Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Their Master's Voice

Cathy McMorris Rodgers gave the weekly Republican address over the weekend in which she blames President Obama and the Democratic members of Congress for our country's continued unemployment numbers.

She insists "...there can be no increase in the national debt limit unless it is accompanied by serious spending cuts and reforms. To be truly serious, these cuts should exceed the amount by which President Obama wants the debt limit increased. And there can be no job-crushing tax hikes on families and small businesses."

Got that? "To be truly serious." Seriously?

When Congress allows our country to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq and does not fund it, our country goes into debt. Wear as many flag pins as you want, the debt does not go away.

She mentions that in a statement signed by 150 economists (PDF) agree with Republicans. The statement doesn't include a single economic argument--it's a rehash of political talking points. (One wonders that if the Republican party is so enamored with 150 economists, how can they so easily dismiss the overwhelming majority of scientists warning us about climate change. Science is so hard.)

McMorris Rodgers tells her audience to go to jobs.gop.gov and see the Republican plan for creating jobs. So I did. It's an easy read. Eight pages of large print (PDF).

They say the first problem is burdensome regulations. They specifically mention actions they've taken in this area: the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases, the FCC's net neutrality proposal, and pesticide regulations. Despite overwhelming evidence supporting mankind's contribution to climate change, the importance of impartial and free access to information on the Internet, and that pesticides are poisonous to people and animals, Republicans feel this is unnecessarily burdensome.

Next is tax reform. The plan addresses how unfair it is that American corporations who make a profit overseas and then are taxed when they bring those profits into the country. There's no mention of the fact that many American corporations place their corporate headquarters outside the country for the purpose of avoiding taxes in the first place.

The next problem is the unsigned trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Seriously? What are we going to export to those countries besides military arms? We don't make much else.

Patent backlogs are next, specifically that the current system of filing, challenging, and litigating patents can also lead to costly delays. That's true regardless of a backlog.

The visa system for highly skilled workers. How about educating our own instead of relying on cheaper imports. Oh, wait, that's cars isn't it?

The FDA product approval process is next on the list. Somehow renewing the prescription drug user fee program and the medical device user fee program is all it takes. This is something I'm not familiar with so I'm going to do some homework on it. But I don't see much of a tie in to job creation.

Next we have rising energy costs. Drill, baby, drill!

And last of all, pay down our national debt. But the trick behind doing this is to only cut spending and not raise taxes.

There's very little in the way of job creation here. It's more for supporting unfettered corporations.

Here's the deal. Even though taxes are at an all time low since 1952 and there's a greater concentration of wealth at the top than a hundred years ago, those wealthy people and corporations are entitled to keep all of their money. History has shown that concentrated wealth benefits those with wealth. And concentrated power benefits those with power. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her fellow Republicans can't argue with that.


Spokane Al said...

Hank, when the top 25% earners pay 86% of the income taxes and 47% pay nothing, how much should those top earners pay to make things right?

Hank Greer said...

Al, I appreciate you bringing up the percentages of people who do and don't pay federal income taxes because it helps me make my case.

Now the raw percentages do not give us the reasons why anyone in a given income category doesn't pay federal income taxes. Income tax not only raises federal revenue but it also rewards people for government-favored behavior in the form of child care credit, higher education credits, charitable giving, home ownership, etc. There is earned income credit for people who work and have low wages. (I doubt the government favors low wages because that does reduce the available income for tax purposes, but it is unreasonable to expect people to pay federal income tax when they hardly earn enough money to live on.)

With income becoming more concentrated at the top of the spectrum--income inequality has increased dramatically since the 1970's--lower income people have less of a federal income tax burden because the government is taking into account they are making less, working while they have children, trying to put kids through college, etc. The fact that top earners pay the most tax while the lower wage earners pay less is not indicative of cheating or freeloading on the part of the low wage earners. It just shows you where the money is. And if that's where the money is then that's where you have to tax it.