I don’t understand how the Republican Party gets more than 1% of the vote. I dearly want to, but I don’t. I understand why people would want lower taxes, small government, and a strong economy… But the Republican Party doesn’t actually offer any of these, except for the millionaires, who get a lower tax rate.
The most aggravating thing is that the Republican Party has somehow convinced a lot of people that taxing the wealthy is bad for the economy. They have people thinking that if rich people pay taxes, they won’t produce jobs. How much evidence to the contrary can we ignore? Remember the booming 1950’s? From 1951 to 1963 the top marginal rate was 91%! Except when it was 92%! Chart here.
And remember the Clinton years? 39.6% and growth was groovy. Bush dropped it to 35%, the economy fell into the cess pool, and we are supposed to believe leaving it there will fix things? Meanwhile they do their best to kill Medicare to save money?
How does this happen?
There are extreme cases like GE, which pays NO taxes at all, has massive profits, and has exported a fifth of their US jobs overseas (I don’t recommend thinking about that for very long, even just the first two, or your head might explode) but beyond those egregious cases, the argument that letting the millionaires keep their money will help the economy just doesn’t hold up. I think it kind of assumes rich people and their businesses work like ethical individuals, that they’ll say “hey, I have an extra million bucks lying around, I’ll create a slew of jobs just to be nice.” They don’t. They will always want more money. Or maybe it’s the slightly more plausible “hey, I have an extra million bucks lying around, I’ll take a gamble on expanding my business now because of it.” Also no.
The craziest thing (and please correct me if I’m wrong about this, because I don’t understand how this farce can be supported with a straight face) is that the tax rate they’re fighting about is on personal income. It’s the personal income tax. That is, the profit they as individuals make. Not the company. Corporate profits are a whole different tax code, which is currently (shamefully) untouchable.
That money we are talking about taxing them on, is the money they made by NOT MAKING MORE JOBS. For crying out fucking loud!!! If they did what they are supposed to do, took massive corporate profits and reinvested them in the work force (paging Henry Ford) then they might not add that extra billion to their bank account. Assholes, man!
(Like LeVar Burton says, don’t take my word for it. Here’s a write-up by Mother Jones. Including, during the years when Bush’s tax cuts for the uber-wealthy were supposedly helping the economy: “Between 2002 and 2007, employment increased by less than 1 percent when the economy was supposed to be expanding. Employment growth barely kept pace with population growth. Between the end of 2001, when the country was in a recession, and the peak of the real estate bubble, er, economic expansion in 2007, the US economy performed worse than at any time since the end of World War II.”)
This is just millionaires wanting more money for…what? What are they ever going to spend that much money on? How many rounds of golf can one play? How many sports cars can you justify owning? It’s Nero’s Roman fucking empire for these people, and they are complaining about maybe having a slightly slimmer slice of hummingbird-tongue pie.
But anyway, that isn’t even what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to avoid anything remotely controversial, because here’s a reeeeally easy one. God where to start? The banking collapse? No, smaller.
You know how when you do anything involving money in the US you have to sign these giant crazy contracts that are written in fine print legal-speak and you don’t have any way of understanding them, but just have to trust that they are business as usual and fair? Credit card contracts, mortgage contracts, loan agreements?
You have to be a lawyer to understand them.
This is how the banks sold horrible investments to people (all that sub-prime loan stuff) without telling them really what they were investing in. They were a horrible idea, but only the people making money off them knew how much of a house of cards it all was. And guess what, rich people like getting richer, so they sold that junk to Ma and Pa, took their retirement, and then oops, collapse and bail out. Later Ma and Pa.
I went floating on an inner-tube through a cave complex in Belize that was once used in Mayan rituals and religion. (Stick with me, it’s a short detour.) Before we could do this, because the business was run by an American, we had to sign a giant waiver/agreement thing saying we wouldn’t sue them if we drowned. At least I think that’s what it said. It was pages of fine print, so I really have no idea if I actually legally converted to Satanism and made them my beneficiaries if I actually did drown.
I was there with a lawyer buddy, and I swear (I really hope I am remembering this correctly) that she said these contracts don’t actually hold up in court, because there is no realistic way you can expect a common person to actually understand what they are signing.
YES! I love that idea. They give you something unintelligible to sign, then everyone stands around and pretends it means jack shit that you signed it.
Soooo, coming back to the economic collapse because no one understood what they were signing, a brilliant women named Elizabeth Warren thought “hey wouldn’t it be great if we could let people actually know what they are signing, what the risks and rewards actually are?”
So she started working towards the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
According to her visit on The Daily Show 96% of Americans would like to understand what they are signing. (This begs the obvious question: who the fuck are the other 4%?!?)
Ninety-six percent. When have you ever heard of ninety-six percent of Americans agreeing on anything? This is so obviously a good idea it makes my teeth hurt.
So guess who’s blocking it. Republicans and a bunch of the really shitty Democrats. How blatantly can someone belong to corporate interests? They tried to stop it from even being formed in the first place, but people were paying enough attention that they failed and the CFPB, which I genuinely believe is essential to the future prosperity of the United States, was formed. Buuuut now They are trying to gut it, behind closed doors of course.
They are trying to make it toothless, to limit its powers, it’s oversight, or remove it’s funding entirely. Another one is “okay, but Warren can’t be in charge.” She is absolutely qualified, some corporate stooge is not. Now 44 Republicans have written a letter to Obama saying they will filibuster ANYONE who is proposed to lead the CFPB. Anyone!
How can this be?!? Who are these Republicans, and do their constituents understand what their “representatives” are doing? Did that 4% who likes signing unintelligible forms somehow manage to get 44 Senators to themselves?
Of course, the point of their letter is actually to avoid a public confirmation hearing, or opposing her openly, which would draw attention to her, which they don’t because (remember the number?) 96% of people support her plan. So the schemers say they’ll oppose anyone, so Obama has to appoint Warren himself during the Congressional recess, then they can attack her as his personal project, and undemocratic and blah blahdy fucking blah.
The point is, the Republican Party is opposing the will of 96% of the United States, in favor of the unimaginably wealthy special interests (Wall Street) who don’t want Americans to know what they are signing. How does this party exist?