Weep Not For The Wealthy

January 20, 2011

What the GOP wants for America

Julian Assange says he will, er, wikileak on some of the wealthiest people in a future confidential info. dump. A former Swiss banker has provided Assange with two CDs of financial details for 2,000 of the richest individuals and corporations, including 40 politicians and celebrities.

This leak is particularly apropos right now as President Obama failed to secure an expiration of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Fueled by a massive misinformation campaign paid for by these wealthy Americans and enacted by their toadying congressmen, the U.S. will now operate with $700 billion less than it should have as states face unprecedented cuts to essential services such as fire and law enforcement and education. The rhetoric includes bogus claims of taxing employers (approx. 2% of the wealthiest Americans actually hire employees) and a devastating blow to purchasing power. It’s all lies, of course — and the majority of Americans opposed this tax break extension — but a sizable amount of people still buy into the bullshit that doesn’t even pass the retard test.

Conservatives like to say that corporate taxes are prohibitively high and force companies to send jobs overseas. Another lie, of course, but it’s standard rhetoric. The oil and gas companies are making record profits but are paying virtually no income taxes AND they receive government subsidies. In 2009 Exxon-Mobil paid NO income tax at all. I hate to nitpick, but I hardly consider that tax burden to be prohibitive.

And then we have the classic comments from Warren Buffett, the third-richest person in the world. Buffet made $46 million last year and paid a tax rate of 17.7%. Buffett, of course, famously said in the interview below that he pays a far lower income tax rate than his secretary does.

And, of course, we have my favorite industry: health insurers. Even as millions of Americans are losing their health insurance because it has become unaffordable, insurance companies are making record profits. Some highlights from an ABC report:

  • Wellpoint increased profits 91 percent from 2008 while it chopped 3.9 percent of its total enrollment.
  • United Health’s profit increased 28 percent from 2008, while enrollment dropped by 3.4 percent.
  • Cigna’s profit increased 346 percent and enrollment dropped 5.5 percent.
  • Humana’s profit increased by 61 percent while enrollment decreased by 1.7 percent.
  • Aetna was the only company with a drop in profit and a gain in enrollment. The company’s profit declined by 8 percent from 2008, and enrollment grew by 7 percent.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Huffington Post lists the top 11 companies that are hoarding the most cash. Taxes are too high? Hardly. Some lowlights of the cash reserves some corporations are sitting on:

  • Apple Computer – $25.6 Billion
  • Total S.A – $27 Billion
  • Google – $33.3 Billion
  • Cisco – $38.9 Billion
  • Microsoft – $43.2 Billion
  • GE – $78.3 Billion

So, with all these absurdly profitable corporations and wealthy Americans not paying their fair share of taxes, what is going to be cut from the federal budget? Good question. Well, the benevolent GOP has some answers. In the $2.5 Trillion proposal put forth by House Republicans, they want to cut the stimulus spending that is saving our country from a devastating depression, environmentally friendly programs such as public transportation, assistance to people below the poverty line, assistance to Washington, D.C. (ya know, that federal district that relies on federal dollars to function), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (ie, those ‘liberal’ propaganda outlets NPR and PBS), and pretty much everything else that is not beneficial to the wealthy, big corporations and defense. (cuz, ya know, just because we spend more on military than the rest of the world combined, it’s more important than making sure our citizens are fed, housed, and cared for.) You can read about it here and here. Bring your barf bag.

According to G. William Domhoff, professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

“In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.”

Aren’t you glad the GOP is here to make sure that trend gets even worse? Fuckers. Every single one of them. The last time wealth disparity in the U.S. was this bad was in 1929. Ya know, right before the Great Depression. Awesome.

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