Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Corporate Taxes As % Of Federal Revenue: In 1950, 27.5. In 2003, 7.4.

There's more to this link than just that statistic, but it speaks volumes about how corporations have shifted the tax burden off of their shoulders and onto ours. Here's a little bit more:

* Corporate revenues represented only 7.4 percent of all federal tax receipts in 2003. With the exception of 1983, this represents the lowest level on record (these data go back to 1934). * As a result of these low levels, corporate revenues in 2003 represented only 1.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (the basic measure of the size of the economy), the lowest level since 1983, the year in which corporate receipts plummeted to levels last seen in the 1930s. * Corporate income tax revenues are lower in the United States than in most European countries. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, total federal and state corporate income tax revenues in the United States in 2000, measured as a share of the economy, were about one-quarter less than the average for other OECD member countries. Thirty-five years ago, the opposite was true -- corporations in the United States bore a heavier burden than their European counterparts.
Speaking of our European counterparts, here's a nice little fact sheet comparing the US' performance, in various areas, with that of European nations and Japan. As you can see, we're slipping. Badly. Remember thirty years ago when your dad's income sufficed to put you through college? Now you've got kids, and both you and your spouse work, and you still can't save any money. This is one reason why: As the corporations have dumped more of the tax burden onto folks like you and me, our tax burdens have gone up and with less to show for them in terms of social programs, as the corporations aren't even coming close to pulling their own weight.

So ignorant of recent history are most Americans that I have yet to run across a young person who realizes that one-income families were the norm in the early post WWII decades. They seem kind of skeptical when you start talking about it.

This is what happens when Republicans rule, eternally 1879.

If we ever get the upper hand again we have to change every provision in the constitution that the courts have used to suppress the rights of workers and to promote the oligarchs. Our constitution as written and, or, as interpreted is geared towards the interests of the class of aristocrats who wrote it and who have used it to their advantage. It is an anti-democratic, anti-working class relic of the dying stages of feudalism. The enlightenment veneer placed over that is paper thin.

The only progress that has been won has been through the actions of the common people. They have forced the courts and the legislatures to grant them some temporary concessions but those have been taken back by the servants of the oligarchs. We have to make fundamental change. The first of those is to kill the Frankenstein's monster of corporate persons.
Even fewer Americans know that the Revolutionary War was primarily a revolt against corporations. The British Crown established monopolies that forced people to consume goods, like tea, at the price and quality and convenience of the Crown.

Our Constitution is actually a pretty good document. Even the infamous "three-fifths" provision in the original doesn't actually define slaves as sub-human. The problem is in the interpretation, dating to the late 19th century, of corporations as legally equivalent to people.

In a legal sense, corporations are problematic. Granting people a limitation on personal liability is essential for large, high-risk enteprises. If one concedes the basic concept of the limitation of liability for a group of individuals, then the entity created as the vehicle to do their business has to be able to sign legally-binding contracts, etc. This power is exercised through the president as an agent of the company, not as himself as an individual.

I think the solution is to make the corporation a limited individual, whose independence is strictly limited to its business. Most corporate advertising is not done for a direct business reason, but to gain political influence. I don't know how to handle that problem. Probably the only real solution is Teddy Roosevelt's: break the big combines down to human size.
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