brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Lower Taxes Nothing More Than Trickle Up Economics

The focus of business isn’t to make jobs. The focus of business is to make money. If a business owner is given a tax break, they don’t automatically start looking around to hire anyone. They will use that money for their own benefit. The only time a business makes a job is when it becomes necessary to fulfill a need. It’s been said that American businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash and are unwilling to spend it because there’s too much uncertainty in the business environment. Such thinking is hogwash. Businesses that are doing well will shed jobs like so much dead skin in order to make even more money and to become a leaner and meaner money making operation. Captains of industries rarely say something like, “Hey, we’re making so much money, let’s see if we can make a few more jobs so we can do something to put a stop to all of this surplus profit.”

Companies make jobs only as an absolute necessity. A company will do almost anything to keep from bringing a new employee onboard. Company managers will watch an employee walk out the door never to come back, turn to the remaining employees and tell them that they have to pick up the slack, and they do it. A company will force employees to work longer hours if necessary, sometimes without so much as a thank you let alone something resembling wage compensation. And people will do it. A company would rather delay a release or let its supplies run short before it would let somebody get on its payroll. And with the advent of consulting and temporary workers a company never has to hire a permanent person again. A company would rather ship a job overseas than hire a worker right here in the states. Companies will make out like bandits for the sake of profit and not a single job will be generated in the process.

So it continues to baffle me how some people still claim that in order to make jobs we have to let business owners make more money. There is no correlation to tax cuts and job growth. It is an unsubstantiated myth. When President George Bush, Jr. took over the White House, one of the first things he did was to drop taxes under the pretense that the tax surplus that his predecessor, President Bill Clinton, left him meant that America was taxed too much and that we could stimulate the economy if we could give people back more of their hard earned money. The economy was stimulated alright, stimulated to shed jobs as companies used any excuse necessary to justify the laying off of workers. And ten years later what’s the remedy for getting things back on track? More tax cuts that benefit the upper echelon of the income earners.

The other piece of this puzzle that simply doesn’t fit is the call to curb spending. Too many people are making the suggestion that government needs to cutback or either stops outright the funding of education and other social programs. Who needs schools when there are no jobs, right? Instead of preparing the American worker for better jobs in the future, we’d rather keep the population stuck in a rut that will be even harder to climb out of. And when the average American worker has no job, no way to pay for an education, and unable to get help from social service agencies with diminished pools of resources, we set ourselves up for a dismal future of people who have and people who have not.

What truly confounds me is the number of people who are just getting by on the crappy side of this divide who actually think that letting the haves have more is a good idea while having a social net for the rest of us is somehow anti-American and goes against the principles of what this country stands for. There are people who are just a corporate manager’s decision away from being laid off , living check to check, teetering on the edge of financial ruin arguing in support of the kind of policies that will make it more difficult for them to recover when they suffer an unexpected turn of events outside their control. There are people who are actually arguing against a social safety net under the misguided perception that it’s better for us individually to fail completely and miserably than it is for us to work together to assure each other that we have each other’s back.

A social safety net based on capitalism where the individual makes an arrangement with an insurance company for help when it’s needed is totally acceptable as long as the individual has the financial resources to afford such a contract and the insurance company doesn’t employ some convoluted loophole to justify the denial of a claim in order to protect profits, everything’s all good. But the moment someone makes the suggestion that we as a people, in the form of our government, come together and say that each and every individual should have a safety net regardless of our level of income and no one makes a dime off of someone else’s unfortunate circumstance, there’s a problem. The whole foundation of what makes us America is at risk.

In the end, I guess it all depends on perspective. The first few words of the Constitution are “We the People of the Untied States” not “We the People with money of the United States”. I know some people like to think that having social programs at the federal level is going to ruin the country. I know people like to think that there will be people who will abuse the system and/or take advantage of social programs for personal gain. But people will seek advantage and cheat the system in a bingo game. That doesn’t mean we need to threaten bingo with its extinction. Bingo does a lot of good things for a lot of people. So do a lot of social programs.

And to keep those social programs functioning we need some kind of way to pay for them. One of those ways we get the money to pay for social programs is with taxes. The taxes that everyone pays help to make sure that everyone has the safety net, not just the ones who can pay for their own individual safety net with their savings from a tax cut. And when everyone shares confidence in the safety net, everyone benefits, not just the ones who can buy their net with the spare change in their pocket. The way some people tell the story, if only we changed our environment so that the people and businesses at the top of our financial pyramids had more change in their pockets, they’d use that money to help the rest of us. But if reality is any indication that is the very last thing they’d do. This form of trickle down economic theory simply doesn’t work and is nothing more than a cover for a form of economics designed to concentrate more of the wealth into the hands of a few.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts

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