Category → Rich use Tax Savings to Destroy Democracy
By Frank Byronn Glenn -- There are several things necessary and several ways to become rich and stay rich in America.
The best way to become rich is, of course, inheriting it — being born rich.
For those who were not born rich — the most important thing necessary to become rich is -- like what is required to become extraordinarily successful at anything — that is focus. You must relentlessly, tirelessly, some would say obsessively focus on making money and getting rich.
If you we not born rich, you can also get rich by going to work for rich people — doing their bidding -- advancing their causes — helping them make more money and helping them keep what they have. And there are different ways you can go work for rich people and get rich yourself.
First, of course, you can go to work for them directly. You can go to work for a wealthy person or a large corporation, pay your dues, learn the business, learn the corporate managerial and political ropes, display unwavering loyalty and tireless commitment to the mission at hand — making the wealthy more money — and actually help them make more money by your hard work, your diligently acquired business acumen, your entrepreneurial perspicacity and innovative energy, and rise to the top levels of management — where, because you have proven yourself and become a “made” man in the sense that you become an “essential” component of the enterprise — and you earn ownership of the company through direct executive compensation — and through stock options and bonuses — ideally based on the company performance and the success of the divisions or area of operations falling under your direction. This is what I would call the all-American way. Earning it.
The second way one can become rich — particularly if one does not have any particular business acumen to market, and maybe even if you do — you simply choose not to work that hard or that long. Or maybe you have another gift — the gift of gab — or show biz — maybe showmanship. This is a class of people most typified on right by people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and, to some extent, a guy like Grover Norquist — to name only the most obvious. There are of course many of them at varying levels of exposure — and income.
They are people that do not strike you as being particularly astute or talented. They are people who are decent enough actors or performers — and they want to be rich — or at least get to associate with the rich — so much, that they will do just about anything to achieve those goals. Most of the time what happens is that they go to work for an entity the life’s work of which is to promote the interests of wealthy people and corporations. They do not have a lot of opinions of their own. They are not particularly creative or insightful — and are not encumbered or troubled by excessive moral or political principles. They, for the most part, simply recite the lines given them by the political operatives representing the wealthy, and they espouse those viewpoints and incessantly cant and recant the “talking points” the wealthy want to seed the public discourse with — with the hope that over time they can shape the opinions of a significant majority of low-information citizens that are looking for easy explanations to complex issues and a focus for their displeasure and disenchantment with their own lives because they are not people who enjoy great wealth themselves — and some where deep down know the game is stacked against them to such a degree that they never will. By pretending to share the values and political views of the enormously wealthy they hope people will confuse them with the ruling class, I presume — or at least construe them to be close allies, supporters, and or friends of very wealthy people — because they are continuously repeating the attractiveness and desirability of the viewpoints and policy desires of the plutocrats.
A third, and most dangerous group, are the politicians and lobbyists for the rich and Super Rich. Their designated mission in life in many cases is to work to perpetuate the wealth of those they work for and support — and to simultaneously, where possible, weaken or destroy those who would stand in the way of this continued wealth accumulation. They work to eliminate or neutralize people who attempt to put in place rules or restrictions which might impede the ability of the wealthy to accumulate more wealth as quickly and in as risk free manner as possible.
The result of this is that when wealthy people make money, they use it to make more money. They make more money by innovating and creating new products, selling them and growing market share. They also make more money by pressuring legislators to reduce taxes, and by taking advantage of tax credits and other loop-holes, designed by their lawyers and introduced into law by their lobbyists, and passed into law by state and national political allies — whose campaigns they support financially. They add to their wealth, once they have it, by ___delaying, impeding, restricting or eliminating competition, by legislating ______barriers to new entrants who would become competitors to their established cash-cow businesses.
The final stage is the defense of the “economic royalists” phase of the late stage free market capitalism. If the top marginal tax rate is too low, the preferred method of compounding wealth for the super rich becomes that of rigging the system in their favor. When they have too much money left after their tax contributions, their new business model becomes — not starting new businesses, investing in research and development — and consolidating their dominance in the market through innovation and ever greater efficiency or synergy. It becomes cheating the American people to enrich themselves by rigging the system to pick them as winners every time — all with the aid and active cheer-leading of the politicians they have corrupted and now own. The Souless ones, we shall call them!
The “low-risk-high-return strategy domestically becomes that of using their accumulated wealth to lobby for lower taxes, more investment and other tax credits and and ever-increasing and more diverse loop-holes. They campaign for less regulation and fewer restrictions on methods and types of money making instruments. They also deploy their great wealth to eliminate, defeat, weaken, or render ineffective people with ideas about about the role of government and the kind of society we want to have that differ, contradict, or which might be proposed as ideas, laws, and government policy in contrast to theirs — particularly broadcasters, news media and politicians who work to maintain a more fair and just society — with more opportunity for advancement and success for ordinary Americans, who do not have the advantage of possessing enormous wealth.
These things are not hard to understand. It is not even necessarily true that the very wealthy should not be relentlessly pursuing policies and political candidates that support their public policy objectives. But what is true, in any case, is that if the top marginal tax rates are too low, they allow wealthy individuals and corporations to accumulate enormous wealth, which then becomes the war-chests of capital available to them for the purpose of influencing public policy in ways that benefit them — and in most cases enhance yet further their ability and options for increasing their wealth — not only even further — but to the detriment of most of the rest of the people of the United States. We see it playing out daily in every facet of our lives now — and more intensely since the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling — where the wealthy are using their staggering resources to captivate, subjugate, and dominate nearly every level and aspect of our public policy making process. And very little of what they promote benefits anyone but themselves — the 1%. It helps them consolidate power, so that they can accumulate wealth, then use the additional accumulated wealth to further consolidate and enhance their power and leverage — so that they can make even more money — and gain even more power. And the loser is the United States of America — our openly democratic process — and the American people!
When its all said and done — the biggest threat to democracy becomes the unbridled free market crony, monopoly capitalism combined with low and ever-decreasing top marginal tax rates — providing the unlimited, undisclosed, and unstoppable avalanche of money legalized by the Citizens United ruling — which allowed the “economic royalists” to finally replace democracy with plutocracy — a United States of America — of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich — and their lapdog politicians and talking heads — at least for a while!