At least for the moment the dismantling of our democracy and the complete takeover of the Federal government by the 1% has been stalled. But don’t for a minute think the struggle to control America is over. You only need to reflect on the Tea Party successes in the 2010 mid term elections. The Republican party, which is now dedicated to serving the super wealthy and powerful, is not going away. It will learn some lessons. It will “re brand” itself. It will massage its message.
Judging by the post election comments from Mitt Romney, Republican leaders, and a host of right wing talk radio and Fox types, Obama’s second term will be a continuation of the obstructionism and perpetuation of the Republican pro 1% policies of the past. Mitt, who has to qualify for the sorest loser in the last 100 years, is blaming the “takers” and “gifts” from Obama to his constituency for his defeat. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are already off and running to protect the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Donald Trump further marginalized himself as a serious human when he proposed a march on Washington and a revolution. Talk radio and Fox News types already are in full court press to undermine any momentum Obama may have gained from his re election. Texas generated a petition signed by 95,000 people proposing secession. Numerous hate groups chimed in with their disgusting views. Some of the milder Republicans still believe the rich are the job creators and Obama voters are the parasites.
The re election of Obama, the successes of candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Duckworth, Sherrod Brown, Heidi Heitman, Tim Cain, and a host of others who ran on a platform of an unwillingness to sacrifice the welfare of 99% of the voters for the benefit of 1% do offer some hope for the future. The question now becomes whether this next Congress and the President will stand up for general welfare of all Americans. The big test will be whether the push to compromise on the so called fiscal cliff, which is anything but that, will be yet another cave in to protect the wealthy and the large corporations.
Will Blue Dog Democrats will join the Republicans to defeat a legislative effort to rebalance the tax rates. Will parliamentary rules that the last Congress used to thwart the ability of Congress to act and the President to govern be revamped. Will the Senate rein in the abusive use of the filibuster rules. Will the Senate its parliamentary rule that allows one anonymous to prevent a bill from being considered? Republicans have taught us that they have no problem using parliamentarian gimmicks to obstruct the workings of government. We will get a glimpse of the future by watching whether the Democratic majority in the Senate stands up to obstruction and does away with the many byzantine rules.
The Republicans have spent three decades refining their slogans and redistributing wealth. They have succeeded in creating myths. It would be refreshing to hear more elected Democrats and strategists characterize those myths for what they really are- falsehoods and mischaracterizations. Some of these myths are:
Myth: Our corporate tax rates are too high. Nonsense. The effective tax rates are some of the lowest of all industrial nations. Many of the largest corporations pay little or no taxes (Chevron and GE, for example). These same corporations receive government subsidies (JP Morgan receives 14 billion a year, Chevron billions, Pharmaceutical companies receives billions when the Bush Congress passed legislation to prohibit Medicare negotiations for the price of drugs).
Myth: Tax increases will hurt small businesses. Nonsense. Any Republican who mentions ‘small business’ is using this term to protect the largest corporations in America. If we want to protect small businesses, Congress should specifically define a small business in terms of gross revenues and executive take home packages. Then Congress should create tax brackets by imposing lower taxes on a small business than that which is imposed on the larger corporations and other business entities. American should promote small business ownership, if you mean businesses where the owners earns less than several hundred thousand a year.”
Myth: The Capital Gains Lower Tax rate promotes investment. Nonsense. No way. Investors will always invest. The capital gains tax laws have simply subsidized the wealthy by lowering their tax rates. Investors will always look to the best return.
Myth: Increasing tax rates will hurt ‘job creators’. Nonsense. Our economy was robust under Clinton, or Eisenhower, or in the seventies when tax rates were 70% and higher. Further, these large, corporate job creators have been moving the manufacturing facilities to Mexico and other third world countries where the labor is cheap and where they can pollute the environment with impunity. Increasing tax rates on billionaires and multimillionaires won’t have one iota of impact on the creation of jobs.
Myth: Social Security needs to be revamped because it is going broke. Nonsense. First, Social Security has nothing to do with a deficit. It is funded and maintained as a Trust Fund that taxpayers have paid into. Second, it is sound under its present funding (a social security payroll deduction) until 2030. Finally, it would remain sound if the social security deduction was taken on all incomes up to $250,000, rather than capped, as it is presently, on incomes of $98,000.00. Under no circumstance should a discussion of social security be part of the debt debate. There is no need to raise the retirement age either.
The second term under Obama could benefit all Americans if only Democrats would stand up to the myths and represent the 99% who have lost wealth and income over the last three decades. The wealth in America has been redistributed from the 99% o the 1%. Today less than 1% of Americans own over 40% of the wealth. CEOs, hedge fund managers, big financial moguls, and owners of big corporations like Walmart, are making billions of dollars and paying almost no taxes. The class war began 30 years ago. Rebalancing the distribution of income is not only sensible but necessary to maintain a strong democracy. Romney, Jamie Dimon of Chase, Pete Peterson, and others who push for tax breaks and privatization are greedy and arrogant. They are the whiners. They are the takers. They are the ones who want to ‘buy’ politicians and control government policies. America is long overdue for a rebalancing of wealth and political power.