Since I wrote my previous article titled "Lying and Dissembling" I have received numerous emails and read numerous articles on Yahooís financial site that deserve dishonorable mention. Indeed, the other readers of the Yahoo articles are doing an excellent job debunking the continuous garbage from most of Yahooís "financial" reporters. What I want to cover in this short article will be confined to two examples: 1) An email about Americans buying goods produced in foreign countries while bemoaning the fact that they canít find jobs, and 2) Articles and reader comments pertaining to the published figure that 47 percent of our citizens pay no income tax.
About the buying of goods produced in foreign countries, let me make a few ignored points very clear. First, the common citizens who buy those goods are not responsible for the fact that our corporations and our federal government are entirely responsible for making certain American manufacture would go down the tubes. You canít buy at least 80 to 90 percent of the goods as manufactured within the USA because they simply are not made here. The common citizen did not cause offshoring or free trade agreements without trade parity to happen. The big guys in business and government did it all. They all deserve life sentences in prison, at the very least, for premeditated destruction of the lives of the common citizens in the USA.
Donít even think for a moment that the common citizen can be rightfully blamed for our poor employment environment. The common argument from the myopic idiots is that and has been that if you bought American you wouldnít have wound up without jobs. Bunk! Let me explain. If a capitalist producer is correct in seeking minimum costs to produce products to enhance profits (by seeking cheap foreign labor) then how is it that the capitalist consumers are not also rightfully eligible to seek minimum costs to improve their standard of living, i.e., to stretch the buying power of their income? The two obvious "rights" and "right behaviors" fit together. The second canít happen without the first. The immorality of the act of moving manufacturing offshore for profit motives is thus obvious in the ultimate destruction of the USA job market. It required collusion of business and government and public denial of future consequences to the USA job market. All the little guy had to do was behave like a capitalist in seeking minimum cost, to complete our destruction.
Our citizens today really have no choice but to buy goods produced in foreign countries because 80 to 90 percent of the essentials they buy are not made in the USA. The only alternative is to not buy at all, ergo, move towards a severe decline in standard of living. Of course, that is and has been happening to an ever-larger pool of USA citizens anyway as we have ever fewer jobs that pay well and a growing population with changing demographics that worsen our ability to compete while maintaining a good standard of living. Thus it is that the entire issue of "buying American" is moot and a pathetic dodging of reality.
Think how you would react if your government worked in collusion with corporations to flood our country with heroin? That absurd example is really not all that absurd. Have we not been destroyed by "ingesting" that which ultimately kills our economy, and where did it come from, and who did it? Sure, for a while some of it felt pretty good, but as with drug addiction, eventually the consumer is destroyed. Ah, capitalism! But where were the protections of our country for the future?
It is interesting to me that the two topics in this article dovetail together beautifully, and now it is time to look at the "47" percent of Americans who pay no income tax. We are commonly presented with lament and anger from the "angry taxpayer articles" that we are carrying a huge number of loafers on our backs due to socialism in government. How pathetic! I will now stuff that argument back up into the foul smelling hole it came from.
First, a simple number like 47 is in and of itself convenient for attracting negative attention, as we commonly assume that responsible citizens all pay taxes. Unfortunately, one missing area includes all the background statistics going back fifty years or more that could and should let us know how that number has varied over time, and realistically why. Another far more interesting consideration is that a country with a massive unemployment problem cannot help but have a high percentage of the citizenry earning too little to pay taxes. More to the point, when any nation is managed so poorly that 47 percent of its population canít even afford to pay taxes (or otherwise would never have paid taxes any time in the past due to having no personal income, for example, being a stay at home wife in 1950) then where does the responsibility lie?
A true rate of unemployment is that magic unknown number that speaks of all who would be working by choice if there were jobs that provided decent income opposite the cost of living. The 9.6 percent unemployment figure is a poor joke. The other more accurate "U" measure indicates 17 percent. But the real number is absurdly higher, and it makes up a good sized chunk of the 47 percent who "donít pay any income tax!" Of course, if Luis and Marta have six children and Marta stays at home to take care of them then only Luis is employed, maybe. So, how do we determine the number 47? If Luis doesnít earn a lot of income is it any wonder that he and Marta will pay no income taxes? Where are the real problems?
Think about the real cost of living and the reality of inflation, and what it really takes to "live the good life." Be honest about your increased costs for food, energy, cars, houses, medical care and non-federal taxes in the past ten years. Ignore the Consumer Price Index, as it is a conjured number that ignores the real changes in the cost of living for the things we actually have to buy to live. Note that inflation combined with few or no raises for almost all of those employed results in a severe decline in standard of living over time. So do increased property and sales taxes. And of course the absence of raises is a direct result of offshoring jobs, for the labor pool has no power to demand decent income opposite the cost of living. If you tell me you are "living the good life" with an after tax income of less than $30,000 per family member then I have to say that you are clueless about the good life. And note that half of our families in the USA earn $60,000 or less per family, not family member, annually. Of those, only half earn more than $30,000 as a family. Only 26 percent of our families have incomes at or above $100,000 per year, and again, that is by family, not family member. This means in plain language that if you are a family of four and your family income is less than $120,000 per year you are simply not living well. You canít afford many of the nicer things in life without large sequential sacrifices. Why would you want to live that way? Why do you tolerate any act or acts by anyone or any company or any government that are designed/planned to keep you from having the good life?
To say that 47 percent of our citizens pay no incomes taxes can easily be seen as the discontinuity between growth in income and growth in cost of living. A few decades of some contained prices from outfits like Wal-Mart® seem to counter that argument, or at least mute its consequences, but please note that the very act of having Wal-Mart® was a primary source of the cheaply produced foreign goods and our subsequent job market consequences. Beat up the poor people for trying to stretch their meager income? Give me a break! The two prime problems are greedy business and government people and economic non-contributors or low contributors who reproduce excessively.
If you do not contain and reduce the population of non-contributors you will always be diverting important tax revenue from infrastructure, education and investment in economic growth for all the contributing citizens. Yet we also have massive military expenses while countries like Brazil are having massive growth due to, among other things, lack of foreign energy dependence and virtually no military expenses. But more to the immediate point, I wonder once again about where that number 47 comes from? Is it not in large part an unavoidable consequence of both socialism and hyper-capitalism, especially when they coexist?
How could we as a nation be doing a worse job in our own evolution? I am dumbfounded by the obviousness of our problems, the reasons we have them and our failure to correct them. Only the leaders can do that, not the little people, and if you havenít learned by now that our voting hasnít changed a damn thing then you are hopeless. Oh, and finally I wonder why Brazil isnít having a war against terrorism? Arenít they Catholic capitalists and thus infidels? Perhaps I will write a future article on the absurdity of our "war on terror."