Thursday, July 23, 2015

Republicans wants to use Social Security to pay for infrastructure, and they also want to make it easier for super-wealthy Americans to engage in illegal tax evasion

(WPA workers on a bridge project in Buffalo, New York, 1936. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.)

Republican and Tea Party politicians want to utilize Social Security money to help pay for infrastructure, thereby setting "a precedent of raiding Social Security funds for unrelated purposes."

Last year, on the other hand, the Republican National Committee tried to make it easier for super-wealthy Americans to engage in illegal tax evasion, prompting one financial expert to say, "It is mind-boggling that a major political party would even consider endorsing a resolution to facilitate tax evasion." And that was not the first time that Republicans and Tea Partiers have tried to protect illegal tax evasion by the super-wealthy (see, e.g., "Policing Tax Evasion Could Save Billions, But Republicans Won't Fund Enforcement," Huffington Post, April 29, 2011).

(Image courtesy of Demos.)

The United States is losing trillions of dollars due to illegal tax evasion, and most of it is from rich Americans using foreign bank accounts and sketchy tax havens. But, instead of going after tax cheats, the GOP/Tea Party has created a situation where the rest of us have to pay extra taxes "to make up for the funds lost to tax cheating." And now, to add insult to injury, they want to start using our retirement funds to pay for infrastructure repairs even as poverty is increasing among retirees.

This is worth repeating: Not only do we have to pay more taxes, tolls, fees, and fines, at the state & local level, to subsidize illegal tax evasion by the wealthy--tax evasion that the political rights endorses--but we also have to sacrifice our retirement security to pay for infrastructure repairs (if the political right gets its way).

This is what happens when you live in a plutocracy. White collar crime is promoted, and the financial security of the middle-class and poor is repeatedly attacked.   

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recently pointed out, "Our only hope for genuine change is if poor, working class, middle class, black, Latino, and white come together in a powerful movement to take back our economy and democracy from the moneyed interests that now control both." He's right, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. Too many people are more interested in the goings-on of Kim Kardashian's rear end than in the political & economic matters that are going to affect (and eventually destroy) their lives. And too many people believe that Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton--two people who are closely tied to Wall Street--are going to make things better.

(A mini-documentary I made about infrastructure and the WPA.)

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