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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bogarumba: frantic dancing to imaginary music


AngryWoman

I have used the term Bogarumba for 30 years to describe the private-interest mischief used to confuse, manipulate, and distance real people from meaningful participation in the American political process. So much more than “wag the dog”, it includes every known strategy to control the narrative so that we (the people) spin off in ungrounded debate – planting flags, taking positions, never to find common ground – while the narrative creators have their way with the law of the land.

Funded by a crescendo of tax cuts leaving mountains of money in the hands of the few and their pet lobbies, they have launched fake science, blocked research, and created an infusion of “common knowledge” that is based upon private objectives, creating a barrier to our solving old problems in new ways: the very definition of American ingenuity.

Before any reader decides this is an attack on one party or another, let me be clear that this is an attack on the influence of cash on this republic’s democracy, regardless who plays the game. This is a cry for first, Campaign Finance Reform, as a tool to get our elected out of the financial death grip of monied interests (allowing the elected to represent voters rather than dollars), and second, Tax Code Reform that properly channels American wealth into a legitimate form of participation in the American political process.

Anticipating our recognition of these barriers, well paid spin doctors have prepared a plethora of alienating talking points and logic pathways to keep us apart. Our only defense is for each of us to ask ourselves the simple question, “is there life after kool-aid?”, can we each describe to ourselves the America we seek, and then come together to address the multitude of issues we face as a nation?

I say we can. This is what the Coffee Party is all about.

Spending problem? I can help.

If America has a ‘spending problem’, somebody should ask ME how I think we should spend the people’s money. Better yet, ask me how I DON’T want to spend it.

Given the choice between those ‘Homeland Security’ people who make me take off my shoes, throw away my hand lotion, and walk through the “get naked machine” in the airport, or meaningful health insurance for senior citizens and the disabled, I choose the latter.

Given the choice between investing in first rate public education for all Americans, or the War on Terror, the longest, least mission-driven, and most expensive / debt producing war (with the largest private Army) in the history of the nation, I choose the former.

And if asked to choose between subsidies for corporations with record profits or the social safety net? Guess.

The choices are not hard if you say them out loud.

The FISCAL OBSTACLE COURSE is a sign of past failures – or is it?

The so called ‘Fiscal Cliff’ may not be a cliff at all. The Economic Policy Institute calls it The Fiscal Obstacle Course. This morning the National Priorities Project gave a simple definition of what our elected officials face:

“Fiscal cliff” refers to a host of different federal budget cuts and tax increases that are all scheduled to take effect at the start of 2013. These looming budget cuts and tax increases are referred to as a “cliff” because, if they all actually took effect in 2013, it would be a major setback for our weak economy.” This is a puzzle an adult should be able to solve, but would an adult have made this mess in the first place? We can do better than this.

Those folks in DC are our surrogates. We the People elected them to speak our voices to action. The childish histrionics we face today are a function of the failure of the Super Committee (and the Congress that created it) to represent US, and a function of their subversive success in representing their preferred constituency: big money.

The Coffee Party is the stand for Tax Code Reform because today’s code is a perfect expression of that breach of trust.

TAX CODE REFORM BEGINS with our actions as individuals and as Coffee Party – alone and in collaboration with other good government organizations – to let our surrogates in the House, Senate, and White House know what WE expect.

Call them. Fax them. Email them. Send them postcards. Attend town halls. Be informed, engaged, and in communication now and for the rest of your life. Recall those who fail to maintain your trust. Campaign for those you trust the most. Welcome to citizen participation, the magic that makes this republic’s democracy work for us all.

Put your money where your mouth is, American-Military-Might Types

Ever since Condie Rice came out for ‘greater strength around the world’ at the GOP convention, right up to Mr. Romney’s endorsement of the same ‘world-enforcer’ position in the debate last night, I have been asking myself,  “How are these don’t-tax-ME-patriots going to pay for their big ideas?” Since they won’t tell me their financing plan, I’m going to tell them my four terms of agreement.

1. SAY YES TO WAR TAX, the good old-fashioned  kind that is top heavy, and enough to pay the actual costs. This presumes the peace and prosperity tax cuts, loopholes, and incentives still in place during time of war and recession, are ended.

2. SAY NO TO WAR PROFITEERING. Ike warned us that war would become a cash-cow when military contractors were allowed a profit! He was right.

3. SAY YES TO THE DRAFT. Yes, the real draft, the one where even Elvis takes a turn. Our fifth- and sixth-tour veterans are a national shame. And how they are treated when they just finally come home is an even greater shame.

4. SAY NO TO THE PRIVATE ARMY. No more contractor soldiers. No more State Department force not under the control of the Pentagon. No more mercenaries in tow with FEMA. Privatization has no place in our budget when it comes to “providing for the common defense”, a constitutional charge.

Something tells me that after we start paying-as-we-go for our bravery, after we take away the profit motive, after everyone has the “opportunity” to serve, and after the control of all of our forces is returned to the Commander-in-Chief, the rush to spend for “military might” will wane.

America Run Like A Business: No Debt Ceiling “Emergency”

Attention, people who want America to be run like a business! Do not believe the fiction about to spew forth about the contrived debt ceiling “emergency”.

This retired business owner knows a few things about running a successful enterprise. If America were my business, hunkering-down (austerity) would not be my go-to solution.

The first thing I would do is end discounts I could not afford: think tax cuts (discounts), tax loopholes (discounts), and subsidies (discounts + refunds + incentives that can exceed the cost of the product)!

The second thing I would do is realistically price my product (reevaluate taxes). After a decade of unfunded war, should we add a war tax?  And the Medicare D non-compete giveaway: should we add tax to cover it or reconsider that decision? There are many pricing issues to discuss, but those two alone amount to $Billions per year.

While cost savings are always appropriate, cutting back on the American product line before doing the first two steps is just bad business. Why discount and underprice America out of existence? This is a revenue crisis, not a debt crisis.

My recommendation to Congress: the market (taxpayers)  having received the greatest value from discounts etc. in the last 10 years is well positioned to absorb a cost increase. End the dysfunctional discounting practices immediately. Recognize the national debt as predominantly unfunded war debt and plan for repayment accordingly.

Preserve the product line: the American way of life.

POSTCARD: Moms, Gas Prices, and Tax Loopholes

Graphic by Paul Smalley

Norquist Pledge signer Michele Bachmann, criticized the president today for gasoline prices, saying that because of him women would pay an additional $2000 this year at the pump, yet, she seems fine with oil companies having paid no taxes and even receiving corporate welfare. Last I checked, a good private school cost more than $2000 per year, and if the oil companies actually paid their taxes, my public school would be in fine shape.

Thanks for your concern, “working mom”.