A Posting Volley on The Facebook — The Bern

Original Facebook Post:

*wanders in from the ether*
*steps to stump facing field full of flowers*

*climbs up*
*adjusts self*
*clears throat*

It’s funny to hear the argument, “Hilary’s the only one who’s best suited to work with American politics as they currently are!”

If it’s anything that Karma Chameleon Clinton (seriously, Hill, you don’t gotta lie to kick it) has shown us, it’s that the politicians will do what We want, all we have to do is threaten their vote count…

I dunno though, maybe I’m being naive, but maybe we could vote for a world we want, not an insufferable, Supreme Court nominee stalling, bought and paid for by the monetary powers that be partisan political party system world we have to cope with. In a time that’s equal parts technological marvel and second dark age, why would we intentionally live in a world where we have to cope to get by if we don’t have to?

And who can honestly say they wouldn’t vote (who’s not solely being loyal to a political party because it’s Their team, which is an old world mode of thought, or for the novelty of the first female president, which is just…seriously?), if we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that universal social policies would be enacted (which they totally could be if We so desired it) without resistance, for: free education (not a unicorn), free health care (not a rainbow), a living minimum wage (only a fantasy to the privileged), environmentally friendlier laws imposed on business (not any one person in particular) — none of which, the last time I checked, is anyone’s stuff that would be taken from them..?

It’s only fantasy if we refuse to see any other possible way but our own…

*steps off stump facing a field full of flowers*
*wanders away toward infinity* 
*curiously wonders what the next moment will bring*

The original response from my Uncle: If it’s so great there why are you here? You mention the middle class. In the USA governmental debt policies and corporate taxes are reducing the middle class. As for self interest it’s not clear what you mean. How did “choosing” to pay higher taxes guarantee the high level of services for YOU? How many illegal immigrants do you have absorbing those high level services designed especially for YOU? I await your explanation.

(leave to my Uncle to challenge what you think about stuff…)

— — —

I never said it was great. How could I know? I’ve never lived there. It sounds pretty not too shabby though. I also didn’t write the article. ;’ )

I do like the article, though, and clearly, the system in which we live isn’t that great either. In fact, it’s kind of more on the ugly/horrible side (subjectively speaking, of course. the corporate greed and lust for power is so apparent these days that’s it’s hard not to stare in sickly fascination…). But I’m still here, if only because I shouldn’t actually have to leave if I can affect a change to the system. Isn’t that what democracy is? Also, it’s not a bad hand to play (being born here in America); here’s how I play it:

In testing the air a bit, I get the sense that it may be time for the country to try something new. The next generations do appear to be saying exactly this, are they not? So the paradigm is shifting ever so ponderously toward caring for the greater whole rather than the very few. The reason I share these thoughts is because I’m ready for something other than the same. We actually (might) have an opportunity to try something different here. And that’s an exciting proposition to me. Win or lose, the wheels have hopefully been set in motion.

As for my explanation, I’m happy to provide what little understanding I actually have in the way of details of the situation:

You say: In the USA governmental debt policies and corporate taxes are reducing the middle class.

Can you point to something concrete here? Preferably something that wasn’t funded/written by supporters of “the cause”?

Working in corporate finance for 6 years, for a billion dollar company, in M&A, and working on 70+ acquisitions, where we acquired other billion dollar companies, I enjoyed a first-hand view of the offshore entities/tax havens for each integrated company that had them (as well as those of my old employer). There were a lot. Generally/especially the larger corporations. Where revenues were sometimes in the billions of dollars.

Take Ireland, for example (only one tax haven of many), a corp. tax rate of 12.5% (6.5% in some cases!!), and compare that to a U.S. corp. tax rate of 39.1%. 39.1% of just $1 billion is $391 million. Multiply this fictional, but very real, dollar amount by the number of actual billions made by the number of billion dollar companies (1,922 of them, give or take, not even to mention those companies in the hundreds of millions) and at the minimum you have $751 in billions of US dollars… if corporate taxes are reducing the middle class, then it’s because those taxes just aren’t here to begin with, so the rich get richer, hence we’re all poor by comparison. I can only assume the crux of your argument is in there somewhere, and that by lowering the tax rate we’ll woo those corporations back through the loopholes they left from.

Now I get it, a 6.5% tax rate is really hard to sneeze at from a business perspective, and 39.1% (understandably 39.1% and 6.5% are the extremes, but I’m also only using a small dollar amount — $1 billion — to illustrate that even the generailty is an insane proposition), by comparison, is almost laughable, and not very smart from an American business perspective (unless of course, it is smart, and there’s some sort of back door dealing we, the people of U.S., aren’t privy too., which wouldn’t surprise me much, and is outside the scope here), so if we want to compete for those tax dollars we’d better start lowering that rate…but wait! Them are ‘merikan corporations! We shouldn’t have to compete for tax dollars. Where the hell is that damn sheriff of Nottingham when you need’em? Quite possibly bought and paid for by the same corp. tax dodgers with all their monies saved by moving their taxable incomes offshore to the super business savvy Irish, among others — $686 million dollars, American, in savings in this example. For one year!

So, the idea of an “American” corporation, in conjunction with things like Apple resisting government intervention, evokes some interestingly serious questions about the Actual power of the government, and the ethereal nature of nationality (which is kind of an afterthought, really), and what it means from a purely capitalist perspective, which is to say: nothing.

