An 18-year-old Mike Brown was walking to his grandmother’s house one summer afternoon in Ferguson Missouri. An officer stops him for jaywalking. He ends up lying dead in the road for four hours. Walter Scott is pulled over for a broken taillight in a high poverty area in South Carolina. He flees- presumably out of fear of back child support owed to the state. Minutes later, he is dead on the ground, shot in the back. A 16-year-old girl is thrown across a classroom by a school cop for failing to relinquish her cell phone.
It is bad enough when towns use speed traps to generate revenue from out-of-towners, who certainly aren't going to waste their time to return to contest a ticket, but to exploit the local downtrodden population is Dickensian at best. The authors' words should be widely circulated to educate the masses on the uses and abuses of tax cuts by Austerity Inc.
Wouldn't it be great if people could decide on an individual basis what their tax dollar would be spent on- At present 51%+ goes to the Pentagon War Machine- Now wouldn't it be great if there were A way to individually deny this money going towards these stupid assed Wars, to instead be spent on local social programs and infrastructure...This "Democracy" is really no Democracy at all- It is pure kleptocracy for armaments manufacturers and private contractor Armies- Socialism for the already wealthy...."Democratic Representative Government" is as much an oxymoron as "Military Intelligence"!!!!
What A tragic indictment of our society that ties local funding to the deaths of these essentially innocent Black youths-
I say: Power to the People and down with austerity!
Expanding Dolan and Lord's excellent analysis to include not only the ever expanding tax breaks that the wealthy get but also the scores of tax breaks that have been taken away from the 99%, mostly as a result of 1986 "tax reform", one of the first actions the newly formed Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) championed.
One of the many examples is that all taxpayers could deduct charitable contributions until 1986 "reform" limited such deductions only to businesses and to taxpayers who itemize deductions, thereby eliminating that deduction for tens of millions of US income taxpayers.
The result of eliminating this deduction for most off the 99% is three decades of politicians adding more creative ways for the 1% to determine the direction of charities to the point that Mark Zuckerburg is being praised for establishing a limited liability corporation (LLC) disguised as a charitable organization.
Death and taxes
My feeling is that almost no candidate for any major elective office has any idea how to manage an extremely complex system like the federal government, let alone a complex federal system embedded within a world system and which includes 50 not quite so complex systems as state governments. Simple solutions for simple problem very quickly turn out to be very complex indeed. George Lakoff in his Little Blue Book and his Elephant books discusses this issue in terms of systemic causation. Unfortunately he only discusses it, he does not tell us how to evaluate complex systems and modify them to produce "better" results. Even more unfortunately most of the people we tend to rely upon don't even know what a complex system with systemic causation is.
The economists that governments hire rarely emerge from their mathematical haze and quickly duck back in after making some intelligible comment. The political scientists that talk to Democrats are truly experts at telling us how to loose elections, those that speak Republican are better at winning because they know people in advertising and have taken lessons from the propagandists who worked for Hitler and his ilk. Social scientists generally don't know what the words mean so most of them aren't much help and the few who do are carefully ignored by any "realistic" politician. There are a very few who would work for a Republican but they are quickly purged from the ranks as soon as their "anti-social behavior" is noticed.
So whats a poor politician to do? They go back to the tried and true method of working for the best paying contributor. Obviously, I do good work and I can't continue my work if I don't get re-elected.
Until we have some better way of evaluating the results of policies we are going to keep getting politicians whose only way of evaluating their efforts is does it help me get elected again. And our electorate, who most of the time doesn't care much and even if they did have no way of evaluating whether one policy will work better for them than another, typically follows the best propagandist.
I really, really wish that I had the answer but I don't. My best suggestion is to follow (again) Lakoff's idea and create a number of well financed "Think Tanks" and get some good people working on these ideas. Some 40 to 50 years ago the Republicans had this idea, and it worked. The only problem was that they choose a philosophical position that if pushed to its extreme will destroy our nation and our world. This position is "The most good for those few who already have the most money." I would recommend a philosophy of "The most good for all of the people and leaving no one behind and opportunity for anyone to succeed so long as it doesn't injure others." I have heard it said that such decisions are above my pay grade. Fine. Now we need to find some people and make sure that it is within their pay grade and position description.
Taxes only work if they are established by all the people in referendums, not by a few politicians in corporate boardrooms.
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