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Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Sabotaged by Republicans

Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Sabotaged by Republicans

Senate Republicans don’t care about people. They only care about big business, corporate donors, and their extremely wealthy friends. We knew that when a Republican controlled senate passed President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017. It gave huge tax cuts to corporations and provided a big tax loophole for pass-through income. The bill was advertised as a move that would lower taxes for workers and help businesses expand by providing them with more cash. Most workers saw very small decreases in their taxes and some actually saw their taxes go up a little, but businesses were left with a lot more cash in pocket and they used it to buy back their own stock to line the pockets of their already obscenely rich corporate executives. They did not increase investment any more than they would have otherwise and they did not provide any substantial increases in wages or benefits for workers. Some cities and states saw increases in wages because they mandated higher minimum wages themselves. Republicans in congress refused to increase the minimum wage like they always do.

Trump’s tax-cut was an expensive failure.

So they were fine with their 1.5 Trillion Dollar tax cut for the rich, but they aren’t so fine with a new and much needed coronavirus stimulus bill that will cost somewhere between one to two trillion dollars if most of that money is funneled to the people who really need it – the unemployed workers.

The Democrats focused their efforts on people first, not profits first. They would direct the money to the millions of people in the service industry (restaurants, bars, hotels, ride-share drivers, salon workers, dental hygienists, etc.) who are all out of work. This is a huge sector of our economy. Workers need cash to buy food, pay rent and mortgages, and obtain healthcare – all urgent stuff. The stimulus bill should provide that urgent aid first. A one-time check in the $500 to $1,200 won’t provide the long-term aid they are going to need.

The spending should cover the cost of extending the unemployment insurance for at least a year or two. It should probably force large employers to provide sick pay for as long as is necessary for their workers to recover from COVID-19. The bill should prevent people from losing their jobs because of government-mandated work stoppages. It should make sure that everyone afflicted with the disease gets the healthcare they need regardless of whether or not they have insurance. To put it simply, the stimulus bill can’t be about “creating jobs” right now. It should be all about alleviating hardship and suffering caused by the outbreak, because it can’t help put people back to work until the pandemic is gone, and it looks like that isn’t going to happen for months.

The Republicans’ bill includes $5B for a corporate slush fund. It’s weak on worker retention and has loopholes. It’s treasury lending section is vague. It doesn’t provide provisions to protect people from evictions and foreclosures. It provides zero money for state and local governments. Is that because the states hardest hit are blue states? No additional spending on SNAP when the program will obviously be under extreme pressure. No direct payments for people who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. It offers no help for the uninsured and no help for people with student loans.

What this all adds up to is, as James Martin wrote in The New York Times today, a Moral Evil. That’s suffering caused by the actions of individuals or, in this case, the inaction of individuals. And even worse; the deliberate redirection of resources that should be used to alleviate suffering of the most vulnerable people to the least vulnerable, most wealthy people in our country. That’s right. Who do you think will be the recipients of a slush fund?

Maybe enough Republicans in the Senate will read The Bible tonight and decide to do what Jesus would do (from the James Martin column):

Needless to say, when caring for someone with coronavirus, one should take the necessary precautions in order not to pass on the infection. But for Jesus, the sick or dying person was not the “other,” not one to be blamed, but our brother and sister. When Jesus saw a person in need, the Gospels tell us that his heart was “moved with pity.” He is a model for how we are to care during this crisis: with hearts moved by pity.

I’m not betting on it.

Donald Trump Tweets Flag Burners belong in Jail and should Lose their Citizenship

Donald Trump Tweets Flag Burners belong in Jail and should Lose their Citizenship

Early this morning, Donald Trump woke up and sent off a flurry of tweets including this one:

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail”!

6:55 AM – 29 Nov 2016

What are we to make of this tweet that defies the U.S. Constitution? In 1989 the Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson ruled that burning a flag in protest is political expression protected by the First Amendment. In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled in Afroyim v. Rusk that the 14th Amendment forbids the government from taking away the citizenship of natural born Americans. Is Donald Trump suggesting that congress enact laws to punish flag-burning protesters by incarcerating them for a year and/or stripping them of their citizenship? Based on Supreme Court decisions, if congress did pass such laws, they would immediately be ruled unconstitutional.

