Monday, January 3

Empty Rhetoric

Left2Right is a blog by a swarm (conspiracy?) of left wing academics who feel that they need to start to persuade those of us on the right of the error of our ways using arguments instead of insults. Now this is an admirable idea, but on the other hand, the execution sometimes missing on a few cylinders. Take this:

Almost ten years ago, the Boston Globe estimated that $150 billion in the form of subsidies and tax breaks was funneled to American companies. The $150 billion figure (presumably much larger now) was then greater than the annual deficit of $130 billion (definitely much larger now). It was greater than the program aiding families with dependent children, student aid, housing, food and nutrition, and all direct public assistance taken together (excluding Social Security and medical care). Politicians from right (Pat Buchanan) to left (Robert Reich) have condemned “corporate welfare.” The theme that we should take back America from the dominant grip of corporate greed was a pervasive theme of the progressive movement.

If the left wants to appeal to the right without abandoning its integrity, it should campaign on behalf of core democratic values, values that make the voice of the people more important than corporate contributions. It is more possible to do this now than ever before. For many years, corporate contributions (through PACs or otherwise) were necessary to finance campaigns. The internet has now made it possible to gather vast sums of money while circumventing the corporate establishment. I am not suggesting that the left press for an anti-business agenda.

Now let's examine what Mr Shiffrin really said. He says that the corporate "subsidies and tax breaks" are about the same order of magnitude as the deficit. At the same time he is not for an anti-business agenda. How's that again. Either you raise taxes on businesses or you don't. How can you raise taxes on businesses and not be anti-business?

So it seems he feels that to close that gap we must increase taxes on businesses. Is this what is he really saying? He hopes that those on the right and the left are against these "loopholes" and corporate PAC contributions which every one is against. He doesn't actually give us any inkling of an idea of how to locate and cut loopholes. Is he for a flat tax? I don't think so. The left is consistently against a flat tax. But if he thinks this is the way to take back the right without losing integrity he better actually say something with substance and not just empty rhetoric.

It comes down to it he is against the spectre of "corporate greed". You know, that evil desire of companies to make money for their employees, shareholders, and of course those wicked "owners". Those evil "profits" we keep hearing about. As a non-academic non-tax funded crafsman working for a small firm, we kind of like profits. It's what keeps them not so evil "paychecks" coming in. So unless you believe that there is no connection between a company's ability to pay the workers (who might vote) and who collect paychecks and the companies profitability, arguments along those lines will keep them voters voting "rightly".

Now it would seem to those of us on the right, that the real way to cut the deficit is to cut spending. Now where is all the spending? Can anyone spell entitlements? But don't talk about cutting those for it would be political suicide remember?