For many years, Republicans have accused Democrats of “class warfare” and “wealth redistribution.” They’re correct, of course. But they fail to mention that they are the ones responsible. And that the wealth is being redistributed to the wealthiest 2% of our population.
Ever since Ronald Reagan began pushing economic policies based on the “trickle-down theory,” our government has “reformed” (eliminated) welfare for the poor and increased welfare for large corporations and the wealthy.
For example, under Republican leadership, Arizona has reduced corporate taxes 15 years in a row. As a result, the percentage of state revenue from corporate taxes has dropped 35% to 9%. Is there really any question why the state is facing a deficit of more than $1 billion in 2011? Not even increased sales taxes and the already draconian cuts in education, state parks and health care for the poor can make up the deficit. And Arizona is not alone.
For many years, federal, state and local governments have bowed at the altar of big business thanks to Republicans and their allies.
Due to their political leverage, large corporations are given many advantages over their smaller rivals and individuals. The federal government has allowed multi-national corporations to avoid taxes by locating a post office box off-shore. These same corporations have been rewarded for sending jobs off-shore, as well. State governments provide large “loans” and tax incentives to encourage corporations to open facilities in their states. And city governments provide Tax Increment Financing (another term for property tax avoidance) to encourage development within their cities.
Corporate farm operations have received $billions in subsidies while family farms have been allowed to go bankrupt. Large oil companies and mining operations are given subsidies to deface our land and pollute our air and water.
And the best example of all is the recent melt-down and ensuing bailout of our largest financial institutions. In the ’90s, Republicans stripped away most financial regulations allowing these institutions to gamble with our money. When the institutions failed, taxpayers were forced to loan them $billions to avoid a devastating depression while the gamblers paid themselves $billions in bonuses.And how did Republicans address the situation? Why, of course, they fought against any form of increased regulation by Democrats!
Now Republicans are determined to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, despite the fact that they’ll add more than $4 trillion to our national debt over the next 10 years! They even want to permanently extend tax cuts for millionaires that will add more than $700 billion to our deficit over 10 years. Out of the other side of their mouths, they continue to talk about reducing our growing deficit.
And how do they propose to reduce the deficit they created? Do they want to eliminate tax loopholes that encourage large corporations to export jobs and avoid taxes? Do they want to cut our bloated military budget? Do they want to go after the abuses of military contractors?
Of course not.
They want to end unemployment benefits, reduce Social Security, reduce Medicare, reduce the Veteran’s Administration, eliminate Medicaid (health care access for the poor) and create a national sales tax which will further increase the tax burden on the poor and the middle class. They may succeed.
As long as Democrats remain dispirited, and independents vote against their own self-interest as they did this year, Republicans and their corporate masters will continue to extract money from working people. To ensure that, they can rely on a conservative-controlled Supreme Court that equates corporations to people, and allows corporations to spend tens of millions of dollars on behalf of Republican candidates.