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Donald Trump Doesn’t Pay Income Tax, and He’s Proud of it

Donald Trump Doesn’t Pay Income Tax, and He’s Proud of it

trump-clinton-debate-1

During Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump pretty much admitted, without directly saying so, that he doesn’t pay income tax, and he’s very proud of it. Here’s an excerpt from the debate transcript:

CLINTON: Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

That kind of response by people accused of shirking their responsibilities to pay income taxes isn’t new to me. I have heard people say that avoiding paying taxes is like a sport to them. They think of it as a challenge, and they put their all into the game.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t think that’s a good game. She kept talking over his interruption and said:

CLINTON: So if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health. And I think probably he’s not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of our country see what the real reasons are, because it must be something really important, even terrible, that he’s trying to hide.

Charles Krauthammer, longtime conservative Republican pundit for The Washington Post and Fox News, is on the record for not supporting Trump for president. Trump’s self-satisfied statement about avoiding income taxes provided him with more evidence for why Donald Trump is not presidential material. Via Media Matters:

[Donald Trump] couldn’t resist the temptation to be the smart ass and to show that he’s clever. Look, the pride he has is his success. That’s how he defines himself, and he wasn’t ashamed to admit that he could have done this. He was actually conceding that he may not have paid any income tax. Now, in a boardroom with a bunch of other CEOs and you’re boasting about your success, you say that. You don’t say it in a presidential campaign. Whereas Hillary said today, if it’s smart not to pay any taxes and you’re a billionaire, well what about the rest of us? And I think this thing could have legs, first concession that he may not have paid taxes.

Or to put it another way, in the words of The Rude Pundit:

And she wiped the floor with him on his tax returns. I cannot remember a more bizarre moment in a debate than Trump saying, proudly, about not paying any federal income taxes, “That makes me smart.” No, motherfucker, that makes you a pathetic worm who gets all the benefits of the government without contributing when you brag about how much money you have.

Right. He wants to “Make America Great Again” but he doesn’t think he should pay taxes, and his tax plan is to cut taxes for all his billionaire friends that aren’t smart enough to figure out how they can pay nothing.

However, I did find a post on Crooked Timber by Corey Robin who thinks that Trump’s boastful comment about avoiding taxes may have been to his advantage:

On the other hand, there’s a not so small current in American politics that would hear that, that Trump didn’t pay his taxes, and think, with him, that he was indeed smart for having outsmarted the system. And would want to align themselves with him as a result. In the hope that they too could learn these tricks some day or that they too could one day be rich enough not to pay their taxes.

This is a nation of con men (and women), as everyone from Melville to Mamet has understood. A nation that dreams of, and longs for, the quick buck. The more crooked the path, the more glorious the payoff.

I can only hope that for all of our sakes that Charles Krauthammer is right (I can’t believe I just typed that) about how Trump not paying taxes will turn away voters, because most people, including most of Trump’s supporters, don’t like freeloaders (especially the non-white, non-Christian ones).

Rep Paul Ryan’s plan for poor Americans deserves a raspberry.

Rep Paul Ryan’s plan for poor Americans deserves a raspberry.

Over at Vox.com, Ezra Klein has written a trenchant analysis of GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s “plan” to address poverty in America. While giving Ryan credit for some good ideas such as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and sentencing reform, Klein, not unexpectedly, identifies several serious problems.

Let’s start with the inconvenient fact that Ryan’s own budget plans don’t fit with his poverty proposals

Ryan’s budgets and his poverty plan aren’t merely different. They’re flatly contradictory. They cannot be implemented in the same universe at the same time. His budget, for instance, cuts deep into the funding stream that powers the Earned Income Tax Credit. His poverty plan sharply increases spending on the Earned Income Tax Credit. His budget cuts deep into food stamps and other income-support programs. His poverty plan holds their spending constant.

So what’s going on? As Klein states, the centerpiece is to combine 11 poverty programs, including food aid, into a block grant to the states, the “Opportunity Grant”. However as he and Bob Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, whom he quotes, explain

One of the 11 programs included in the Opportunity Grant is not like the others: food stamps, which is structured as an entitlement program, and so responds to rises in need automatically.

“It’s really important right now that if there’s a recession and you lose your job and need food stamps you can get them,” says Greenstein. “You are immediately eligible. You’re not on a waiting list.” Ryan’s Opportunity Grant would end the role food stamps play as an automatic stabilizer during recessions.

