While nearly everyone takes advantage of the more than $1 trillion in tax preferences that litter the tax code, the highest income households do best—by far—even though they are still likely paying some tax after taking those deductions and exclusions.
…by most other measures, high-income households benefit far more from tax expenditures than those at the bottom. On average, the lowest earners save enough in taxes to buy gas for three months. The highest? They save almost enough to buy three $500,000 Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Roadsters (one for workdays, one for weekends, and one for truly special occasions such as tax day).
The issue of the percentage of households who pay no taxes will undoubtedly continue to play a role in the histrionics currently en vogue with the current crop of GOP hopefuls regardless of the misleading connotations. It seems that economic principles, like science, are a bit confusing and threatening to the Tea Party and their champions in the current crop of GOP presidential contenders. The Tea Party ideology of no taxes, no science, no education in economic theory (or anything that smacks of bad-magic or voodoo) where stupidity and obedience are enforced rules seems much more akin to the Khmer Rouge era of Cambodia than anything remotely related to colonial America.
The current system provides no incentive to build companies and systems that can stand the test of time, companies built around valuable and educated workers who have a stake in the success of the company, community, and society. We’ve built a system that’s tottering on the edge of terminal instability, and those calling for still lower taxes are likely to knock out the last supports holding up the floor.
As it turns out, Ronald Reagan really did stage a second American revolution; a revolution that reversed the original. Because removing any pressure on income at the very top removed the only obstacle to what we have today—a system that inches ever closer to feudalism.
According to an article in NPR’s “The Two Way”, the investigations into safety and health at the mines owned and operated by Massey Energy have turned up some alarming irregularities:
Federal mine safety regulators have discovered false reporting of accidents and injuries at two West Virginia coal mines once owned by Massey Energy, which also owned the mine hit by a deadly explosion last year.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the Randolph and Justice No. 1 mines in Boone County, W. Va., inaccurately reported or neglected to report 24 injuries last year that resulted in 1,125 lost days of work.
After reading the article I was once again struck by the incredible injustice being perpetrated by those championing the deregulation of businesses in order to create jobs. Not only are the jobs not being created, but the jobs that do exist are becoming more fragile or dangerous depending on the industry. In this case, the owners of Massey Energy and indeed other mining enterprises (Peabody Energy, etc.) have routinely placed profits well above the welfare of their workforce. Their methods are not only criminally greedy, they are counter-productive to the industry and the economy on the whole.
If the money saved/reaped from safety cuts and labor infringements were invested back into the companies, there would be an ultimately healthier workforce entering the mines. The feeling that a job in the mines “may be dangerous and lead to an early grave, but it is better than having no job” has replaced the concept of making a living and creating a future for generations to come. A re-investment in newer mining technologies and safety measures will create positive benefits for the output from the mines as well as the communities that live via the jobs they offer. There are two mutually corrupting elements that are responsible for keeping the miners a downtrodden and short-lived breed: Corporate greed and politically motivated anti-regulatory policies.
I’ve yet to see how deregulation helps create jobs while protecting workers and the environment we live in.
The argument that not paying a top performing employee their bonus because they might defect to a competitor seems so ludicrous when the concept is that you should only be able to give bonuses if the company is doing well.
"We are ruining the economy with our mistakes and risky ventures, so here is your $3M bonus. Keep up the good work and I’ll catch you at Bob’s party on Saturday!" In theory, a foreign company could buy out all these super employees and create a financial institution almost divine in its talent, and leave our banks with only the employees who don’t perform well.
If the government started closing loopholes and taking a stand we could see a possible reclamation of funds from more than the few healthy institutions who paid back their loans. The banks seem to think that they can do poorly, take insane risks with our money and then continue to pay out multi-million dollar bonuses without serious repercussions. Imagine if the military decided to start shooting people in foreign countries because they are in charge of most of our nations weapons…
Regardless of who (the individual) is in charge of things, the only way to rise up from the middle grounds of mediocrity is to band together and take back the power taken from us by law makers, big business and politicians.
The only reason lawyers, companies, or institutions can get away with treating the average working class citizen like stupid, ignorant children is because we let them control how the system runs. The cogs were put in place by lawyers who have graduated to become judges and politicians and we cower under the giant hands of society’s clock as they point to our doom or salvation.
How can we break the shackles and empower the multitudes? Step one should be identifying the people who do their job well and treat others with respect and begin a mass exodus away from those people and establishments who either offer sub-standard services or are unworthy of our patronage.
If enough people avoid a single store or business, it will not be long before the doors close and the field is narrowed making the gene pool of the business world a little less uncertain. It can be done, but we need to start somewhere first…