Very obviously corporations are forcing themselves into the position of “World Citizen” (how very advanced of them), because they’re showing how not beholden they are to a national identity; they’re beholden to the bottom line, and Nationalism is nothing more than naive nostalgia when set against the backdrop of the almighty dollar; Economics aren’t subject to sentimentality, and we’ve set up a system that doesn’t have to play nice, that doesn’t have nationalistic pride, and that doesn’t (and isn’t economically sensible to) take care of each other for nothing in return (actually, in return is the money spent on a daily basis to keep those bottom lines healthy, and in exchange we get a paycheck from them in perpetual servitude…).

So we quickly see, outside of any political party affiliation, they have America(ns) by the balls, as it were. Soon (if not in truth already) a “country” will be a corporation: The Nation of Google, The Nation of The Facebook, The Nation of Apple. We as a country are beholden to the corporations, and the population at large is the fallout. You and me. Just because we may be relatively comfortable, doesn’t mean we’re not locked into a system that favors those in control. In this world we’ve chosen to create, those in control are those with the money. And they don’t hesitate to wield that power. Bummer. And even the most comfortable prison is still a prision, as they say.

Maybe I’m oversimplifying here, because business dealings can get so very complex, but it’s easy enough to see the underlying human behaviors at play, which to my mind is the real issue. And it may be interesting to see what happens if big corporate is made to pay what they owe in taxes, what their actual response will be.

You ask: How did “choosing” to pay higher taxes guarantee the high level of services for YOU?

Is this question about the quality of services, or ensuring I personally get those services? I guess it wouldn’t guarantee anything, because, as the old saying goes, “the only guarantees in life are death and taxes that go to the lowest bidder…” Wait. Is that right? It doesn’t sound right. I sure can’t shop my taxable income around for the lowest rate. 6.5%? Sign me up! But, being in the U.S., where the quality standards are actually world class (currently, as long as we rely on the benevolent corporate teat for our quality standards), my feeling is that we’d be able to figure it out. If we couldn’t, what would that really be saying about US? Hopefully, the allocation of those tax dollars would be (wisely) put to good and appropriate use (appropriate as defined by taking care of each other, and not by exploiting the have nots a.k.a. most of US, or, to put a figure on it, 99% of US), and those benefits would be seen by everyone. Including you. Including me.

And maybe you don’t need it, because you had or have healthcare provided by your career. Which implies that you gave the entirety of your life’s work and energy to an entity other than yourself for the promise of healthcare (that you probably paid for. that we certainly have to pay for), a paycheck, and a retirement (that our generation(s) all now have to pay for on our own…). Maybe that sort of life sits well with you, but it doesn’t with me. If I’m going to do anything with my life, I’ll do my best to make sure that “anything” is not done as an oarsman. *crack of the whip* *sonorous beat of the drum* Even if it means living without being able to measure myself up to someone else’s possessions or income level— tiresome, that. The need to “measure up” to somebody else. It totally disregards having to measure up to one’s own expectations…why would we let ourselves off the hook so easily?

You ask: How many illegal immigrants do you have absorbing those high-level services designed especially for YOU?

I don’t know. 42? No, kidding. It’s probably a higher number than that. Immigration is an admittedly sticky issue. Which makes an important point: There’s no perfect system. This one, though, is broken, and leaves me feeling uneasy about the direction of things if they stay as they are (one has to wonder if it’s even too late? If we somehow get corporations to pay the taxes we all have to pay, would they leave and cripple the nation as a result? Econ 101 says, “yep!” yikes…). And, in this one (system), we still have illegal immigrants absorbing Something, and not giving anything back whatsoever. Wait a minute. That’s wrong. My bad. Those illegals do actually perform very valuable tasks like making clothes in unsafe conditions and under constant fear of discovery and deportation, washing dishes, landscaping yards, servicing agriculture, working construction (I know that all sounds horribly politically incorrect, but it’s true nonetheless), all the while a paycheck is cut under the table, to which one could probably tie corporate interests somewhere along the line in a lot of cases. So nothing much will have changed is my guess.

What’s weird to me, is that an Illegal is looked down upon by the National as “lesser” by what they do in order to survive, feed their families, and avoid whatever nastiness in their country of origin they fled from in the first place. But, if you were in the same situation, and your family were at risk of death and/or worse, you would do the same, or die trying. It’s a tough issue. All the while, the current capitalizing system is looking at Everyone as a lesser asset, the National and the Illegal.

The overall point is, though, the old world systemic mode of thought is ME ME ME and MINE MINE MINE (to grossly overgeneralize), which only makes sense, we are human afterall, and put humans into something called The Great Depression and a World War (notoriously tough times) and there’s bound to be some pretty heavy duty blowback on an entire generation(s), and the echo reverberates throughout subsequent generations…but there are new values and a new world mode of thought that the gen x’ers (and some baby boomers) have begun to instill into their children (thankfully): you can do anything you want in this life. It’s always a good thing to work hard for what you want. If your life’s work is unsavory to you, find a way to make your life’s work something that’s meaningful to you, regardless of how much money you make, or what kinds of things you have, or how someone else will view or judge you (maybe that’s all more wishful thinking).

Granted, we wouldn’t even have the opportunity to do just that if it weren’t for those who came before, so there is much gratitude and respect for the groundwork laid; all were doing their best, I’m sure; and so these new values were spawned from that, and are good values to have these days, because, the ever tightening pyramid of capitalism is placing those values between the proverbial rock and hard place, leaving us with no choice but to come up with some creative solutions. And how long would it be, really, before the critical mass pointed, in any serious way, toward the ridiculous level of inequality? All revolutions are born from this.

And while we argue the finer points of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America, bottom lines the world over do their thing, unconcerned with our idealism.