Ryan is working off of the welfare reform model here: this is more or less what the federal government did to the welfare program (or TANF) in 1996. But that just goes to prove the point: welfare’s role as an automatic stabilizer has been gutted by the reforms. The welfare reforms were successful at cutting welfare rolls — not at making welfare better at helping the poor, particularly during recessions.

This graph from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities tells the tale. When welfare reform passed, during a boom economy, the program was helping 68 out of every 100 families with children in poverty. Thirteen years later, during the deepest recession since the Great Depression, it was helping fewer than 30 of every 100 families with children in poverty.

And of course, if food aid loses its entitlement status it can be more easily cut

Ryan’s poverty plan can be seen either as an effort to move the Republican Party forward on poverty or as a Trojan Horse-like effort to achieve his budget’s goals by other means. “The food stamp block grant proposal in his last budget had $135 billion in cuts,” says Greenstein “It was dead on arrival. If the strategy in this plan is to remove the program’s entitlement status, convert it to block grants and, over the decades, let the funding erode — well, that is a much cleverer and more sophisticated strategy to get to the same goal.”

And there is little doubt that less money overall will be spent on the poor

“When you make a block grant this broad and sweeping to states it is virtually inevitable some of the block grant dollars will replace current state dollars,” says Greenstein, “and so the total amount of money going to poor people goes down. It’s not that you’re directly using the federal dollars for a highway or a tax cut. You use the federal dollars for services to poor people. But maybe for every $3 states take from food stamps and put into services, they reduce state funding for those services by $1 and take that dollar and use it somewhere else in the budget.

“This is not hypothetical. It happened on a large scale in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant. And it’s well known that it’s almost impossible to stop this from happening. People thought about it in the TANF block grant. They wrote into the law maintenance-of-effort clauses to try to prevent it. And they weren’t effective. It’s just almost impossible to stop.”

Furthermore, Ryan’s faith in states to do better by the poor is hardly validated by experience, as we see from the refusal of 24 primarily GOP-led states to accept the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The heart of Ryan’s plan is essentially to wash the federal government’s hands of America’s poor and leave it to states, whose own records of effective management of poverty programs are uneven at best. In so doing, he opens the door to future pernicious cuts in programs to help the poorest Americans.

Ryan’s poverty plan, like his budget, deserves a big, fat raspberry.

What’s the Matter with Kansas? It has a Brownback

What’s the Matter with Kansas? It has a Brownback

As in Republican Governor Sam Brownback.

From The Washington Post:

In many ways, Brownback’s term has been a perfect experiment in Republican governance. Take a crusading conservative governor, give him a legislature with Republican super-majorities so he can do pretty much whatever he wants, and let him implement the right’s wish list. The result was supposed to be a nirvana of economic growth and budgetary stability. But the opposite happened. test

The disastrous results of Brownback’s economic and fiscal policies demonstrate that it’s one thing for your average Republican to go around saying things like “cutting taxes raises revenue!” even if nearly every economist agrees that the idea is absurd (Greg Mankiw, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, famously called the purveyors of this idea “charlatans and cranks”).

In 2012 and 2013, Brownback and Republicans in the legislature cut income taxes twice, eliminated taxes on corporate profits that are “passed through” to individuals (making it the only state that does this), and since they’re Republicans, made changes to the tax code that had the effect of raising taxes on the poor (the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a good explanation of the tax changes and their effects). The governor has said his goal is to eventually eliminate the income tax completely.

And what happened? At a time when most states are seeing higher revenues as the country recovers economically, Kansas’ revenues have plummeted. The result has been cuts to schools, cuts to higher education, cuts to libraries, and cuts to local health centers. Kansas’ job growth and income growth are lagging the nation’s.

Here’s a graph prepared by mn progressive project based on data from the Kansas Legislative Research Department:

Conservative Economic Failure

This experiment in conservative economic policy proves that their phony doubletalk about how tax cuts for the rich generate more tax revenue and makes everyone richer has always been a ruse to funnel money from the masses into the offshore accounts of the super rich. We already knew that, but now “moderate” Republicans who drank the Kool-Aid aren’t drinking it anymore. They are supporting the Democratic candidate for governor.

A moderate GOP uprising is in full swing against Gov. Sam Brownback, the fierce fiscal and social conservative whose policies led to a purge of middle-of-the-road Republicans from the Legislature early in his tenure.

