A GUEST POST BY PROLIX
Posted June 7, 2012on:
Good morning Widdershins!
Today we have a guest post by Prolix and I’m happy to say he will now be a regular poster with us! YAY! So without further ado enjoy the post!
The Power of Why
Physicists intrigue me — don’t know why exactly — other than most of them spend loads of time thinking about really big things while knowing full well they will probably pass out of this earthly existence without knowing if their life’s work had any significance at all. When not thinking about big things, most physicists are just like the rest of us, they think about, “What does it all mean?” I like that about physicists just as I like gourmet chefs getting all giddy about a good cheeseburger, an artist getting excited about a sunset or a child catching her first snowflake on her tongue.
One of my favorite stories about Albert Einstein goes something like this:
During a press conference a reporter asked, “Professor Einstein, if you had one question to ask God, what would it be?” Without so much as a hint of hesitation, Al replied, “I’d ask God how the universe was created. Next question.” Another reporter asked a question and in the midst of answering it Einstein abruptly stopped — you could see the legendary cogs turning and he went back to the first reporter saying: “I’m wrong. If I had but one question to ask God, it wouldn’t be how the universe was created because after that it is just a mathematical equation. No, if I had one question to ask God, it would be “why” the universe was created and then, I would know my reason for being.”
Over the years, I have told that story hundreds of time emphasizing the power of “Why?” I don’t care if you are a parent, a manager, an advocate, a statesman, a teacher, a butcher, baker or candlestick-maker, “Why,” is the most powerful question you can ever ask. It gives everyone the opportunity to consider things they might never have considered while gauging the logic and truthfulness of the answer. Personally, it’s always my “go-to” question.
During this political season, I’ve found myself asking the “why” question over and over and over again. I’ve always tended to vote Democratic and in every fiber of my being I’m a political junkie, but this election cycle has me feeling like a leper at an orgy — I came for the same reason as everyone else, but no one wants to have anything to do with me.
When you apply the “why” does this political season seem so clunky, most all the answers from the Magic 8 Ball are pointing toward Citizens United. By now we have all heard about the locusts, chute-less skydiving frogs and the other plagues that Citizens United portend for us, but when you peel the onion on this one, with all the layers of “political speech,” “super pacs,” or “super gazillionaires sugar daddies,” it seems like an old-fashioned power struggle, but again when you apply the “why” question, I’m still left wanting.
It isn’t just Citizens United.
Citizens United is just the herpetic reminder of the past thirty-two years of the mentality, “Let the big dawg have it cause he’s gonna get it anyway.” If we really drill down on the “why,“ it all began with the changes suckled through the political process by President Reagan and sold as an economic theory like so many boxes of Borax.
Since 1981, at the behest of the French-cuffed, spats crowd and with the acquiescence of the pack of lap dogs cleverly called Congress, the tax code and the regulatory framework have been amended to reward consolidation through mergers and acquisition while at the same time creating enough loopholes to make a Swiss cheese maker have hole envy. There has been a de-emphasis on manufacturing, while emphasizing a mega-consumption M&A mentality fed by finance and Wall Street. We have all been along for the ride like Romney’s Irish Setter Seamus strapped in a roof top kennel for a twelve hour drive to Canada.
There has been only one time in the last thirty-two years when real purchasing power of the middle class has increased — during President Clinton’s two terms. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/10/clinton_economy.html At the same time, we had a balanced budget and the lowest discretionary spending as a percentage of the federal budget since Eisenhower. As we dig ourselves out of the disaster of the Bush years, we hear the same old braying about the trickling down of the supply side theory. We have lost almost two generations to this cockeyed experiment based upon an economic political theory that was laughable to every economist at the time except a few nutcases who shared neighborhood watch duties with the Unibomber. Other than Rachel Maddow, no one has had the guts to say it this plainly, “We tried giving breaks to rich people hoping it would somehow help out the rest of us — it didn’t work.”
The next time you hear some politician talking about thirty-five percent being the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world — just know this: The effective tax rate for American corporations is about 13% and the rest of the industrialized world’s effective tax rate is about 16%. In fact, the American corporate “effective” tax rate fell to a 40-year low in 2011. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/30/456005/reminder-corporate-taxes-very-low/ That’s right, the whole kit and kaboodle, the whole enchilada, the whole shebang, the whole McGillicuddy — the whole thing is a BIG FAT LIE.
When you apply the “why” question, the answer is the same, if the oligarchs can reduce their tax rate while at the same time being stealthy about no real tax reform abolishing loopholes, then the shekels will be flowing thus triggering another round of Wall Street/Hedgehogs’ Feast of Bacchus resulting in yet another boom/bust cycle. You will never hear Grover Norquist or any of his ilk talking about the “effective tax rate” because the effective tax rate is what corporations pay after feeding at the trough of exemptions, accelerated depreciation, and off-shore “parking” of off-shore profits from what used to be American jobs. We have also heard loads from Romney and his animators about “creative destruction.” Their cartoon version of the economy belies the truth about creative destruction — it is nothing more than super-heating a segment of the economy to white hot orgasm and pulling out before the collapse, reaping the obscene profits while leaving the unwitting, duped investors holding a very ugly and needy baby — not unlike their theories on birth control.
The “why” of it all seems to be simple — with the disparity of income distribution being greater than at any time since the Great Depression — enough is never enough. The big dawgs have an insatiable appetite with Mittens and Paul Ryan at the ready to let them gorge themselves to the point of foundering. (Foundering is an old Appalachian term for an animal eating so much it basically lays down and dies. It seems a most appropriate descriptor.)
This election will be an important one, but not for the reasons so often espoused by the talking bobble heads. This is going to be an election about the efficacy of the supply side failures of the past thirty-two years. This madness has to stop or heavens to Seamus, a rooftop kennel on the way to Canada might not be all that bad. So to answer the “why” question, our collective reason for being might just be bringing some sanity to these outrageous claims and putting an end for all time to a political slogan masquerading as an economic theory.
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