Tuesday, February 24, 2009
What Lefties Like
Rep. Vito Marcantonio, "The Goodfather."
The old revolutionary yearning having passed with the Sandinistas, what The Left wants these days is an end to war and taxes on the very rich - the top one percent rich.
Simple as that.
You can talk new politics till the cows come home, but either you're taxing people at the top of the income pyramid or the unwashed down at the bottom.
What can be "new" is the direction in which spending that tax revenue leads a nation, but left/right battles typically come down to who pays.
The unwashed, who started this whole economic cycle somewhere in the middle, have paid for so long now they're closer to the bottom, and so, according to the "New York Times," President Obama plans to slash the deficit all these bailouts, stimuli, and relief efforts are creating by changing the existing calculus.
The articles observes that, "The reduction would come in large part through Iraq troop withdrawals and higher taxes on the wealthy."
Presto! Some $9 billion a month saved and tons of international goodwill earned by ending the bloodiest boondoggle on the national credit card.
Yes, credit card, because the Bush administration never levied a tithe to pay for its violent crusade. It merely passed the price onto those too young to vote or yet unborn.
Which was easy except the bill came due much sooner than expected.
And that may be because of certain "accounting gimmicks" instituted by the Bush crowd that the Obama gang has decided to scotch.
What were those gimmicks?
That's a good question.
The answer: Leaving the costs for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, along with Medicare reimbursements to physicians, out of the formula.
Jackie Calmes' "New York Times" article on this subject does not contain a single dissenting voice to balance the account because there are none.
Not even the Limbaugh/Coulter axis has the chestnuts to claim leaving your largest expenditures off the balance sheet is some article of faith to the conservative shock troops.
But without the gimmicks, their supply side, relieve-the-rich-of-taxes mantra will be harder than ever to peddle.
That's because it was pap, and cant, and crap, and now it's okay for writers to come out from the shadows and talk about taxing the rich as an option to giving them a perpetual free ride.
Michael Thomas of the "New York Observer," puts it in the context of making private capital pay something for the exploitation of public capital.
"What's public capital?"
Another good question and fair indicator of where we've traveled as a country on such questions.
As primer, highwayscribery recommends you read great turn of the (19th) century muckrackers such as John L. Mathews, whose "Mr. Ballinger and the National Grab Bag," describes how the all the waters in water-rich Oregon ended up lining the purses of a few self-interested operators.
It is no longer recognized that this country's natural resources were once considered a public trust, meaning they belonged to the people and the benefits they rendered should necessarily accrue to the people.
Just before leaving office, Bush leased a bunch of wild Utah land to oil and natural gas companies for exploration.
There was a great outcry, but the claims were largely environmental. Opponents expressed anger the leases would despoil the landscape near treasured national parks and taint virgin land.
Nobody questioned the executive branch's right to sell the peoples' land to profit-seekers, when that same executive branch was ideologically opposed to taxing profit-seekers so that the people might see a proper return.
If you follow.
As late as 1935, highwayscribery favorite Rep. Vito Marcantonio spoke in favor of a bill to eliminate public utility holding companies from operating and selling securities to profit from the exploitation of public property.
Here's what he said:
"If it be radicalism to believe that when God said, 'Let there be light,' that that light should be used for the benefit of a few exploiters; if it be radicalism to believe that our national resources should be used for the benefit of all of the American people and not for the purpose of enriching just a few; if it be radicalism to smash, to abolish, and to surgically eradicate these companies which have been throttling the life of America and siphoning out the lifeblood of American consumers, then, ladies and gentlemen of this House, I accept the charge. I plead guilty to the charge; I am a radical."
And so is highwayscribery.