Eavesdropping in Greenville: Stories from a Swing State
Talitha Brauer
293

There’s part of the problem. Inaccurate information influencing these guys! They blame the Fed gov for the state poverty rate that sets the bar for assistance, sand being they live in a red controlled state, it’s worse for them than in other places. As for the debt, we wouldn’t have a debt if the GOP had followed through with Clinton’s budget, and not gone to war the way they did. Plus the economic implosion of 2007–08 reduced revenue below long-term sustainable levels. This along with opposition and obstruction by the GOP in Congress has led to much slower growth than would normally be achieved. These issues they complain of are mostly solved at the state and local levels. School shootings are a local issue with national implications. Kids don’t shoot up schools without, in their minds, reasons, often bullying. And teaching kids about guns does not necessarily keep them from using them. Each occurrence is situational. The ease of access also has a lot to do with it. Preventing children’s access to guns is much more effective.

Of their concerns, only two are federal while all others are state level. Our national debt is a result of policies put in place 35 years ago and amendments to those policies accelerated and exasperated the debt problem. Example, Reagan tripled the debt, that was the beginning. The debt has been accelerated further because income, minimum wage included, and revenue has not kept up with cost increases. Just for the war ever in the Middle East cost increases for fuels more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2007 and is still more than double today. The cost of other materials, such as steel, brass and copper also increased exponentially. These increased costs caused the cost of war to spiral out of control. The use of expensive military contractors in a war zone increased that cost so much more, where a soldier costs 1/5 the price, or less, than one Blackwater contractor, and 1/1000 or less than the CEO. As much as 1/3 of our national debt is the result of war policy in the Middle East, above and beyond the massive Pentagon budget.

Lower taxes, loopholes, exemptions, corporate subsidies for fossil fuels, all fossil fuels, big ag subsidies, etc have helped blow up the national debt, and are all things praised by the GOP and Trump! The effective tax rates for the highest earners and large corporations, S corporations, is often zero, or in the red, or negative, and can pay zero taxes for decades! The effective tax rate for middle class approaches 35%, and the lowest earners is 50+%. Instead of a set tax rate, the progressive rates we currently use, or a “flat tax,” why can’t we set minimum effective rates? Corporate rates are set at 35%, but with deductions and loopholes the taxpayer often pays the corporation. Set a minimum set rate at 20% for corporations! Capital gains should not have ANY special rate as that income is not earned. It’s rate should match the progressive rates. Corporations produce vast amounts of revenue, but also place a huge burden on public infrastructure with minimal investment. We, the taxpayer, make up for that minimal investment. We also pay for their subsidies, relocation costs to outsource jobs through tax write offs, etc.

These are all the causes no one talks or hears about!