Scoffing at the Poor as the Rich get Super Rich–Reverse Robin Hoodism Explained

inequalityNobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, a champion of Keynesian economic theories, once said, “I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.” Krugman isn’t alone. In fact, a recent study done by Harvard Business School showed that 92% of Americans would like to see wealth redistributed in a more equitable fashion. Moreover, while some will contend that deviating from the standard laissez-faire capitalism  model is “socialism,” the truth is, we have already diverged from the free market capitalism model. Wealth re-distribution is already happening; we are re-distributing money to the people that need it the least, under the false pretense that they are going to create jobs and the money will “trickle down” to the lower classes. In fact, we have not seen this happen and the Republican party is surely fooling itself if they think the American people are going to continue to fall for their rhetoric that reasonable market regulations are “socialism.” It is just a scare tactic perpetuated by a group that is on the losing end of an argument. They say that insanity is constantly doing something over and over again but expecting different results.

Over the past few months, “big business” has done astonishingly well, while unemployment rates continue to decline at a snail’s pace. The DIJA average has been setting records and Wall St. is rolling full steam ahead, while average citizens still struggle to find employment. The rich keep getting richer, but upward economic mobility has stagnated in the middle and lower classes. Why? Exorbitantly low corporate tax rates and corporate tax loopholes and deductions (that are only available to big businesses and are not available to individuals like you or I) which are coupled with massive corporate subsidies – a.k.a. corporate welfare. All while the corporations continue to offshore their money to avoid taxes, pay their workers minimum wage and ship American jobs overseas.

More importantly, the Republican party continues to propose economic and tax policies that benefit the wealthy while shafting the working class. To make matters worse, cognitive dissonance runs rampant among the GOP electorate. The unsubstantiated fear that anything short of Ayn Rand capitalism is “socialism” induces Republican voters to continuously vote against their own personal interests. For what it’s worth, I am a realist. I realize that everyone being “the same” is not only a fantasy, but a bad idea. However, this does not mean there is no value to reasonable well calculated government regulations on businesses, that support prosperity while achieving a balance between the public good and free market commerce. Moreover, ending corporate loopholes and tax deductions and instituting sensible legislation would not raise taxes on hard working Americans. On the contrary, large, exceptionally profitable conglomerates would be the ones who take the hit, and for good reason. These corporations use American roads to bring their goods to market, roads that are paid for by the taxpayers, hire American workers that are educated in public schools paid for by taxpayers (albeit less often than they used to), and rely on police men and women and firefighters (publicly funded entities) to protect their merchandise from theft and fire damage.

In addition, the argument that these large conglomerate corporations would cut jobs to avoid higher taxes is merely rhetorical conjecture that makes absolutely no logical sense. I mean seriously, does anybody in their right mind sincerely think that cutting ones profits to avoid taxes is a good business strategy? Think about that for a second. Would any intelligent, profitable business owner say something like, “Hey, let me make less money because I’m going to have to pay a little more in taxes?” Of course not, the goal of business is to make money. If I owned a multi-million dollar corporation I wouldn’t scale back my business to pay less taxes, I would want to continue to make a boat load of money and keep my business expanding despite the fact I had to pay a bit more in taxes. Anyone who claims they would scale back their business and look to make less money is either lying or just not very intelligent. It is a horrible business strategy.

We are already living in a country where wealth re-distribution is the norm. Unfortunately, instead of proposing policies that help working class Americans, Republican politicians continue to take lobbyist money from their corporate cronies, instituting policies that benefit their donors by re-distributing money upwards to the rich and the corporations. All while engaging in a mass campaign to convince the populous that anything short of free market capitalism is “socialism” and is something to fear. In turn, the corporations make record profits, create no jobs, and come to the taxpayers for handouts when they screw up. Does anyone see a problem with that? You should. During the “good old days” in the 50’s the corporations and the very wealthy paid between 70% – 90% in taxes, businesses were we no less profitable than they are today, more people were employed, and nobody screamed socialism. It’s time to go back to policies that work, because surely nobody wants to see America actually turn into a scene from the Hunger Games. Or maybe the Republican party does.

Ilyssa Fuchs

Ilyssa Fuchs is an attorney, freelance writer, and activist from New York City, who holds both a juris doctor and a political science degree. She is the founder of the popular Facebook page Politically Preposterous and a blog of the same name. Follow Ilyssa on Twitter @IlyssaFuchs, and be sure to check out her archives on Forward Progressives as well!


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