At Netroots Nation, I learned a lot by attending a number of panels and seminars, and I came away with some invaluable insights and information that I'd love to share with you. Specifically, I'd like to impart what I learned about the continuing battle over corporate tax breaks and loopholes. This is not so much about us vs. "the rich" as it is about the inequality resulting from the measly 9% of federal revenue that corporations pay in. Not 35%... but nine.
Now it's true that about a third do pay their share of taxes, but the other two-thirds? Not so much. So while, say, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tears up and swearstogod it "cares" about small businesses, they're actually catering to Big Biz at the expense of those they claim to care so much about.
And as Big Corporations whine and cry about having to cough up tax money on the billions they rake in (again, they pay next to no taxes, if any), well, let's compare that sob story to how Head Start, Social Security, and Medicare are doing. Let's compare that sob story to those who really do without: The poor, the elderly, the sick, the hungry. Aww, poor corporations... they get so angsty about parting with what they owe, but the rest of us, including those precious small businesses, can barely survive. Talk about hypocrisy. (Talkin' to you, too, GOP.)
What we need is campaign finance reform. What we need is to get this debate started in a big way. What we need is to stop shipping jobs overseas. What we need is to close corporate tax loopholes. What we need is to invest in jobs right here in the good old USA (crumbling infrastructure ring a bell?). What we need is to hire more American workers. What we need is for G.E., Verizon, Apple, et al to continue to make their huge profits but then pay what they actually owe, to contribute their fair share like the rest of us do. What we need is for Republican Congress members, and even some Dems, to pay attention to what voters want (see charts below).
Maybe if Big Corps would stop playing the role of Benedict Arnold and start acting like the Americans they purport to sustain, maybe if they started acting like authentically "real Americans," they could help turn this sluggish economy around.
Here's an idea: Want to do something patriotic, Big Biz? Bring the money home. Stop cutting jobs, and start creating them right here in the United States. How about starting to do that, oh I dunno, right around the Fourth of July? Wouldn't that be festive?
Some politicians in Washington are preparing to cut your Social Security COLA [Cost Of Living Adjustment] for good–even after two years without getting a COLA. This COLA cut has an obscure name: chained-CPI. But it would do real damage by changing the formula used to calculate the COLA. Here’s what you need to know about it:
It’s a benefit cut. It’s not some minor technical change to the COLA. It’s a real cut to the benefits you have earned every year into the future.
It cuts benefits more with every passing year. After 10 years, your benefits would be cut by about $500 a year for the average retiree. After 20 years, your benefits would be cut by about $1,000 a year.
It hits today’s Social Security beneficiaries. Politicians like to say that their cuts to Social Security will not affect those getting benefits today. Wrong! Switching to the chained-CPI would hit all current beneficiaries.
We need a higher COLA, not a lower one. The current COLA is not large enough–it does not adequately account for large health care cost increases faced by seniors and people with disabilities.
And President Obama has indicated support for that. Seriously. To quote a public official who I greatly admire, "I love the president, but I love my mama more."