I have unbelievable news. It’s incredible, mystifying, a veritable conundrum. It’s a riddle wrapped in a shrouded past of enigmatic confoundation. That’s not even a word—I had to invent one, because this news is just baffling:
The Republicans are opposing a tax cut. Moreover, they’re opposing a tax cut that would weaken Social Security. No, I’m serious—really—the Republicans are opposed to extending the payroll tax holiday that’s been in effect for the last year. The tax cut puts around $1,000 extra per year into the pocket of the average American, and the Republicans are opposed to extending it.
Why? Well because right now Democrats are proposing to pay for the extension by putting a tiny surtax (around 3%) on household income beyond $1,000,000. Ah, now that sounds more like it—defending the wealthy at the expense of everyone else—that’s the Republican party I’ve grown to hate. Consider the mystery solved.
Let me just say that personally, I support the extension for two reasons: 1) payroll taxes are regressive in nature and are taken primarily from the lower and middle class, because they are capped at around $110,000. After that point, you don’t pay payroll taxes. And 2) the benefit of the tax cut goes primarily to those same middle and lower class people, who unlike the rich, will spend the money and help stimulate the economy.
However, I would like to point out that tax cuts are a damned backward way of stimulating the economy, and if I had my choice, instead of a tax cut, I’d much rather put construction workers back to work building bridges, roads, and repairing schools. After all, what the fuck does it matter if Americans have an extra $1,000 in their pockets if they only turn around to spend that money at Target buying goods made in China? About as much good as it does for a fat person to ride around the super market in a motorized cart. Get out and walk fatty, and then maybe I won’t have to call you that.
Anyway (that was really mean wasn’t it—damn it, now I feel bad), I guess my point is that it’s unbelievably arrogant of the Republican party to think they’re going to get away with this kind of shit. They’ll do anything they possibly can to prevent taxes being raised on the top 0.1%. ANYTHING. Proof? They’ve refused to compromise when Democrats offered deals as high as 80% cuts in federal spending to 20% revenue increases. Why? To protect the top 0.1%. They tanked the super committee by refusing to raise any revenue, again, to protect the rich. They’ve refused to even debate Obama’s jobs package or its parts for the same reason. And now, even when it comes to a tax cut that would benefit nearly every single working American—a TAX CUT mind you, the only economic strategy in their philosophy—they won’t do it if it means plutocrats who make more than $1 million a year have to pay even slightly higher taxes.
I mean, can you imagine what it would be like if Republicans actually represented the interests of every American with such passion, such resolute political will? This is one of the reasons I fucking swear in these blogs—I know bastardry when I see it, and it makes me angry.
But I want to get back to Target and China. A few weeks ago, I was having dinner with some friends, and the point was made that if Americans simply bought U.S. products, we’d solve a lot of our economic problems. This is a classic Republican strategy: blame the victims. Herman Cain anyone? Oh, and by the way, how can we expect Americans to make intelligent decisions buying products when a huge portion of them can’t even figure out that the Republican Party is fucking them in the asshole on a consistent basis. I mean shit, you’d think they’d notice?
Still, according to most estimates, shoppers spent around $50 billion this past “Black Friday” weekend. That’s a lot of money. The problem is that much of it was at big box retailers, like Target, and let me tell you, just about every goddamn thing in that store is manufactured in China, or some other Asian country where the people are poor and labor is cheap. So yeah, it’s great that everyone spent a bunch of money, but only temporarily, because no one in America made any of that stuff. Thus, the result is that we have more low paying white collar sales jobs, and the stockholders and muckity-mucks can cite larger profits. However, if you read between the lines, that money is not going to build factories, nor is it going to keep anyone employed long term.
The larger point also, is that Americans, quite frankly, aren’t going to buy American for two reasons: 1) price, and 2) availability.
The fact is U.S. manufacturing simply can’t compete with Chinese prices, because not only is labor cheaper and health care a non-issue for their workers, but also because the Chinese government is artificially keeping the value of their currency, the Yen, far below what it should be worth. This means that their exports are unbelievably cheap, and for most Americans, price matters. A lot.
The other problem is availability. In many cases, you can’t find American products in the big box stores, and when you do find a company with a reliably American name, you’ll still find that they’ve moved their manufacturing to China. Some companies have simply been outcompeted, others have retreated to smaller or specialty markets. Unfortunately, what it comes down to is that if there aren’t American made alternatives, at a comparable cost, Americans aren’t going to be very successful correcting this problem by themselves.
What we need are tariffs on Chinese goods. Tariffs on other goods would be great too. Yes, this could place an additional burden on the consumer, but on the flip side, more of our money would stay in our economy, creating real, sustainable jobs. It would be one thing to compete with the Chinese in a fair market, but when they are basically cheating both U.S. workers, and by proxy, consumers, we need our government to act. In this case, no one else can.
You think Republicans are going to do this? HA! We know who they represent. The rich, and only the rich. The ones benefitting off sending jobs to China. And, who want to see taxes raised on the middle class to protect the salaries of millionaires.