Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Economic Stimulus

The answer to our present economic hardship is not suspending the gas tax (robbing our transportation infrastructure of much needed revenue for repairs and maintenance), nor is it initiating/maintaining regressive tax cuts (robbing our state and federal treasuries of much needed revenues for aid, programs, and operations).

The answer is progressive, uniform taxation. That means making corporations and capital pay their fair share. Of course this coincides with a broader need for trade reform (with revised environmental and labor standards) alongside a reinvigorated industrial/manufacturing policy. Another much needed correction is removing the cap on income taxed for Social Security. And, if anything, gas should be taxed at a higher rate. Plus, a whole host of regulations need to be re-enacted so that these booms and busts are not so severe in the future. It’s enough of this band-aid economic policy that allows the wealthy to takes risks and reap rewards at the expense of working men and women the world over.

Our minimum wage, let-the-bankers-call-the-shots, economy is not sustainable, as witnessed by increasing volatility and bailouts. The U.S. has gone from a leading creditor, manufacturer, and energy producer, to the largest importer of manufactured goods, the number one importer of foreign oil, and a debtor nation.

We have gone from a nation that produced meaningful, useful things, to a nation that buys shit...a lot of shit! Sadly, we’re buying all this shit with debt. We have gone from a nation that had a tax structure that allowed one breadwinner to maintain a good standard of living and provide for a family, while also being able to look forward to a content retirement. Now we’re in the midst of a zero-sum economy where most people are drowning in debt to maintain the appearance of a decent standard of living.

We used to innovate and produce technologies and products that were used worldwide. These days the only ones making money are the hedge fund managers and bankers moving highly risky, “securitized” financial packages around the globe. And even when they lose and their speculation goes belly-up, the taxpayers are the ones whom ultimately pay for the bailout. They get all the profit while we are responsible for all the risk.

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