Write Your Promises Into The Bills

The Republican scumbags in Washington and their well-trained Democratic toadies can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned. It’s hard to hide my rage over the fact that the poverty rate has gone up every year of the Bush presidency, yet we’re greeted with infuriating news like this :

IBM, for example, is banking a $2.8 billion refund—well, better to call it a “tax savings”—because instead of paying the normal corporate tax rate of 35 percent on $9.5 billion in profits it earned overseas, the company paid only 5.25 percent. That’s the magic of the American Jobs Creation Act, a piece of legislation that passed with comfortable margins in both the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush just two weeks before the 2004 elections.

The AJCA, which was pushed through during the last fit of panic about outsourcing, was ostensibly designed to encourage companies to add jobs here. It gave a small tax deduction to American manufacturers, and it offered a one-time tax holiday in 2005 when corporations could repatriate their foreign income at a massively reduced tax rate. This repatriation, the theory went, would encourage R & D and capital investment in the United States, leading to new positions down the road. But, like President Bush’s creatively named Clear Skies initiative and Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the American Jobs Creation Act has not lived up to its title.
. . .
Analysts anticipate that American companies will have repatriated around $350 billion in 2005 as a result of the law. While it’s hard to make a straight calculation because of the vagaries of the tax code, that works out to a savings of roughly $104 billion on corporate America’s tax bill. At Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that announced the single largest repatriation—$37 billion—the one-time windfall works out to approximately $11 billion. That kind of tax savings buys a lot of $600-an-hour lobbyists, though not, apparently, many scientists and salespeople. In its annual report, Pfizer doesn’t list employees by region. But the company’s total head count dropped to 106,000 at the end of 2005, about 8 percent fewer jobs than at the end of 2004.

I know I’m sounding like a shrill liberal here, but screw it. The American government should never, ever trust corporations. No, not because of some cartoonish fantasy of a CEO devising new ways to poison the environment and eat babies, but because looking after our best interests isn’t their job. Their job is to make as much money as possible, period. I’m not making a moral judgement here. Getting rich isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we shouldn’t ever expect corporations to put aside their own financial interests for ethical concerns.

Which is why it’s so damn frustrating to see this supply-side bullshit pop up again and again. It seems like a truism that businesses care more about the bottom line that anything else, but that level of common sense is absent from our government today. I’m all for capitalism and I think the stated goals behind a lot of conservative economic incentives are pretty good. Give tax breaks to corporations to reinvest in the country and help create jobs? Sounds like a great idea. Yeah, I said it, I agree with the Republicans. I just wish the Republicans agreed with the Republicans.

When a politician tells you they want to cut taxes to help jumpstart the economy, create jobs, or whetever, they’re lying to you. Yes, there are schools of economic thought that support their trickle-down theories, but these aren’t honest differences of opinion, they’re shameful lies. If they really thought their tax cuts would benefit working Americans they’d put it in writing. There’s nothing stopping politicians from making their tax cuts only apply to companies who create X number of jobs or invest a certain percentage of their profits within the U.S., but that never happens because conservative politicians are for the most part too craven to put their money where their mouth is.

Now corporations are laughing all the way to the bank with $104 billion in tax refunds and all we can do is sit back and wonder why people still believe a word that comes out of the mouths of the corporate whores in Washington D.C. Of course, that’s just how they wanted it. It doesn’t matter whether or not we feel robbed, the getaway car escaped a year and a half ago.