Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Class Warfare, Time For Democrats To Be Democrats Again

Democrats have allowed themselves to be forced to away from their strength. That strength being the theme of the Democratic Party being the party of the people. That theme and the Democrats shrinking and not taking on a Republican whenever they mention class warfare has gone on far too long. Why the Democrats cower when class warfare is mentioned I'll never know. Allowing this to happen means the game has been played on the Republicans turf by taking away this Democratic strength. Yep, class warfare, I said it.

It's time for the Democrats to start pointing it out, and NOW! Most economic indicators over the last five years show that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer – the middle class too. Try this, can you name one piece of legislation passed in the last 5 years to help or aid the working person, working families, or just plain ol' workers? I bet you could rattle off a whole list of those passed that help the wealthy! I know I can. The point, in a round about way, is that whether the Democrats want to play or not the Republicans have been playing the class warfare game for decades now.

Harken, no pun intended, back to the days of yore when our country's economy was run by Robber Barons. Back in the days before the eight hour work day, the five hour work week, child labor laws, and collective bargaining, and again the list goes on. Most of us have either forgotten or have never known that the middle class in this country didn't exist until after World War II. Yes, that's right, another New Deal creation that benefited the country.

There is an simple narrative, I'm sorry they're called frames now, to all this that the Democrats are missing and even the Republicans agree with. We have an unfair tax system in Texas. That is the reason property taxes weren't lowered last year. It's what John Sharp has been saying since he was appointed to head the governors “crony commission”. Hell, even Rep. Krusee said it. It's what the recently released Tax Foundation study shows. This unfairness manifests itself in the fact that most businesses, corporations, and wealthy individuals pay way too little in taxes and the tax burden falls way too heavily on the poor and the middle class. Fair Taxes, that's what we are for.

For all this study shows about which states have business friendly tax codes – why isn't there ever a well publicized study about which state have resident friendly tax codes? - one of the most interesting is the analysis on those huge tax-payer give-aways to corporations to entice them to bring their new boon-doggle to your city, Texas one of 10 best for taxes:
Low tax rates are attractive to business investments and help states like Texas lure new businesses and jobs, (Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation) said. But corporate giveaways like tax abatements are not a good way to lure new business, he said.

Like steroids for athletes, tax abatements provide short-term gains but have no lasting value, Hodge said.

States must not rely on tax abatements and incentives to land new jobs and companies, but must instead create a sound tax structure, he said.
Oh yes, those give-aways to the corporate saviors are not all they're cracked up to be. To read more on this see this article, Tax Increment Financing: A Bad Bargain for Taxpayers.

The other interesting part of the story on the business taxes was this exchange between think-tanks on opposite ends of the spectrum:
The commission is looking at a broad-based business tax to replace the state's franchise tax, which many businesses don't pay, said Byron Schlomach, chief economist with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based organization that favors limited government.

"The tax structure is good the way it is," Schlomach said. "Right now what we run a risk of doing is looking at this relatively strong economy and thinking now is the time we can go out grab some of that money for public purposes. The main thing we need to do is keep control of government growth."

Most businesses, especially large ones, benefit more from having a skilled and educated work force than from what they might pay in state and local taxes, said Don Baylor, policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin-based think tank that serves as an advocate for moderate-to low-income Texans.

"We think it's extremely important to stress that the study really only focuses on taxes," Baylor said.

A skilled work force and a top-flight post-secondary system — including community, technical and four-year colleges — is more important than the tax burden to most businesses, he said.
I've always said the best economic development is a well educated work force. You'll also notice the right-winger thinks our tax structure is fine, jus the way it is.

What all this means is that for too many years the Democrats have be too afraid of being accused of playing class warfare and scared away from pointing out the economic inequities arising in our country by Republicans that are doing just that. I'm sure there are more than a few Democrats that have been complicit and that is why they've been silent. I remember in 2000 election and Al Gore was behind going into the convention and went populist and even had some class warfare in his speech. He got a bounce out of that convention until the media started jumping on him for it and his consultants made him back down. Democrats are the party of the people, or were. That is the message that wins for Democrats and not were like a Republican only nicer. Fighting for the people over the powerful is what got Democrats to power and going back to fighting that battle, whether it's called class warfare or something else, is what will bring Democrats back to power.


Post a Comment

<< Home

free web counters
Circuit City Coupon