DANGER AHEAD IN DC: CORPORATIONS AND THE WEALTHY POISED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE

ABSTRACT: Some people in Washington, D.C., are taking the election results as an indication that Republican policy priorities are in favor with the public. Furthermore, the Republicans in Congress and the President may want to show that they can work together, get things done, and pass new laws. Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat from Massachusetts) warns us that big corporations and their lobbyists will try to take advantage of this situation. (As my previous post (11/25/14) documented, the conclusion that Republican policy priorities are in favor with the public is not an accurate interpretation of the election results.)

Given Warren’s warning, it’s little surprise that the House this week passed a massive package extending tax breaks primarily for banks, investment firms, and other wealthy interests. The more than 50 tax breaks included in the bill would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. Surprisingly, there seems to be little concern over this cost. Previously, less expensive initiatives (that benefited the unemployed, low income families, and families with child care expenses) were defeated, supposedly because they were unaffordable.

I encourage you to contact your Senators and the President to let them know that these tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy individuals, if warranted, should be paid for by closing loopholes benefiting these same groups. Furthermore, I’d encourage you to note that the focus of any tax breaks and other legislation should be on helping low and middle income families and individuals, not wealthy corporations and individuals.

FULL POST: Some people in Washington, D.C., are taking the election results as an indication that Republican policy priorities are in favor with the public. This may include President Obama, who may feel that he has to reach out and accommodate the new Republican majorities in the Senate and House. Furthermore, the Republicans in Congress and the President may want to show that they can work together, get things done, and pass new laws. Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat from Massachusetts) warns us that big corporations and their lobbyists will try to take advantage of this situation. [1]

As my previous post (11/25/14) documented, the conclusion that Republican policy priorities are in favor with the public is not an accurate interpretation of the election results. Truly progressive candidates won in the US Senate and elsewhere. Progressive ballot initiatives won across the country, including in states that were electing Republicans. The public supports, among other things, improved pay and paid sick leave for low income workers, as well as stronger regulation of campaign spending and the ethics of elected officials.

As Warren writes, “The stock market and gross domestic product keep going up, while families are getting squeezed hard by an economy that isn’t working for them. … they see a government that bows and scrapes for big corporations, big banks, big oil companies and big political donors — and they know this government does not work for them.” She states that we the people should look carefully at any new laws that surface in Congress or get to the President’s desk to be signed and examine whose interests they serve. The big corporations, their lobbyists, and the elected officials whose campaigns they and their wealthy allies funded will try to take advantage of the situation to push their agendas and benefit their interests. [2]

She warns us to be on the lookout for “trade deals negotiated in secret, with chief executives invited into the room while the workers whose jobs are on the line are locked outside. … tax deals that carefully protect … billionaires and big oil and other big political donors, while working families just get hammered.” She also is concerned that the big Wall Street financial corporations will try to weaken regulation despite their billions in profits and huge executive pay packages, which they are reaping only because of huge public bailouts after they crashed our economy in 2008.

Given Warren’s warning, it’s little surprise that the House this week passed a massive package extending tax breaks primarily for banks, investment firms, and other wealthy interests, such as NASCAR race track owners, filmmakers, racehorse owners, and rum producers. However, the bill fails to extend tax breaks for low income families and for child care expenses. There are some benefits for teachers, commuters, individuals in states without an income tax, and small businesses, but the bulk of the benefits go to wealthy corporations and individuals. [3]

The more than 50 tax breaks included in the bill would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade. Surprisingly, there seems to be little concern over this cost. Previously, less expensive initiatives (that benefited the unemployed, low income families, and families with child care expenses) were defeated, supposedly because they were unaffordable.

The President has threatened to veto the bill, saying it favors large corporations over families and the middle class. The Senate’s leaders have not yet indicated what they plan to do with this legislation from the House.

I encourage you to contact your Senators and the President to let them know that these tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy individuals, if warranted, should be paid for by closing loopholes benefiting these same groups. Furthermore, I’d encourage you to note that the focus of any tax breaks and other legislation should be on helping low and middle income families and individuals, not wealthy corporations and individuals. Let’s help those who need it the most, not those who already have the most.

[1]       Warren, E., 11/11/14, “It’s time to work on America’s agenda,” The Washington Post

[2]       Warren, E., 11/11/14, see above

[3]       Ohlemacher, S., 12/4/14, “House votes to extend tax breaks through December,” The Boston Globe from the Associated Press

Advertisements

Comments and discussion are encouraged

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: