Monday, April 18, 2011

Brother, can you spare a little airtime for some reality?

Local media outlet KOMO news has always been Tea Partyish (even when there was no “Tea Party”), paranoia-inducing, anti-government, pro-gun, pro-law enforcement, claims to be “pro-consumer” but is predictably anti-labor; you’d think that the world was just one big evil place with a personal grudge against you, if you are the paranoid, conspiracy theory type. The other day it attacked the IRS for allegedly hassling a person who claimed to have paid her back taxes, but who also never said that she kept a receipt or a check stub, which seems rather illiterate. Every day I see ads for lawyers who tell delinquent tax payers that they will end the “harassing” phone calls and save them pennies on the dollar. I am frankly sick unto to death of people who don’t pay their taxes. It makes no sense to me that a person who does not have dependents doesn’t put a “0” in the exception box; doing so will insure not only that your taxes will be paid, but you will probably end-up with a little money saved up in the form of a refund. It’s just common sense. And while KOMO is making the IRS look like the “bad guy,” hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes is going uncollected because of fraudsters and anti-government fanatics; why doesn’t KOMO expose them—well, I’ve already intimated at the reasons. Tax cheats are part of the real crime with education and health care funding going down the tubes. This is why no one should watch or listen to KOMO news or its radio station (I occasionally listen just so you have someone to set you the straight). KOMO’s management wants to gloss your eyes over the true crimes being committed in this country. They’ll tackle the small-time scammer, but in regard to the big-time corporate and Wall Street scammers, their cowards.

Not that KIRO on the FM dial is much better. They can’t afford full-time paranoia-inducers, so they import them from places like right-wing CNBC. There was one talking head Saturday afternoon, who allowed one of those “birthers” to blabber on about the sinister things Obama was allegedly paying millions of dollars to hide from the public. The caller was cut-off after awhile, but this is just more proof about the mentality of the people who listen to right-wing talk. The CNBC guy went on about the flat tax, Ron Paul (he and his son of whom are remarkably ignorant of American history) and that old chestnut “spend less and grow the economy” which is good in theory to the simple-minded, ignoring the reality that through-out American history, adhering strictly to that theory has meant more frequent boom and bust periods (although for a majority of Americans it was always more “bust” than “boom”). That was OK for robber barons, but not so good for people making slave wages in factories and sweat shops. You simply cannot get these right-wing talking heads to get down to specifics; they don’t do so because only a few will benefit from their propaganda being implemented, and many will be hurt. As for the flat tax theory, again, how often must we be gulled by this insane, unfair, unjust talk? States that are dependent on their “flat tax,” the sales tax which is not only regressive and hurts the consumers who actually are responsible for keeping the economy moving, it also allows the wealthy to skirt their responsibilities to maintain a civil society in which allowed them to prosper enormously in the first place. A federal revenue strain based on a flat tax of 15 percent with no deductions or credits which the right-wing likes so much, would require a person making a slave-wage of $20,000 pay $3,000 in federal income taxes. Throw in another $1,500 for Social Security and Medicare taxes—and from Washington, state taxes that eat-up 18 percent of that person’s of income (particularly from that regressive sales tax)—we’re talking over $8,000 dollars before rent, transportation, utility and food. There ain’t much left. No one making over $250,000—let alone $25 million—has that problem, unless they’ve created it themselves by their own excessive greed.

Studies have shown that there is little correlation between the level of marginal tax rates on the wealthy and the rate of economic growth; the high marginal tax rates of the pre-Reagan era actually showed higher growth rates than the post-Reagan lowered tax rates, probably because the anti-tax arguments fails to take into account that most of that tax money is recycled into the economy, either through government jobs, jobs created from government funding, and purchases. This isn’t stealing from one to give to another. People in the lower income brackets actually spend their money on consumer items that maintain the economy; the rich just hide their extra cash. This ultimately about malfeasance and greed. Businesses lay-off people so that they can have more for themselves. Middle and lower income people pay a higher percentage of their income on consumer goods that the well-off; by “redistributing” personal largesse to maintain employment helps the economy, and at the same time lowers government spending on social programs. But the theology of the right simply does not agree: Greed is “good.” Henry Ford was no friend of labor, but he was otherwise a model for what businessmen should stride for: make sure that his workers made enough money that they could afford to buy the automobiles they helped make. Today, that is just another fantasy from a different time.

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