Today’s number is 87,000. Today’s quiz concerns that number and its position in today’s political discussion. What does 87,000 represent? Is it:
- The number of new jack-booted thugs armed with assault rifles who will enforce the IRS’s evil mandates, shooting any who resist the decrees from the Federal government,
2 . The number of hires the IRS will need over the next 10 years to off-set retirements, and improve the response time for an agency that has been starved of resources for over a decade.
OK, I know that was an easy question. If you live totally in a right-wing cocoon, the answer is 1. If you have any relationship with reality, the answer is 2.
It really shows up the hypocrisy of the Republican party as to how they frame the issue around the increased resources for the IRS. What they don’t tell their gullible rubes is that a few of these 87,000 proposed employees will end up auditing high-income returns, making it less likely that overt cheating will avoid scrutiny. Look, a vast majority of taxpayers do not have any opportunity for not paying their fair share of taxes. They don’t have ownership of limited partnerships, where income and deductions are played with by accountants of mixed morality. They cannot play with depreciation of assets, since they do not own assets they could depreciate. It has been easier to look for those who cheat by playing with their eligibility for earned income tax credits. Certainly we do not want those who are benefiting from taxation redistribution programs to cheat and cause them to benefit excessively from taxpayer’s largesse. But to pretend that significant amounts of dollars can be recovered by keeping the IRS status quo, and mandating increased work requirements for benefit programs shows the true financial illiteracy of the would-be ruling class. Either that, or they are pretending to care about the true victims of our economy by appealing to moral instincts by lying about the unworthiness of those who are losing out in the national income race.
Over the last several decades, the mantra of the Republicans has been that any expenditures from the Federal Government are unjustified, and wasteful. Therefore, it is their bounden duty to reduce taxes on the productive class (themselves), while imposing strict limits on any redistribution of income to the wastrel class (those who are in the lower bounds of the income distribution). It is as if the belief system of Ayn Rand has sprung to life in their political pronouncements. What they have is theirs, since they earned it. No mention of them rigging the system to ensure their types of income is treated more leniently than income earned through participation in the labor market.
And now they would have us believe the proposed increase in the IRS budget is the number 1 evil they are fighting against. Well, I am of the belief that taxes are the rent we pay to live in a civilized society. Taxation does not represent evil taking. And when overt lying becomes a main form of political discourse, it is the responsibility of others to speak up against these lies from becoming embedded in the beliefs of those who drink the swill of the upper classes.
There has always been an element of wish fulfillment in Republican politics. They always represented the capitalists against the majority who do not have capital to play with. Their trick now has been to convince a substantial portion of the laboring class that they are being deceived by the evil of the social issues favored by Democrats. They have subjugated their economic pitches by wailing about the degradations they see in their culture war issues. Meanwhile, those who provide the political lubricant (money) in the Republican party are literally laughing on their way to the bank as they chortle over the tricks they are playing on the lower classes. It has been their dream to reduce the portion of national income going to those who labor for their living. That way, corporate profits can increase, and they benefit from the share buybacks and increased dividends accruing to those with capital.
I am one of the fortunate ones in this economy. I went to college and majored in a STEM field which was in demand when I graduated. I was able to save throughout my career, and through a combination of pension, and inheritance, I’ve been able to build up my share of capital. I look to deploy my capital in investments where dividends play a significant role in total return. But I see how unfair our income distribution is. Look at the graph of total US income:
Nearly 40% of households earned less than $55,000 dollars in 2019. And while that income may be acceptable in places like West Virginia, it is untenable to live on that amount in our urban centers. So for those who claim only the undeserving in society need assistance, I maintain it is the system imposed upon this nation which precludes many dedicated laborers from earning a decent wage. We either need a system which increases the value of labor, or we need a national program to aid those who find themselves at the bottom of the heap in this ongoing race to the top. Of course, since service worker wages are the foundation of the economy, rises in service worker pay is reflected in higher costs for the products of those service workers. And immediately, concern grows about the inflation those higher costs produce. Of course, blame is attributed to high spending from the Federal Government. And those Republicans who seek to deceive the foolish masses, trumpet their folderol loudly so people believe their words instead of seeking to analyze the situation for themselves.