DeVos, Koch, Scaife, Walton, ALEC, AFC: The Corporate Royalists and Right-Wing Groups Propelling the GOP's Assault on the Middle Class
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To pull off this grand political larceny, the narcissistic right has manufactured a huge lie that has largely been accepted as truth not only by the GOP and tea partiers, but also by the mass media, nearly all of the mainline pundit class, and too many fraidy-cat Democratic leaders, including the one in the oval office. The lie is that extreme budgetary measures (they call them "coura- geous") simply must be imposed now, this instant, in order to slay the looming deficit monster that is gorging itself on government spending at all levels.
"In the name of your grandbabies," they cry, "teachers must be fired, rights smothered, pensions abrogated, Medicare tossed aside, little kids cut off from Head Start, and the bright promise of America's shared prosperity dimmed. We have no choice but to slash and burn."
No choice? One hedge fund hustler pocketed $2.4 million last year. Not for the year--$2.4 million AN HOUR. Yet he and his ilk pay a much lower tax rate than you and I do. In recent years, huge corporations like GE, ExxonMobil, and Bank of America have pocketed billions of dollars in profit, yet paid not a dime in federal income taxes. Indeed, far from paying taxes, these three have even been handed millions of dollars in "refunds" from our public treasury in some of their profitable years. Sliding through loopholes created by their lobbyists, two-thirds of corporations in the US pay no income taxes to help cover the priceless benefits they get from our national government.
America does not face a deficit crisis--we face a multi-billion dollar annual tax dodge by the most elite of moneyed elites. The money our society needs is right there--in the coffers of flagrantly rich Fortune 500 corporations and Wall Street banks, in the personal accounts of absurdly wealthy CEOs and fast-buck speculators. America is hardly a poor country. It's the richest in the history of the world, and it ought to have the very best public education program in the world, the most advanced infrastructure network, and the finest system of health care for all.
Yet our 'leaders' only talk of what they can't do, of what must be cut, of how the middle class and the poor must sacrifice, of how Americans must adapt to the new normal of diminished expectations and shriveled democratic power. The ugly truth is that these despicable governors and lawmakers are willingly trashing teachers and butchering our public budgets simply to spare the privileged and plutocratic few from paying what they owe to sustain a just, democratic, and truly prosperous society. This is ridiculous. Let's tax the super-rich! We the People must join together, stand up, push back, and shift the focus in this fight from hardworking teachers to these disgusting deadbeats and their political puppets.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the new book, " Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow ." (Wiley, March 2008) He publishes the monthly " Hightower Lowdown ," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.