Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ralph Nader’s Solution to Debt Crisis

From Democracy Now:

RALPH NADER: Now we have the situation with the deficit and the debt and spending and jobs. And it’s not that difficult to get out of it. The first thing you do is you get rid of corporate welfare. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars a year. The second is you tax corporations so that they don’t get away with no taxation. The Citizens for Tax Justice put out a report recently. They had 12 major corporations, like Honeywell, Verizon, General Electric, and in three years, Amy, they made $167 billion—with a "B" —dollars in profit, paid zero tax, and got two-and-a-half billion dollars back from the Treasury. So you can see, if you return the tax rates and the effective tax payments back to the prosperous 1960 level, there would be hundreds of billions of dollars. You get out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, stop being engaged in these criminal wars of aggression, and get out of Iraq, you’ll save another $150 billion. So, there are a lot of ways. Cutting the huge amount of redundancy and waste and out-of-date weapons programs in the Pentagon, again, another one. Bringing back the soldiers from Europe and East Asia, 65 years after World War II. What are they doing? Defending prosperous countries, like England and Germany and Italy and Japan, against what? Inner Mongolia or Moldova?

So, we know what the answers are. But we don’t have the power in Washington, because the liberal, progressive base appears to have no breaking point with the Democrats here in Washington. And that’s true for—that’s also true for the liberal intelligentsia. They have no—when you ask them, "Do you have any breaking point? How bad do these Democrats have to be, even though the Republicans are worse, for you to begin conditioning your vote, demanding more vigorous debates in the presidential primary, demanding more candidates, demanding rights for third parties, as the Center for Competitive Democracy has been pushing for? They have no breaking point. And if you have no breaking point, you have no moral compass, and people like Barack Obama know that you can be had. And indeed, they’ve been had.

Click here to read, watch, or listen to the rest.

Of course, there is no debt crisis. I mean, we do have an enormous federal debt, and given the loss of tax revenue from the recession, we're also into some big time deficit spending at the moment. But it's not a crisis. None of the dangers that can come from deficit spending are imminent. This is all a fake "crisis," manufactured by Republicans in order to ram massive social experiments down the throats of the American people. Just because everyone seems to be talking about it doesn't make it true. And everyone's not talking about it, actually. Just go read some Krugman. But I think the reason Nader and Amy Goodman refer to it as the "debt crisis," even though they both know well what's really going on, is to point out how much tax money is spent on stupid bullshit that does not in any way benefit the American people.

Indeed, our taxes go to pay off giant corporations, through welfare and legalized tax dodging, and through the Pentagon, in return for the campaign contributions they give their politicians. And it's so easy. Just stop paying the corporations. They don't need the money; after all, they're corporations, capitalist enterprises. If they can't survive on their own, can't pay the taxes that real live human citizens do, then they don't deserve to survive. Of course, it would never come to that. These very same corporations altogether spend billions on political donations, lobbying, and lawsuits in order to shape the political environment for their own benefit: that is, they're cheating right now, but I'm pretty sure they have the wherewithal and gumption needed in order to compete on a fair playing field, you know, to be capitalists, instead of crony capitalists.

Unfortunately, for this kind of sanity to happen, there would need to be a lot of upward pressure on the body politic from the left, and, as Nader observes, there is seemingly nothing so offensive to them that would make them bolt the Democratic Party. Expect our national decline to continue for the foreseeable future.