Yesterday Rick Perry unveiled his so-called "flat tax plan", offering up the twin pillars of temptation for the uneducated: simplicity and the false promise of "job creation" -- as if those who head up corporations are going to magically, out of the goodness of their hearts, "create jobs" if we just give them enough money; if we just make them RICH ENOUGH. How rich that is remains to be seen, but we've been shoveling money into CEO pockets for thirty years now and they don't yet seem to be rich enough -- if in fact the trickle-down doctrine worked, which of course we know it doesn't.
Rick Perry is at six percent in the polls right now, so perhaps even discussing his tax plan is a moot point. But Republican voters have already shown themselves to be a fickle lot, easily tempted by Teh Shiny at any given moment. And Perry is a huckster, a snake-oil salesmen dangling promises of jobs and income tax filing that a ten-year-old can do and a cushy retirement brought to you by the same people who almost brought us to global economic collapse three years ago. His "plan" is the bastard child of Ronald Reagan and Steve Forbes, and it's designed to do one thing: tempt the stupid with the promise of easier April 15ths and the false promise of a better lot through the further enrichment of the already-wealthy. It's snake oil, and we will see in the next few weeks if Republican voters -- and the pundits who have shown themselves to be equally fickle -- buy it.
The ugly underbelly of Perry's speech (which you can read here) is the demonization of what he calls "The Federal nanny state", with its misogynistic undertones. In Rick Perry's world, those in need of help -- the elderly, the sick, those affected by natural disasters who DON'T live in Texas, the poor, the unemployed -- deserve our contempt, not our help. Because in Rick Perry's world, reaching for a brass ring that is systematically out of reach because there are no public schools, no nutrition programs, no Head Start, nothing to help move the children of tomorrow out of poverty or keep the middle class kids of today from sliding into it, is what has to be done in order to keep the rabble from realizing what the 1% has done, is doing, and will continue to do to them.
Rick Perry's plan, as does Herman Cain's plan, is designed to give that top 1% MORE. It reminds me of that ad a couple of years ago, I think it was for big-screen TVs, and the guy is standing there in the electronics store as the voice of Freddy Mercury shouts:
I want it all I want it all I want it all.....and I want it now!
Here's what the 1% has gained since Americans started believing Ronald Reagan that if you Just Give The Rich ENOUGH, they will piss silver dollars and gold coins upon you (NYT link):
The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday, in a new report likely to figure prominently in the escalating political fight over how to revive the economy, create jobs and lower the federal debt.
In addition, the report said, government policy has become less redistributive since the late 1970s, doing less to reduce the concentration of income.
“The equalizing effect of federal taxes was smaller” in 2007 than in 1979, as “the composition of federal revenues shifted away from progressive income taxes to less-progressive payroll taxes,” the budget office said.
The report found that higher-income households got a larger share of the pie, while other households got smaller shares.
Specifically the report made these points:
¶ The share of after-tax household income for the top 1 percent of the population more than doubled, climbing to 17 percent in 2007 from nearly 8 percent in 1979.
¶ The most affluent fifth of the population received 53 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, up from 43 percent in 1979. In other words, the after-tax income of the most affluent fifth exceeded the income of the other four-fifths of the population.
¶ People in the lowest fifth of the population received about 5 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, down from 7 percent in 1979.
¶ People in the middle three-fifths of the population saw their shares of after-tax income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points from 1979 to 2007.
George Carlin was right in 2005. They want it all. They want it all and they want it now...and what little you have, they're going to take it. Your pension? Gone. Now you have a 401(k) that pays fees to Wall Street banks out of your money, and you sit there while a man lies dying of pancreatic cancer in California at the age of 56 and all you can think of is how his death is going to affect your retirement. That statement you get every year that tells you how much you're likely to get from Social Security in retirement? Just shred it. Because you're going to get bupkis. You'll get bupkis because THEY WANT IT ALL AND THEY WANT IT NOW. Whether you're a baby boomer, Gen-Xer, Gen-Yer, millennial or Brownie scout -- forget it. Because you're getting bupkis. You'll get bupkis because THEY WANT IT ALL AND THEY WANT IT NOW. A permanent job with benefits? Forget it, you're getting (if you're lucky) a contract job that pays half of what you used to make. Because THEY WANT IT ALL AND THEY WANT IT NOW. Good public schools for your kids? Forget it. In the very near future you'll have to pay to send your kids to school. There's no money for schools because THEY WANT IT ALL AND THEY WANT IT NOW. Clean air to breathe instead of vaporized mercury? Forget it. We have to dismantle the EPA becase THEY WANT IT ALL AND THEY WANT IT NOW.
They'll promise you that this anal rape with a red-hot poker they're delivering to you will give you a shot at their club...that you too can someday join them in that top 1%. But there's a reason it's the top 1%. It's a big club....and you ain't in it.
And you will never, ever, ever be.
Rick Perry will, though. Because he's aiming for a position where he can give them what they want.
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