Sunday, September 5, 2010

Keep your Friends Close and your Enemies...Where?

By Dennis R. Lieb

The following letter to the editor appeared in Saturday's E-T:

Callahan’s economic plan will help small businesses

Democratic congressional candidate John Callahan announced his intention to “close tax loopholes for companies that outsource jobs or have out-of-country headquarters to avoid paying their ‘fair share’ of taxes” (“Callahan unveils economic plan, Sept. 1).

Republican Rep. Charles Dent complains that this is a tax increase. Dent’s response is exactly what you’d expect from a Republican — protect the fat cats, the heck with everybody else. I don’t deny there will be a tax increase, but it is levied against the people who are taking away jobs that are badly needed by Americans and those who weasel out of paying their taxes by having offshore headquarters. These are the very people who put their own bottom line above the welfare of their fellow Americans.

Callahan would use the money generated by closing tax loopholes to create jobs and help small-business owners get a start, which is needed in these troubled times.

Lower Saucon Township

As a pragmatic person I would agree that part of the problem (a big part actually) is corporate co-option of the regulatory process and taxing structure of the country through the lobbying of trade groups and flat out corporate bribes to Congress. As a simple matter of record review shows, Republicans receive(?) the large majority of these cash infusions but let there be no mistake that the Democrats are far from clean on this issue.

The editorial begs the question though: how does Callahan propose to do what no one before him - going back to the Guilded Age of the JP Morgans, Andrew Carnegies and the Pennsylvania Railroad's Tom Scott (for whom the phrase "going Scott free" was coined) - has managed to accomplish as yet? The Federal government is a vast, unwieldy megalith. Rhetoric from both parties is endless about stopping influence peddling. The bottom line is that neither side really wants
to do anything but talk about it while they continue to collect.

It isn't even possible at the relatively scaled down level of state government. Here is a story from Business Week by Stacy Mitchell of The Institute for Local Self-Reliance about Pa's attempts at tax reductions for the small business owner...and be sure to read the comments of small business owners after the story. I am no fan of Ed Rendell, but in this case doing the right thing exposes some dramatic evidence that things are not as they may seem in the world of small business advocacy. You'll be surprised to see who the good guys and bad guys are in this one. I won't give it away except to say...

Sad...Pathetic...Business as Usual.


noel jones said...

A couple of weeks ago, I flipped on the TV and watched CSPAN for a little while, which I do from time to time, to actually SEE our Congress AT WORK rather than watching the news channels and listening to pundits and politicians TELL us what they are doing.

I was shocked to see that on that particularly day, Democrats had proposed a bill that would end the tax break for companies who send their jobs overseas, and would give a tax break instead to businesses who hired Americans--giving our small businesses a big helping hand in a competitive market. What shocked me is that I had always been told (in sweeping generalizations) that Democrats are the ones who care about PEOPLE, and Republicans are the ones who care about TAX CUTS FOR BUSINESSES, and yet it was Democrats who were proposing ending the the loophole for companies shipping our jobs overseas and giving small businesses a tax cut. The Republicans, one after another, were getting up and fighting it tooth and nail, trying to confuse anyone watching by saying, "it's irresponsible to raise taxes in a recession." This was a fancy walk that Republican congressmen were doing between spin, and an outright lie. They didn't want to look bad for opposing a tax break for small businesses (which is what they were doing), and wanted to keep the fat cats that are in their pockets happy (the huge corporations that ship American jobs overseas and give campaign donations to them) and they knew that their words would be captured in sound bites for the news programs, so they just kept delivering sound bites about Democrats raising taxes, hoping that the average American watching the news that night would dig no farther. So on this issue in congress, we have an almost complete reversal of the traditional roles of Republicans and Democrats, and yet the spin is so thick and the majority of Americans are so lazy (for just busy) that they will get away with calling it what it isn't, and claiming that they are the party that supports small businesses.

One disclaimer: the behavior of our Republicans in Congress is not necessarily indicative of local Republicans, and any local candidates should be assessed by their records, not by the bad behavior of their compatriots in Washington. The RNC has strayed tremendously from the values of Teddy Roosevelt, but local Republicans I've spoken to feel differently.

Anonymous said...

Great Article

I think Republicans just like to make stuff up to spin everything...I'm not anti business, I'm pro business and pro people, we need win win solution that require a balanced approach and this just shows you where they are concerned...


noel jones said...

Both sides use spin plenty, but it does take an incredibly flexible logic and feat of obfuscation to argue AGAINST tax cuts for small businesses proposed by Democrats, and FOR tax loopholes for companies sending jobs overseas, and to still claim to be the party that represents American small businesses.

Local Republicans I know are hard-working business owners and Republicans in the traditional sense--in favor of independence, personal responsibility and entrepreneurship. But on a national level so many have been bought off by big companies that they will do anything those companies ask, including protecting tax breaks for them while they ship American jobs overseas.

Meanwhile people are too busy or disinterested to do their own research, have grown up Republican, and therefore trust Republican politicians to tell them what's what. So if a Republican senator who has just voted down a bill to small businesses tax cuts, all that senator needs to do is get on TV and say, "we're the party for small businesses--they're the party of big government!" and voters pretty much straight-ticket without doing their homework to find out if they are being lied to.

Well, I saw it with my own eyes on CSPAN--congressmen at work--Democrats one at a time arguing to end tax breaks for companies sending jobs overseas, and to give the tax break instead to small businesses, and Republicans one after another fighting to keep things the same for their corporate buddies.

The Republican party needs an internal revolution to clean up the corruption in the party on the national level--I suppose that's what the Tea Party is trying to do--too bad the Tea Party has made a bad name for themselves through their behavior, because what I like about the Tea Party is that those folks are ENGAGED AND DETERMINED. That's more than we can say for most Americans citizens--I have to give them that.

AprilDiana said...

I am not sure I would consider Tea Party people "engaged and determined." The term engaged implies being informed or apprised of pertinent information. Of course, I don't know enough people who consider themselves a part of the Tea Party, but from what I see of them at public events I have attended and clips on the news, they are definitely more "vocal" and "visible" than people in other parties.