Son Jules, at school in California, sends this little item:
“Exxon Mobil pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers, which is 65,000,000 people. The tax rate for the bottom 50% is only 3% of adjusted gross income; the tax rate for Exxon was 41%.”
Conservatives will be quick to spot the corruption. The people who pay little in taxes discover that they can vote themselves someone else’s money. Social Security… Medicare… education… protection – they want it all – as long as they don’t have to pay for it themselves.
But while the poor are trying to steal from the rich, the rich are doing their share of larceny too. Publicly-funded universities educate the sons and daughters of the well-to-do, not the poor. Retirement programs benefit those who live longest – again, the well-to-do, not the poor. Farmers want price supports… factory owners want tariffs… lobbyists want tax breaks hidden in the pleats of worthy legislation… And people with financial assets want protection from losses. In step the feds with money and credit – holding off crashes, avoiding bankruptcies and disguising losses with inflation… thus, shifting the burden of mistakes from investors to consumers.
As a democracy matures, the web of connivance and corruption becomes so tangled that people don’t know whether they come out ahead or behind. Then, the weight of it causes the whole society to sag.
Markets and Money