Corruption, Bribes and Tax Cuts

What’s the difference between graft, corruption, bribes and the Republican demand for tax cuts for the wealthiest people? The wealthiest folk already have more money than they know what to do with. That’s why they are investing their money in bonds, money market funds, and treasury bonds. Essentially they are parking their money because investments don’t look attractive. Why don’t investments look attractive? Because they don’t see enough BUYERS!

So the Republicans claim that they’re demanding tax cuts for the wealthiest to stimulate the economy. But that is completely bogus. It’s part payoff to their friends and part fig leaf for a completely unpatriotic effort to prevent the Obama Administration from digging us out of the depression.

Actually during the housing boom, the Bush Administration knew that tax cuts weren’t doing anything valuable for the economy. It was all going into their mansions. But they hollered for tax cuts anyway. This is completely hypocritical and they should be plastered for it.

The Obama Administration not only has to fight the depression Bush left us with, it also has to fight obstructionists insisting on their handouts to wealthy friends, obstructionists playing guerilla tactics to prevent the economy from getting better.

The Roberts Court of course does its part to help. The decision to allow corporations to spend unlimited treasury funds in the elections licenses another form of this bribery. What’s a few million in electioneering dollars if it is worth billions in changed regulations or blocked statutes that might protect people from poisonous and defective products, fraudulent sales pitches or environmental disasters. Yet that is the economics of corporate political ads. The people they support will owe them their elections and pay them back in regulations blocked and statutes rewritten. How about an $8 million investment in politics to save a $458 million timber subsidy – nearly a 6,000% return! Or $1.2 million in campaign expenditures for a patent extension worth $1 billion, an 83000% return! The potential returns from politics are enormous. As shown by the two BILLION dollars the pharmaceutical industry spends on lobbying alone, followed by such industries as insurance, utilities, oil and gas, etc.

There is a reason why Warren Buffett told us that he pays less on his last dollar of income than his secretary. In fact she pays almost three times as much. And the people who made that possible owed it to the rich folk that had the clout, the money, to get the deductions Buffett’s secretary and millions like her couldn’t.

Of course getting all these paybacks from dollars spent on politics is perfectly legal. But morally and for the health of the American economy it’s bribery – payments made for favors the system should not be providing.

Frankly I’m tired of this unpatriotic political hypocrisy. The change we voted for in 2008 needs to be completed with a rout of the obstructionists in 2010.

This commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, September 14, 2010.

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