ATI! Because it kind of rocks.

     
 

House of Cards
2001-10-31 22:30:14


Power Corrupts
 
I think you're less of a freak than you want to be but more of a freak than you want to admit to your mom.
-- Tjames Madison

 

Now I'll admit to being somewhat hung over after dinner and a lot of drinks at some friends' house last night. But upon viewing the news of the House-passed "economic stimulus package," I had to run to the bathroom for session of deep, passionate, oral worship with my toilet.

The "package" is yet another in a series of recent, heinous Federal decisions made in the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks, mainly out of the need to "do something about the economy." This package will do something alright, it will empty the Federal Treasury and return money to corporations that have no intention whatsoever of using the windfall to rehire thousands of the recently downsized. The truth of the matter is that these corporations will use the retroactive Alternative Minimum Tax write-off to offset losses in the coming quarters, thereby giving the illusion that they are on the road to Wellville, when they will actually be nowhere near that point. Dick Armey claims that this will spur investment, though his logic is specious at best: just how much confidence are we supposed to have in corporations that are propped up by the government?

What's even more hideous about this Republican shim-sham dance is that the refund on Alternative Minimum Taxes does absolutely nothing to help the average citizen. It's no big secret that many dot-bombers are still paying off the AMT bills that came due as a result of those wonderfully inflated company stock option values during the Internet boom times. Now that most of those shares are worthless, their owners find themselves in the infuriating bind of paying off taxes that are many times higher than the value of the shares themselves. Add that to the fact that many of these folks are still unemployed, and you have an entire class of people that need tax relief the worst, and yet they will not get it. Instead, their "relief" has been passed on to large corporations, while a pittance is handed to the distressed in the form of a 2% income tax cut that will arrive next year.

And what's with this nonsense about Republicans being opposed to "entitlements"? Sure, they're opposed to providing Federal funds for the extension of COBRA benefits for the recently fired, as well as an extension of unemployment benefits to see individuals through the current crisis. Both of these elements could help ease the pressure and strain of the newly unemployed, thus keeping their overall mental state in a higher, better condition. Yet this seems to be of absolutely no importance to the fools who gleefully hand out multi-billion-dollar entitlements to their corporate friends. The corporate AMT cuts are retroactive to 15 years ago, which would allow corporations to skip out on paying taxes on all their investment profits from the 8-years of economic prosperity that ended so suddenly last year. Seems that corporate conglomerates will now be "entitled" to escape their dues as American businesses.

It's apparent that our leaders have returned to "business as usual" after the Sept. 11th attacks. Congress is leading the curve right back to the same preposterous fallacies that hallmarked it's late-20th Century record. Republicans would like us to swallow the line that the House package will restore business investment, stop job losses, and restore consumer confidence in time for that all-important Christmas shopping season. Even a devoted coprophiliac would have trouble taking all of that down.

By my corporate calendar, Christmas decorations will begin going up in shop windows on Thursday, November 1st, as they have for at least the last decade. It's the consumer cycle, and we all know that Santa wakes on All Saints Day. Just how a cut in the corporate AMT will revive consumer confidence in time for sleigh bell delights is not explained by the almighty Right. Nor does their sophistry explain how those same tax breaks will protect the jobs of people whose companies are facing record low demand for their products. It's difficult to get around the basic economic law of supply and demand: if there's no demand for your stuff, you don't need the workers who supply it. Equally ludicrous is the notion that business investment will boom as a result of the AMT gift. What's more likely: 1) corporations receiving this government grant will suddenly reinvest the money into other ailing companies or untested, fledgling businesses; or 2) those same newly-flush corporations will sit on the cash and ride out the recession on it?

Somehow, it's fitting that all this ghastly hocus-pocus is going on around Halloween. It's a trick on the general public, and a treat for the precious few who always seem quite well insulated from any economic upheaval.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

oarsman@pigdog.org


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