About 2009, almost immediately after President Obama was elected, the CEOs and board of directors of large corporations (and large shareholders) who control our political and economic system in America were being called "job creators" by the Republican party and the people at Fox News.
A hedge fund manager can incorporate himself and have legal protections such as limited liability, call himself a small business, join the Chamber of Commerce, not hire a single person, earn himself millions of dollars a year, keep half his money in a foreign bank account to avoid paying income taxes, and only pay 15% in capital gains taxes on the other half -- but he would still be called a "job creator" by the Republican party and Fox News.
By the Republican's definition, a drug kingpin selling cocaine to school kids, or someone who sells guns to these drug dealers, or someone selling children into the sex slave industry, could also be called a "job creator" (anyone earning a million dollars or more a year.) But the Republicans don't want to raise their taxes.
For the past year (and all throughout the history of mankind) there has been a lot of discussion about income inequality. In 1955, when the corporate and capital gains tax rates were much higher than they are today, we called our system of economic government "capitalism".
Now many (the 99%) are calling it "Reverse Robin Hood economics", while the Republicans are calling it "socialism" ever since the Democrats had been usually sympathetic towards the disenfranchised, the elderly, the sick, and the poor. The Republicans have generally thought of this demographic cross-section of our population as being nothing but a "drag on our economy", because these citizens were not (or no longer are) a "productive part of our society".
Now that our tax rates are already historically low in 2012, and when there's mention of raising them back, just a little, to help pay off our national debt and to keep our annual budget in check, the "job creators" and Republicans are calling this "socialism" and waging "class warfare" -- and accusing Obama off running an "entitlement society" and wanting "bigger government", and calling him a "food stamp king".
The "job creators", Fox News, and the Republicans have been bitterly complaining that taxes are "too high", and that Obama is dividing the nation with class war; when it truth, it's been the Republicans. The first person you see pointing the finger of accusation, is usually the guilty party attempting to deflect blame.
The extreme far right wing adheres to the belief that their should be no taxes or government...to "starve the beast". Or as Grover Norquist says, "I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
In 1955 (when we really did have high taxes) we had a population of only 164 million people. In 2012 we have a population of 312 million (almost double, so we have a much "bigger government"); but we also have much lower tax rates too, especially in proportion to our population, defense spending, and GDP.
Corporations didn't amass and hoard $2.2 trillion overseas because they were overtaxed. The salaries of CEOs didn't go up 275% over the last 30 years because their corporations were over-taxed. The stock prices didn't double over the last 3 years because companies were over-taxed. The wealthiest among us didn't double their net worth over the last 10 years because they were over-taxed.
And Obama didn't single-handedly create an "entitlement society". America has been an "entitlement society" since 1937 when the first person to receive Social Security was a man named Ernest Ackerman. Obama only signed appropriation bills to extend unemployment benefits and food stamps for those who lost their jobs since 2008 due to decades of Republican economic policies, such as the deregulation of the banking industry and "free" trade agreements.
"Socialism" is a political term applied to an economic system in which property is held in common and not individually, and a government is ruled by a dictator. In America we have property rights, civil rights, and the Bill of Rights -- and we can own land and hold elections for a representative form of government. Republicans know full well that Obama is not a socialist; he's just a Democrat.
Just because someone is rich doesn't make them an exceptional "job creator" (and the ultra-wealthy shouldn't be praised at the alter like Fox News tends to do). How many jobs do Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton provide? In reality, the biggest job creators are medium-sized businesses with between 250 and 1,000 workers. Firms of this size have typically survived the startup phase, and they tend to grow more quickly.
What do we have in 2012? Do we still have "capitalism", or something else....like "Reverse Robin Hood economics"? Reverse Robin Hood economics has also been around since the dawn of time.
A capitalistic economy is supposed to be a form of production and distribution, and the consumption of goods and services in a "supply and demand" economy -- but this has been called other names (exploitation, etc.). The word "free" is used a lot by the "job creators" because it has a primeval appeal to us, and carries a subliminal message.