In a rare and surprising act of political defiance on Tuesday, more than 100 Republicans, including current and former officeholders, endorsed Brownback’s opponent, statehouse Democratic leader Paul Davis. Polls show the challenger with a surprisingly strong shot at taking out Brownback in November.

Let’s hope Kansans have learned their lesson and vote for their interests instead of the interests of the 1%.

Boeing doesn’t pay federal income taxes, cuts employee benefits, and pays it’s CEO $27.5M

Boeing doesn’t pay federal income taxes, cuts employee benefits, and pays it’s CEO $27.5M

Boeing Corporation makes billions in profits but pays no corporate income tax. In fact, most years the government pays them – a lot. From today’s Seattle Times:

Although the aerospace and defense giant booked a profit of $5.9 billion last year, the U.S. government winds up owing the company $199 million.

“Every citizen of the state of Washington can proudly say that they pay more taxes than Boeing,” said Bob McIntyre, director of the Washington, D.C.-based tax-policy-research group Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).

Boeing’s federal tax rate works out to negative 3.3 percent.

Over the past dozen years, during which Boeing reported to its shareholders a total profit of more than $43 billion, the company’s net cumulative refund of federal tax is more than $1.6 billion.

Taking all the federal taxes paid, or not paid, since 2002, Boeing’s average federal tax rate is minus 3.8 percent.

Their competitors pay taxes:

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are respectively plus 18.4 percent, plus 24 percent and plus 29 percent.

With all those profits and subsidies from the federal government, one would think Boeing could afford to keep funding the defined benefit plan for the machinists that build the planes. But no, the machinists had to cave in to corporate threats to move their jobs from Seattle to some southern state where unions have little or no power and accept a 401(k) plan in place of their pension plan.

With such a focus on profits the company also must have had to cut compensation and benefits for CEO Jim McNerney, right? Uh, that would be an emphatic “NO“.

Boeing Co. awarded Chief Executive Jim McNerney almost $27.5 million in annual compensation for 2012, a 20% increase from a year earlier

That’s 793 times the average worker’s pay. Well then at least he must have to expect lower retirement benefits, right? Another “NO“.

If McNerney retires now he will get $265,575 a month.

Okay then, so since he’s set for life and he’s made the tough decision cut benefits for workers that build the airplanes that make him so rich, he certainly wouldn’t do anything to interfere with what they can expect to receive in the way of Social Security benefits, right? Oh yes he would…

In recent years Boeing CEO Jim McNerney has headed the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group of top U.S. corporations. Earlier this year that group called for raising the eligibility age for Social Security to 70 years old, as well as crimping back on the benefits (by reducing the index of inflation used to calculate payouts.)

So Boeing screws the federal government out of billions in tax revenue, pays it’s CEO tens of millions per year, cuts corporate benefits for its workers, and lobbies for reductions its workers federal benefits.

What a great corporate citizen! I mean “person”. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with a dick like that?

If you want to see Gov Scott Walker’s vision for America, look at what he’s done to Wisconsin.

If you want to see Gov Scott Walker’s vision for America, look at what he’s done to Wisconsin.

GOP Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has been a strong proponent for a Republican ideology that seeks to slash government spending, provide tax cuts to the wealthy and crush public sector unions. He is also a GOP presidential hopeful for 2016. Many on the right are pointing to Walker’s implementation of these policies as a model for other states and for the country. So, how’s that working out for Wisconsin?

In taking away the right to bargain collectively, Walker and the GOP-dominated state legislature have eviscerated public employee unions in Wisconsin. The result has been a windfall for school district superintendents and government agency heads, but at the expense of a demoralized workforce which has experienced a slide in living standards as they pay more for health and other benefits while incomes stagnate. In keeping with the GOP playbook to divide and conquer working Americans, police and firemen were spared from the provisions of Walker’s landmark Act 10; teachers, however, were one of the prime targets.

Together with sharp reductions in state spending including payments to local government, Walker’s policies yielded a budget surplus even as he won tax cuts that primarily favored business and the wealthy.

Yet Wisconsin’s economic performance has been lackluster at best and his cuts to education and other services damaging. His promise of 250,000 new jobs has gone unfulfilled; in fact the state has added less than a net of 54,000 jobs since Walker took office, according to federal data.

