REGARDING THE HEALTH OF THE ECONOMY
Subject: Re: NYTimes.com Article: Home Alone
Date: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 8:49 AM
I think it would have been hard for the founding fathers to imagine the way in which the electorate can be manipulated by the media, and especially TV. As far as corporations trying to run things for their own benefit, the founding fathers were very aware of this problem. They virtually banned corporations (corporations being the entities that were largely responsible for the exploitation of the colonies and the repressive 'taxation without representation'). On the other hand it was corporations primarily that funded the initial colonization. Not sure when it was that corporations began to be recognized as having all the rights and benefits of a 'natural person' -- probably around the time of the second world war when the conspiracy theorists think that our financial system was sold out to the world bankers. Let's see, would that have been during the administration of FDR or Woodrow Wilson ? Income tax, corporations gaining the same rights as people, radio and print media reaching into most every household, restructuring the great monopolies -- maybe it all goes hand in hand. Now you have the 'world trade' movement which has as one of it's major tenets that capital has no national allegiance and should be allowed to flow freely from place to place as the 'natural economic forces' dictate. These are the same guys that feel that now corporations should have the same or greater rights in the world forum as sovereign nations. (Witness the NAFTA and GATT agreements which make it illegal for countries to regulate the flow if foreign goods across their borders by means of tariffs, favoring companies within their own country, and other import restrictions.) I say screw the corporations. Establish a fair and equitable flat tax system for corporations which is not subject to accounting chicanery where apparent profits are shifted around to disappear or to be counted in parts of the world where taxes are low. If the IRS can't figure that out, then ban branch offices and divisions in foreign countries for accounting purposes. Limit the personal income of any and all individuals to no more than $1 million in cash and direct benefits per year by imposing a 100% tax on any income beyond $1 million per year, at least until the national debt is paid off and there aren’t hungry or homeless children in this country. When most normal people consider it, they would be hard pressed to think of a way to spend a million a year, year in and year out. That’s why all those fat cats are busy buying gold toilet seats, Humvees, and such.
And we need to start making something in this country besides big piles of paper. The only way any economy can survive in the long run is by performing productive work by turning raw materials into finished goods -- that is by adding real value to the materials that flow through the system. Generating mounds of paper – e.g. by banking, insurance, advertising, lawyering, or preaching the gospel is all well and good and it is an easier, cleaner way of making money than working to produce something useful, but that approach can only work as long as someone IS making something useful. The economy of the paper pushers is based on the sweat of the working men and women who do produce something useful. As soon as the paper pushers outnumber the real workers, this economy is doomed, maybe not immediately, but within our lifetime.