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Righteously right

Dear Editor:

Tax shibboleths, the “fiscal cliff” and you. Interested?

Tax shibboleths. If you give money (tax breaks) to the rich and corporations, they’ll create jobs. Fact: the 1 percent put the vast majority of their wealth into stocks (investments) or send it overseas for tax avoidance (Mitt). But their kids will … Really? When’s the last time you heard of a “trust fund baby” starting a company?

Corporations? Let’s look at the actual outcomes. A New York Times investigation into the incentives that governments offer businesses has found that states, cities and counties are giving up more than $80 billion a year to attract or keep the companies and the jobs that they provide. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains. But the cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they track how many jobs are created. Not to mention, few of them are incorporated in the U.S. (give-away tax shelter).

What is true about taxes pre-fiscal cliff? The combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of Americans’ income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980. Oooh, but combining new taxes with spending cuts to balance the budget is “bad.” Question: When expenses go up has anyone ever asked for a raise?

The fiscal cliff is a legal requirement set by Congress to resolve its “unsolvable” problems in managing the country. If we go off the cliff, the outcome will be deep and very nasty — most likely a national depression. We look like Greece, with a high probability that we lose the ability to defend ourselves. Guess who thinks it will be “tough but necessary?” Yup, the Tea Party, the big defense spending devotees in Congress.

Guess whose retirement income and health coverage isn’t affected by the fiscal cliff? Congress. I can hear Rep. Boehner’s shadow Norquist now: Sometimes you just have to beat someone to death to save them. No one told them the 2012 election is over.

And you, make that us? We’d rather be right than find a solution. First, the budget problem isn’t a case of “Big Government” vs. the individual; that’s a false flag, but a separate legitimate discussion. The cliff is about national survival, period. If you want a budget (tax and spending) solution, then tell your congresspersons to immediately find an answer — read compromise — before we all find our ponderous righteously-right patootie’s eating gruel, wearing rags and listening to Rush on our Chinese radios in Tea Party Nirvana.

Dave Blake

This story was posted on December 6, 2012.