I read an op-ed this morning by Charles Blow who perfectly described today’s Republican Party, “Compassion-Free Conservatism.” In the past I have written on the GOP’s plan of turning government programs like Medicare and Social Security over to private companies or just ending them all together like Medicaid (although they won’t come out and say it), and they call it “Starve the Beast.”
This is part of the modern doctrine of a compassion-free conservatism that’s using the fog of the fiscal crisis to push a program of perverse wealth inequality as sound economic policy: The only way to jump-start the economy is to slash taxes on the wealthy and on companies; the only way to compensate for the deficits that those tax cuts exacerbate is to slash benefits to the poor and vulnerable. It would be comical if it weren’t so callous.
Now that the budgets, both state and national, have been pushed to the brink caused by our last decade of Bush and Republican rule (but began under Reagan in the 80s), they have put themselves in a position to end all of these programs that help sustain and create lower and middle classes.
At the same time, they are promoting the idea that the only way to do this is to implement even deeper tax cuts for the wealthy and continue corporate tax cuts and tax subsidies that are funded by our tax dollars.
First, the tax burden of American companies is lower than that of other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, as economist Bruce Bartlett pointed out this week. Also, a report issued on Wednesday by Citizens for Tax Justice looked at 12 Fortune 500 companies from 2008-10 and found that on $171 billion in profits earned, their effective tax rate was negative-1.5 percent because of corporate loopholes, shelters and special tax breaks.
And, as Time magazine reported in its June 6 issue, In the 18 months since the Great Recession, which ended in June 2009, U.S. annualized corporate profits rose 42 percent, to a record $1.68 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Corporations aren’t hurting. They’re hoarding.
This is not what America is all about and is not the values this country was founded on. Our country does not exist to be used by corporations, and American middle and lower classes are not here to serve them for their benefit.