Monday, November 12, 2012

Grover Norquist and the New Feudalism

"If it was true that lower taxes for the rich and more wealth for the wealthy led to job creation, today we would be drowning in jobs."  ~~  Nick Hanauer, super-rich Seattle entrepreneur.

Grover Norquist, popular among neoconservative "Tea Party" Republicans, once again raised the ugly specter of George H. W. Bush, he of the "Read my lips: no new taxes" meme.  He has been wont to do this for several yeas now, and needs to be addressed as the buffoon he is.

This jackal probably knows the history of taxation in this country as far as the fact that we had the strongest economy combined with the lowest levels of unemployment when we had a 70% tax rate on high end capital gains.  High end, of course, being the massive amounts of money made by those who were already very wealthy. 

That high tax rate not only did nothing to hurt those people and corporations which were subject to it, but they also kept increasing their bottom line.

Furthermore, that economic strength, combined with American ingenuity and dedication to a strong work ethic, is the very thing that enabled the development of a strong middle class.  And that strong middle class was the fuel for maintaining a strong economy.

The Glass-Steagal Act, passed in 1933 during the Great Depression, in part kept commercial banks from getting involved in risky venture capital endeavors.

When that act was rescinded, such endeavors began in earnest as investment banks merged with commercial banks.  It picked up steam as time went on and the corporate demand for deregulation took hold and began to hold sway, culminating first in what we so lovingly refer to as "Reaganomics", the theory known as "trickle down economics".
That theory led to lowering the tax rates on corporations and the wealthy, as well as a concerted effort to further deregulate as much as possible in support of increasing the incomes of the wealthy and the profits of the corporate world. This led directly to the "Great Recession" of 2008, otherwise known as the Bush Economic Crash.

Now comes Grover Norquist and the pro-corporate, no-tax-increase cabal of extreme right-wingers currently in control of the Republican Party.  They clearly are aware of the history stated above, yet they insist that taxes on the wealthy and corporations be pared down even further.  It is enough to make one wonder if perhaps they WANT the United States to fail, so that corporations can take over completely. 

If that is the case, then they must be stopped at the ballot box in no uncertain terms.  Failing that, we are heading for a new feudalism in which the wealthy do, indeed, control everything because they own everything and everyone.  It's already started.  The only question now is, can we stop it?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Obama won again. It's over. What next?

The election is over.  President Barack Obama has won a second term, much to the consternation of the political and religious right.  And in some circles, his win is being called a landslide.

At what point does a win become a landslide? Slightly more than 2/3? And even if this could be considered as such, it is only an ELECTORAL COLLEGE one. We must remember that the popular vote was very close from a perspective of percentage: only three million votes out of more than a hundred million.  No landslide there either.

Yet when George W. Bush took the White House with the same popular margin and a much lower electoral margin, the Republicans called  that a landslide.  So from that perspective, we might call Obamas' win a rout.  Of course, the Republicans will deny this, telling us in so many words that we can't use the same criteria they did.

What the popular vote margin really means is that there are still almost half of the voting country that refuses to understand that we CANNOT go backwards if we are to return to our leadership position in the modern world. We cannot turn our backs on math and science as the extreme right would have us do. Nor can we turn our backs on the social progress we've made in our laws.

It's a basic truth of existence that we can't stand still; all of life is either progressive or regressive, and the regressive dies out and becomes extinct. Therefore, for our survival as a nation and as a power in this world, we MUST go forward; we MUST progress.  We cannot afford to go backward as a society.  That way lies the chaos of loss and anarchy.