In America, capitalism is called "free enterprise" -- to have the freedom of private business to organize and operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government, beyond what regulation was necessary to protect public interest -- and to keep the national economy in balance.
"Free trade" is a policy by which a government does not discriminate against imports or interfere with exports by applying tariffs (to imports) or subsidies (to exports). This should also include the export (outsourcing) of labor.
"Free markets" are market economies based on supply and demand with little or no government control. The Republicans think a completely free market is an idealized form of a market economy, where buyers and sellers are allowed to transact freely (i.e. buy/sell/trade) based on a mutual agreement on price without state intervention in the form of any taxes, subsidies or regulations. But yet large corporations such as big oil and tobacco still get taxpayer subsidies...why?
"Free" is defined in the dictionary as not controlled by obligation or the will of another. But what is the ultimate end result with capitalism as opposed to feudalism? Especially when elected politicians, against the will of the people, continue a rigged tax policy favoring the most wealthy, giving tax dollars to successful and profitable businesses, and neglecting to honor social contracts in favor of the excesses and waste found in places like the defense industry?
In the 19th century, Karl Marx described feudalism as the economic situation coming before the rise of capitalism. For Marx, what defined feudalism was that the power of the ruling class (the aristocracy) rested on their control of arable land, leading to a class society based upon the exploitation of the peasants who farm these lands, typically under serfdom. They paid most of what they farmed as taxes to their king.
During the Industrial Age in America, we traded away our farms (arable land) and ranches for steady wages in the factories, mines, railroads, oil fields and offices.
We also began paying income taxes to our government/king. But most of our earnings went to the landowners (either in the form of rent to a landlord, or a mortgage payment to a bank). The rest of what we earned went to towards food, heat, and transportation. Corporations control all these necessities.
In a free country with a "free market" society, with "free enterprise" and "free trade", we went from being slaves to a king to being slaves to banks and corporations. We didn't get anything for free, but it sure sounded good.
In 1776 we declared ourselves to be free -- free from the exorbitant taxes on our tea, free from the king of England, free from the Bank of England, free to trade slaves and grow cotton, free to have "free trade", "free markets", and "free enterprise".
We traded a monarchy for a democracy (corporate plutocracy), and we traded the Bank of England for the Federal Reserve, and we traded the king for several hundred mini-dictators (President, Congress, and the Supreme Court). We traded away our slavery on the arable land to become slaves to our corporate and political bosses and the big banks.
Now we're free to fail for bad choices, or free to succeed and become rich if we work hard (and with God's blessings, good luck, and a lot of paying customers). But we're also free to be homeless if we fail, or die if we become sick, especially the weaker and poorest among us. That's why the rich live longer than most of us.
Many Republicans in 2012 don't believe in evolution, but they believe in Darwin's theory when it comes to our economics..."survival of the fittest". Self-sustaining people are entitled to healthcare, food, and shelter. The elderly, sick, and poor are not. To provide for their survival would make this country an "entitlement society", and would turn our economy of free enterprise into a socialist one.
The politicians believe it's OK to save the big banks (letting the small ones fail) and saving big corporations (letting small businesses fail), and letting people fail (but allowing for the wealthy like Donald Trump to have bankruptcy and limited liability).
But in America, in 2012, if a large corporation ships your job overseas or fails, the Republicans will bail them out, but they don't want to pay for unemployment benefits. If you become old or disabled, they don't want to pay for Social Security benefits. If you become sick, they don't want to pay for healthcare, Medicaid, or Medicaid. If you're poor, they don't want to pay for welfare or pay for food stamps. If you can't afford to send your kids to private school, they don't want to pay for public education.
But the Republicans, "job creators", and big businesses want low and middle income people to pay most of the taxes to provide them with the infrastructure they need to get their goods and services to market, and to provide them with the military spending to protect their assets from dictators (and kings) overseas, and to fund law enforcement and the justice system to protect them from us domestically.
