OPINION

Like a comet losing its mass as it makes its way through the cosmos, so too is the corporate income tax shedding its fiscal mass. With help from the anti-tax cabal in Washington, corporate income taxes are providing a smaller and smaller portion of the monies needed to keep the country operating.

Little by little, under the guise of providing money for investment and job creation, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich. With all the tax cutting for the rich, there is not enough money for the needs of working people. So what do we see? Federal programs cut or eliminated. State governments with huge budget deficits looming. Cities raising taxes, cutting services, eliminating jobs and privatizing services. All in the cowardly and futile attempt to balance the budget on the backs of working people and the most vulnerable in our society. What’s the problem? There isn’t any, as far as G.W. is concerned. Joblessness, homelessness, bankruptcies, foreclosures, huge debts both at home and abroad are not even on his radar screen.

Under the camouflage of calling for smaller and more efficient government, the Republican right wing has a hit list of agencies and programs that it is slowly strangling in order to make them ineffective or to kill them outright. Right-wing ideologue Grover Norquist was once was quoted as saying that the ideal size of government was when it was small enough to drown in a bathtub. That is just another way of calling for the elimination of all programs and agencies that benefit working people.

Meanwhile, the corporate vultures and their Wall Street masters are never sated and do whatever it takes to keep their profits rolling in. Whether it be downsizing, outsourcing, corporate buyouts or job elimination, they show no mercy. Just keep the profits rolling in, they say.

According to the Center for Tax Justice, 82 of the largest corporations paid no income tax in one or more years during Bush’s first term. Most Fortune 500 companies get most of their profits from their overseas operations. Many of them have lobbied for years to get legislation passed that would allow them to bring their billions in profits home without having to pay the current corporate tax rate of 35 percent. The latest proposal would slash the rate to 5.25 percent. This obscene piece of legislation is being made more palatable by instituting a few paltry restrictions, yet leaving enough loopholes in place to make it possible for the profits to enter this country with such a minute tax rate. Sounds like money laundering to me! Is it any wonder that our cities are in the shape they are in? It is estimated that there is in excess of $500 billion in overseas profits waiting to be “repatriated.”

When the famous bank robber Willie Sutton once was asked why he robbed banks, he answered, “Because that’s where the money’s at.” So instead of trying to get blood out of a turnip (by taxing working people dry), why not call for a corporate tax rate that would fully fund, reinstate and expand all the social programs that were weakened or eliminated under years of assault by this and previous administrations?

Bill Mackovich is a retired industrial worker in Chicago.

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