While Americans are kept safely distracted by an endless array of “culture wars,” most of which are devised by the MAGA Republican right, our economic inequality continues to flourish unabated—or rather, with a little help from its friends and supporters. A relatively small group of super-wealthy individuals and families may or may not be sincere in their religious fundamentalism, but there’s no question they are devoutly religious when it comes to free-market fundamentalism, just as long as it’s skewed heavily in their favor. If the 19th century “Cotton Kingdom” wanted to preserve slavery to maintain its wealth and power, these people will do anything to keep their taxes low and any business regulation minimal, the rest of us be damned.
America’s already unjust tax code got a whole lot worse when Trump (their favorite patsy president) passed the 2017 tax “cuts” with the help of Mitch McConnell and the Republican Congress. Marketed as a “middle class tax cut,” it strongly favored big business and the rich, drastically increasing the national debt in the process. (Republicans inevitably oppose programs that help the poor, claiming they cost too much, but are happy to support costly programs to help the rich.) Remember, the U.S. tax code is NOT a sacrosanct act of God or nature! It has been devised over time to favor the rich and powerful and it can be changed whenever the American electorate wakes up from its stupor about God, guns, and gays and demands it.
Large corporations continue to shift their profits overseas in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and an international agreement establishing a minimum tax rate on their profits has been stuck in Congress for months with little hope of progress. According to the U.S. Treasury, the agreement “offers a once in a generation opportunity to end the race to the bottom on corporate taxes, level the playing field for U.S. businesses, and decrease incentives to shift profits and jobs offshore.” Needless to say, the free-market fundamentalists oppose the agreement.
“Socialism for the Rich” isn’t JUST a Catchy Slogan!
The current system is crashing before our eyes, but its purveyors, including an army of lawyers, lobbyists, and other assorted whores (surely an insult to the world’s oldest profession) have the audacity to point the finger elsewhere, most frequently accusing the so-called “radical left” of socialism for attempting to alter the failing status quo. In particular, they have the audacity to blame the mayors of our large (blue) cities for crime and homelessness, when it is the free-market fundamentalist’s own greed that is the root of the problem, including our nation’s abject failure to deal with addiction and mental illness. And all the while we lock up thousands of Black men and condemn them to a life in the criminal justice system because we don’t have jobs for them and we have never overcome our racist past (mostly the latter).
Our democracy and the rule of law can only withstand so much and they are currently being put to the test, big time! Let me add that, above all, the fossil fuel industry, one of the most audacious industries we have, continues to hold the future of the planet hostage, but I’ll leave that for another time.