Elect candidates that don’t bow to Big Biz.

Taxes have been lobbied down for Big Biz with no regard for the long term consequences. Our elected have allowed it. America needs to elect candidates who don’t buy in to this racket.

corporate-tax-e1317741002922

When business faces a genuine tax liability, the choice is to either use dollars to reinvest in the business or to pay taxes. It makes good business sense to choose to spend on facilities, equipment, supplies, and even wages and benefits because this is not shareholder money, it is tax money, redirected to improve American productivity.

But for too many big businesses tax liability has become a myth, theoretically “high” but performing “low” by industrialized world standards. Loopholes, subsidies, and low rates reduce the incentive to spend internally. Our power grid is failing, our internet is the slowest in the developed world, and placing new stores or factories takes local incentives – to name a few consequences.

And many businesses that cannot lobby their way out of taxes are hit as hard as wage earners in this out-of-balance scheme.

Without taxes in the equation, improvements in the means of production, a long term strategy, are at shareholder expense rather than taxpayer expense. And we all know about what is important to the few shareholders-that-matter on Wall Street: short term gain.

Advertisements

The failed experiment to create sustainable prosperity by cutting taxes to corporations and shareholders.

Record profits and record poverty in the same country are evidence of a broken economic system. In America, the evidence that today’s poverty is born of the Great Recession is indisputable. The gossip that it is due to an epidemic of laziness is ludicrous. And still, our Congress considers a budget that mocks the needs of recession victims and continues toinsure profit to those that caused it.  Now is the time to look to big money makers for tax revenue.
la-oe-zimmerman-congress-history-20131016-001Image caption: Omayra Hernadez holds a sign reading, “Hey Congress Do Your Job” as she and others gather in front of the Florida office of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) to protest against the partial government shutdown. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Economic Freedom Zones are an Orwellian Joke

Economic Freedom Zones are to business development as the Clear Skies Initiative was to environmental protection: an Orwellian joke.

quotes-1984-george-orwell-HD-Wallpapers-300x103

I believe Detroit has a revenue problem as much or more than a spending problem, so I see adding even more tax cuts and reducing “payroll tax” (code for Social Security and Medicare) to existing subsidies, tax exemptions and tax cuts is counter productive. In fact, it is like inviting piranha to lunch. The feeding frenzy will only last as long as there is food on the table.

Economic Freedom Zones are an extension of the philosophy that short term concessions to business can result in long term and sustainable improvement in the economic condition of the community. In my 25 years in economic development work, I have not seen this to be as useful as hoped.

Concessions become expectations, and sunsetting of concessions often result in the closing of opportunistic business only interested in program benefits. Public investment in these projects is often not even a break even situation, let alone a sustained value. The smartypants gaming of these opportunities is the dark side of capitalism.

The cases I have seen where economic incentives have paid off  usually involve smaller, more local businesses that have a stake in the long term success and economic viability of the community. The Economic Freedom Zone idea as it is now described is just shark bait.

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is a step in the right direction

This retired small business owner thinks Obamacare is good for America. We get told every day that we are now a part of the new global economy, but our competition is from companies in countries with some form of health care for all. For the rest of the first world, health care is a social expense, while for us it is a business expense.

I played that game as a small business owner, but the deck was stacked against me. I was charged 200% of the rate for a large business, giving advantage to my larger competitors let alone off shore interests.

I never minded paying taxes: they were predictable and I could plan for them. But insurance inflation was out of control and killing many of us in the small business community. While bigger businesses were dropping coverage levels in order to leverage profit, we, the real employers of America, were dropping coverage to stay alive. In 2008 GM pointed to this flaw in our global logic and was summarily gob smacked. Like GM or not, they were right.

Now, the imperfect beginnings of a solution that serves employee and employer is before us. “Back to the drawing board” is political-speak for “bury it alive”. We can spend all day nit picking the small stuff while the elected who are beholden to BIG campaign contributors pull strings to neglect the many and profit the few.

I, for one, believe in American Ingenuity: that we should launch the project to create a yet unseen but soon to be envied strategy to ensure access to health care for Americans, and bloom as an economy within our borders and in the world. No guts, no glory. If you agree, contact your congressional delegation now.

scales-of-justice-745464-1

A Tale of Two….

On Memorial Day I saw Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) deliver a keynote address. She spoke of her two tours in Iraq and the powerful memory of her first “unanswered roll call ceremony” for a friend lost in combat. She shared that only one percent of our citizens have fought in these, the two longest wars in American history.

And then it occurred to me: another one percent of us have made obscene fortunes from these, the two most blatantly economically motivated wars in American history.

images-5

These two one percents could not be more different.

images-6

One, members of the super-minority, are making record profits quarter after quarter, and “investing” frightening amounts of money in campaign contributions and spendy lobbyists in order to keep things going their way: war profiteering, monopoly building, too-big-to-care, tax dodging, unregulated global capitalism.

The other are public servants, willing to do their duty until their last breath doing a job few dare face. Too often they leave our service broken or ill, only go become the collateral damage of a system being starved out of existence by tax cuts, tax loopholes, and tax subsidies even as we spend trillions of dollars on two wars with no war tax. The call for austerity is a mocking of this one percent by the other. “We will take care of the money, now you figure out how to take care of yourself.”

I am not a pacifist, but I am very against preemptive war. The idea that we systematically abuse so few for the gain of so few –  and leave 98% of us out of the game entirely – is not sitting well with me. Yellow magnets and 4th of July flags are not enough to count as skin in the game.

I will no longer humor the self centered profiteers only to neglect our selfless patriots.

If that means less war, OK. If that means proper care for returning troops, OK. If that means higher taxes on the prosperous one percent to finance our responsibility to the in-harms-way one percent, OK.

No big box store, no stock broker, no crony contractor, no wealth building “corporate-person” is going to take the metaphorical bullet for anyone. I prefer to support the people who would take a real bullet for me.