Interestingly, to the west, Minnesota under a Democratic governor adopted diametrically opposite policies and has outperformed Walker’s state economically. And their teachers aren’t demoralized, as we see by the fact that Minnesota’s schools rank above all but five other mostly Northeastern states.

Unfortunately, the damage inflicted on his state by Walker’s policies will likely not be obvious for a decade or more, assuming no change in direction. It’s difficult to understand how slashing education spending and having demoralized and resentful teachers educating the state’s children will yield benefits to Wisconsin in the long term, no matter how much money is saved to pay for tax cuts.

Wisconsin used to have a lot in common with its western neighbor. Now it’s on a path that, in time, will make it look a lot more like Alabama than Minnesota. The rest of us would be nuts to follow.

Paul Ryan’s Coded Language on the Budget Deal

Paul Ryan’s Coded Language on the Budget Deal

During last night’s budget-deal press conference featuring Patty Murray and Paul Ryan, Mr. Ryan said: “Nobody here had to sacrifice core principles”.

That translates to, “I held true to my supreme belief that the vast wealth of the super rich must never be compromised”.

And he said: “It reduces the deficit — without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it”.

That translates to, “When it comes to deficit reduction, the only people who have to pay more are the middle class and the poor. See? I gave up nothing while getting Senator Murray to allow increased revenue from the serfs through higher airline-passenger security fees, a 1.3% increase to the amount new civilian employees will have to contribute from their pay to the federal pension plan, and lower cost-of-living increases to benefits going to military retirees. Our rich benefactors end up paying nothing more to the federal government other than a few extra dollars on their airline tickets. We win! So come on everybody, support this “compromise” bill that once again screws the middle class! Shhhhh… be careful not to say this out loud. Oh and as and added bonus, we get to put off our blackmail tactics that piss off the electorate until after the 2014 midterm elections.

GOP’s strategy: Attack the poor, protect the rich and blame the grandchildren

GOP’s strategy: Attack the poor, protect the rich and blame the grandchildren

eat the rich

If the recent government shutdown and brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling has shown us anything, it is to crystallize the willingness of the Republican Party to attack, with almost breathtaking fanaticism, programs that are designed primarily to help middle and lower income Americans by strengthening the nation’s tattered safety net.

The Affordable Care Act, whatever its flaws, will cover millions of low-income Americans by an expansion of Medicaid (Oregon has already lowered its uninsured rate by 10% through the Medicaid expansion contained in the ACA) and provide additional millions with the opportunity to buy affordable private health insurance, with government subsidies to help pay the premiums for those who qualify.

At most the ACA is a modest reform of the private health insurance system, with an expansion of Medicaid thrown in for good measure to help those folks whose income puts them beyond the reach of the private insurance system. Yet even this modest law to help our least fortunate citizens is fought with the sort of tenacity and fervor by the right and the GOP that any reasonable person would assume would be directed only at a Canadian-style single payer system. It’s even more perplexing and disgraceful when one considers that the GOP itself has provided no substantive plan of its own that would come anywhere close to the goal of the ACA to provide near universal coverage.

The reason, of course, is that the GOP does not see universal health care coverage as a worthy objective at all.

This blatant disregard for middle and low income Americans is displayed, too, in its budget aims. The GOP insists that any budget negotiations will take place in the context of no new taxes; even loophole closures, being off the table. Instead, the GOP will discuss only government spending cuts. And where do they want to cut? Well, we’ve already seen the GOP House voting to cut $70 billion over 10 years from food aid to the poor from the Farm Bill. And with Democrats desperate to get out from under sequestration cuts to vital domestic discretionary programs, the GOP’s sole offer is to shift the bite to entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security- more beating up on the poor and elderly (and poor elderly).

The GOP’s justification for slashing important programs that primarily assist the non-wealthy of our society is the magnitude of our national debt and the continuing deficits which we are passing on to our children and grandchildren. Setting aside the fact that deficits are already falling, it’s difficult to view this angst over the burden we are passing to future generations as anything but insincere and self-serving nonsense – merely crocodile tears.

First, if the deficit mattered that much to Republicans, they wouldn’t take revenues off the table. At a time when economic data shows that the wealthiest Americans have increased their share of income following the Great Recession whilst everyone else has seen their incomes stagnate and when Mitt Romney’s unearned income and that of hedge fund managers is no more than 15% while middle-income working Americans pay 15-33%, it is an absurdity bordering on obscene to argue that the rich are overtaxed. Yet for these few, these happy few, the GOP is willing to go to the mat.