For decades, since the middle-class peaked in the mid-70s, we have been slowly forced into austerity. Just in the one decade since the Bush tax cuts for the rich (capital gains) we've lost 52,000 factories to outsourcing, and saw our deficit skyrocket. In October of 2009 we had a reported 15.7 million Americans unemployed, and only 3 million (mostly low-paying) jobs created since that time. Low taxes didn't create jobs, just the opposite.
Now the Republicans don't want ANY capital gains or corporate taxes, but rather just cuts to programs that the poor, sick, and elderly rely on for their survival. Millions of people like myself, who worked hard for 35 years, but was laid off and now resorts to food stamps, have been marginalized and vilified by the Republicans as lazy freeloaders or worse.
50% of the U.S. work force now lives on or near poverty-level wages...but yet, they're expected to wave the Stars and Stripes and declare America an exceptional country, while proclaiming Republicans are the true patriots and corporations are real people -- because we have the greatest military force in human history, but also have 46 million people who rely on food stamps. Most households now rely on two incomes just to make ends meet. "Hail to capitalism and free trade", while we have a real unemployment rate nearer to 15%, while China's is below 5%.
The Republicans, who claim high taxes and lazy people are the reason for our economic ills, has been spear-heading the attack on the middle-class for decades. Their bosses (not the voters, but corporate campaign donors and lobbyists) have been forcing the 99% into austerity for decades with a rigged tax code and loopholes for the rich and famous. And it won't get any better soon.
The GOP says we must stop spending, that we have a "spending problem, not a revenue problem". They lie with a straight face, despite the data that suggests just the opposite. The rich and powerful have already seceded from our society, and we are left with nothing but "free markets" and a 30-year lie of "trickle-down economics". (And Republicans voters, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still believe their fearless GOP leaders!)
In truth, the Republicans, corporations, and "job creators" will just chew you up and spit you out when you become useless to them, and they no longer need you for anything. They will dump you like a cheap date after they've had their way with you. They won't even wish you well or call you to see how you're doing. They could care less...to them, you are history.
In a free country with a "free market" society, with "free enterprise" and "free trade", the Republicans, "job creators", and big businesses are free to amass untold fortunes, cheat on their taxes, and stay out of prison.
The rest of us, just like when we were peasant farmers 300 years ago, are still free to lose our jobs and our homes; but if we fail, we're not free to live on the streets, pitch a tent in the woods, or beg for change...it's illegal.
While we have a constitutional right to pursue happiness, it's doesn't necessarily mean we have a right to life, even if it's "life" that makes us happy. It would appear that the Republicans don't want anyone to "live free", depriving the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the disabled of their "entitlements". It would seem that the Republicans would prefer that they just die; while at the same time, preserving the entitlements and subsidies that the rich enjoy, but don't need.
Just like the state motto of New Hampshire*: In 2012 we can only "live free" if we can obtain a means of supporting ourselves for housing, heat, and food (without relying on "entitlements") -- "or die" if for whatever reason we can't find any work of any kind.
* In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Wooley v. Maynard that the State of New Hampshire could not prosecute motorists who chose to hide part or all of the motto. That ruling came about because George Maynard, a Jehovah's Witness, covered up "or die" from his plate. "By religious training and belief, I believe my 'government' - Jehovah's Kingdom - offers everlasting life. It would be contrary to that belief to give up my life for the state, even if it meant living in bondage."
My Related Posts:
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- The GOP Tax Plan - Ignorance, Insanity, or Greed?
- We have a Revenue Problem, Not A Spending Problem
- 280 Corporations are "Too Big to Tax"
- Trickle-Down Economics: The Cruel 30-Year Hoax
- You Pay Hidden Entitlements for the Rich
- Record Profits + Record Bonuses = Zero Jobs
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