payers need not always be the group losing as the process of exercising a "free-market" continues. By making everyone, including corporations and companies, pay taxes on the gross rather than the net there could be trillions of more dollars going into the tax funds, and those taxes would be paid on an equal basis. It is not possible for equality to occur as long as there are so many hidden loop-holes only known about or remotely available to the wealthy. Recently it has been clearly shown that only a few reap the rewards—and continue to do so no matter how big the gains or the losses might be. But don't get lost in the emotionalism in letting those excessive bonuses and salaries beome yet another means of keeping people angry and unable to think clearly about the fact that the system is simply unequal and therefore unworkable.
Economists refuse to look at a flat rate tax because it's too simple. Complexity is preferred as long as real human conditions are not part of the analysis. Citing the issue of the poor not being taken care of is a lame excuse because it's easy enough to set a bar where zero tax is part of the rules. Or, if there is some concern that those living on the edge of poverty are "getting a free ride" then use a sliding scale. However, the scale must be: less paid by those at the bottom and more paid by those at the top, and without any loop-holes or write-offs being involved. Maybe it's okay to let major corporations spend their money on lobbyists and dubious advertising as long as none of it is tax deductible.
Rather than taxing the middle-class again to maintain the status quo, let's go about providing free universal health care, pure water, clean air, education, housing, and food that still truly offers incentives to get to work by including every person, company, and corporation in the tax system equally.
The populist vote got Obama the Presidency. It can also clear away those actions being taken by the greedy and fearful in power, but only when courage and honesty are the foundations of the current politics. The business of government could be about creating equality for all. But as long as the powerful are allowed to use their unequally taxed wealth to brain-wash an over-worked and under-educated population while deflecting what is really going on there is no free-market, only self-serving fraud.
May Sinclair, PhD
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