Second, Republicans never talk about the other deficits that we will be passing on to our children and grandchildren if we don’t find more revenues; for example $3.6 trillion in infrastructure repairs by 2020. And if funding for scientific and other vital research continues to diminish in real terms, how will we maintain our economic primacy going forward?

Anti-government mindlessness bordering on fanaticism, combined with an almost total disregard for America’s least fortunate citizens and a singular concern only for the wellbeing of its richest – these are the hallmarks of today’s Republican Party. With its deeply misguided aims and despicable tactics, it is doing more damage to America than al-Qaida or any nation that wishes America ill could hope to accomplish. It is well past time America fought back.

Washington State College Tuition Skyrockets as Taxes on the Rich Plummet

Washington State College Tuition Skyrockets as Taxes on the Rich Plummet

Yesterday there were two stories in The Seattle Times that got my attention. The first one by Danny Westneat was about the cost of college tuition today compared to what is was 30 years ago.

When I went to Western Washington University from 1981 through 1985, tuition was $205 a quarter. As my daughter enters WWU, tuition is $2,935 per quarter – more than fourteen times the cost it was 30 years ago. If WWU’s tuition increased at the same rate as inflation for the past thirty years, it would cost $510 per quarter.

Danny Westneat’s begins his column by informing college-bound kids that back in the day we used to be able to pay for an entire year of college by working part-time jobs at fast-food joints for the three months of summer. He then explains why the cost has skyrocketed. It basically gets down to the state not funding colleges as much as it used to.

Of all our delusions, we old farts cling to this bootstrap one the most. We worked our way up on sweat and chicken grease, we say. Can’t this generation? What’s wrong with them?

What’s wrong is that after we got ours, we cut it off for them.

The reason a summer at KFC could pay for a year of UW med school in 1981 isn’t that we were so hardworking and industrious. It’s that taxpayers back then picked up 90 percent of the tab. We weren’t Horatio Algers. We were socialists.

Today, the public picks up only 30 percent of UW tuition, and dropping.

How we milked the public university system in this state and then starved it will go down as the great badge of shame of my generation and the one before mine, the baby boomers. Affordable college made us. Once made, we wouldn’t pay even a two-cent per can soda-pop tax to give that same gift to anybody else.

The next article that got my attention was about the incomes of the CEOs of the top publicly traded companies in the Northwest. In case you didn’t know already, they make many millions of dollars.

In 2012, the average CEO made 354 times more than the average worker. In 1982, this ratio was 42 to 1, according to the AFL-CIO.

Mark Parker of Nike topped the list with compensation of $35,212,678. He was followed by Howard Schultz of Starbucks at $28,909,773, and Dara Khosrowshahi of Expedia at $14,423,193.

So how much do these super rich CEOs pay into our state, county, and local governments? No doubt it’s a large sum, but it’s not a large percentage of their income. You may recall this post from February about how Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the entire country. The post includes a chart that shows the combined state and local tax rates paid by the lower four quintiles, the next 15%, the next 4%, and the top 1%. The lowest 20% earners pay in 16.9% of their income. The top 1% pay in 2.8% of their income.

We had an opportunity to correct this gross inequity in 2010 by voting for Initiative 1098. It would have taxed the income of the top 1% by assessing a 5% tax on incomes over $200,000 ($400,000 for couples). Way too many clueless people voted against their best interests and for the interest of the top 1% who spent millions of dollars campaigning against it, so the initiative was soundly defeated. Apparently there are a whole lot of people who think they’re going to be millionaires some day and, when they join the 1%, they don’t want to get stuck with a 5% tax bill. If they had the slightest bit of reasoning capabilities, they’d understand that 99% of us never strike it rich, and the odds are against them ever making it into the club.

So here we are in a state that is home to thousands of people who earn tens of millions of dollars, that doesn’t tax them at anything close to an equitable rate. If they were taxed 5%, we could afford to fund education at a much higher level than we currently do. And those high-income “job creators” ought to have an interest in our state educating their future workers. They probably do, but they’re  not so hot on paying for it.

Hooray for the 1%. They get what they want – more and more money all the time. The rest of us get don’t always get what we want, and when we try sometimes, we just might get… screwed.