Any American with the gift of critical thought must be thinking, “What now?” All I can advise, my fellow American, is to bend over and prepare to take it right in the tax hole. The conservatives have the reins of power firmly in their grip and they will ride us until we are spent.
Political conservatism has never been one of the great engines of human achievement. Throughout history, conservatives have resisted notions of progress except where it would return great profits to the wealthy few. It could be said that conservatism – whether political, religious or social – is devoted to preventing any kind of intellectual progress that isn’t financially lucrative.
This is why the U.S. Congress is in the process of adopting one of the most harmful tax codes in American history. If approved – and it appears some form will be – the tax bills being shoved through the U.S. House and Senate will reward America’s already wealthy with even greater riches, toss a few scraps to the hoi polloi, and ultimately punish the poor – again – just for being poor. It is most noteworthy that tax breaks for the wealthy are “permanent” while those for the lower financial classes are sunsetted and will ultimately become higher taxes.
The tax bills are proof again that conservatives never look forward, they always look backward; and yet, as they look backward, they are blind to the lessons history teaches.
They refuse to believe, for instance, that slashing taxes for the rich rarely results in increased investment and never creates jobs. “Trickle-down” economics was thoroughly debunked during the Reagan presidency and, yet, here we are again, shoving money into the bloated wallets of those atop the fiscal ladder in hopes they’ll shower some of it down on the rest of us.
They will distribute it among themselves, rewarding CEOs with even greater unearned salaries and pay their shareholders – no, not the little guys like you and me, but the “majority stockholders” who sit on their boards of directors and already live like kings. They’ll squirrel it away overseas and use it to invest in China, South America and the Asian sub-continent, which offer greater returns than investing in America.
The huge tax breaks for the wealthy won’t trickle down to the rest of us, and the U.S. government’s revenue stream will continue to dwindle, pushing the nation even further into debt. Meanwhile, bridges and roads will continue to deteriorate, American children will go hungry and without medical care, the elderly will be neglected and the rest of us will struggle to maintain our modest standards of living.
One needn’t even look back to the 1980s and 1990s to see the harm conservative tax policies do. One has only to look at the miserable failure of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s experiment over the past five years. Instead of spurring a great economic surge, Brownback’s tax cuts crippled the state’s economy by shutting down state services that were required for the economy to function. Public education, roads and bridges, and services essential to middle-class Kansans were devastated as the state’s debt spiraled and job growth plummeted. Brownback’s fellow Republicans in the legislature finally revolted and reinstituted most of the taxes that were cut, but not until the state’s budget lay in shambles around them. They readily admit now that it will take years, if not decades, to repair the damage done by Sam’s “real live experiment.”
And now Republicans in Washington, D.C. are replicating that failure but on a much larger scale. Because they are conservative, they remain blindly faithful to their antiquated and invalidated ideas about taxation.
The United States isn’t the same country it was 250 years ago, no matter how many ignoramuses dress up in frocked coats and tricorner hats and pretend that patriotism equates to fiscal responsibility. This is the 21st century and the world has changed.
Alas, change is uncomfortable, even change for the better, and in a world where America’s economic power and military might are no longer unchallenged, Americans fearfully look backward to a time that seems more secure. Conservatives are more than happy to capitalize on that fear to enrich their corporate masters and thus retain power.
That, after all, is what capitols are always about. No one really wants to do what is best for the American people, they want to stay in power, be in charge, hold themselves above the laws they pass for the rest of us.
And so, they bend us collectively over the boudoir bench and whisper sweet-sounding lies in our ear, and we are softly submissive because we know they really, really do love us. Don’t they?