Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mad As Hell And Not Going To Take It Anymore

The State of Minnesota has shut down after Republicans in the state legislature rejected the Democratic Governor’s call for an increase in the tax rate of millionaires to accompany spending cuts to balance a budget $5 billion in the red. In Washington, House Republicans condemn the proposals of a President who now proposes $85 in spending cuts to every $15 in revenue increases. Still, Rush Limbaugh is all in a lather, wailing

Now, what do the achievers get for paying more taxes at the state and federal level? What do they get? The people who make the golden goose golden, what do they get? Food stamps, public sector union salaries, benefits, dues, and pensions that far exceed anything seen in the private sector. That's what they end up paying for and people have had it. They don't want anymore of it.

On the one side are the active and retired public employees, Social Security recipients, Medicare recipients, and laid-off workers constituting the non-achievers in the framework of the man who decries Democratic “class warfare.” On the other side are the “producers and the achievers” victimized in Minnesota by a governor who “ wants to” “raise taxes on all those rich people who make more than $180,000 a year, meaning just about every small business owner in the state.”

Never mind that Governor Mark Dayton, seeking to avert a shutdown, already had modified his proposal, calling for a tax increase only on millionaires, who constitute .3% of Minnesota taxpayers. It’s difficult to blame Limbaugh for inaccurately portraying a budget showdown; purveying false information is a major goal of his, crucial for acceptance of his extremist worldview.

Those producers and achievers, he maintains, “have had it” and “don’t want any more of it.”

Pity the poor wealthy; the Obama years have been so difficult for them. A study (text, in PDF) by Northeastern University economists Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, JosephMcLaughlin, and Sheila Palma found

Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, real national income in the U.S. increased by $528 billion. Pre-tax corporate profits by themselves had increased by $464 billion while aggregate real wages and salaries rose by only $7 billion or only .1%. Over this six quarter period, corporate profits captured 88% of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1% of the growth in real national income. …The absence of any positive share of national income growth due to wages and salaries received by American workers during the current economic recovery is historically unprecedented.

According to The New York Times, Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that corporate profits have exploded in part because productivity rose by almost 6% from June 2000, when the recovery began, to May 2011- while average real hourly earnings for all employees declined by 1.1%. The Northeastern University economists conclude

Aggregate employment still has not increased above the trough quarter of 2009, and real hourly and weekly wages have been flat to modestly negative. The only major beneficiaries of the recovery have been corporate profits and the stock market and its shareholders.

Governor Dayton on Thursday argued "middle-income Minnesotans are being over-taxed. Will the Republicans insist that inequality continue, so that millionaires do not have to pay one dollar more in taxes?" It is a simple, yet powerful, question posed by one chief executive and one that (with “Americans” replacing “Minnesotans”) awaits expression by the President of the United States.

1 comment:

jj said...

So much for the bully pulpit with this prez.

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