In nearly every election in recent memory, there have been candidates who are little more than sideshow distractions that, although entertaining, divert attention from a larger, pernicious agenda. The current distraction is Herman Cain and although he has garnered attention away from Willard Romney and Richard Perry, the truth is that there are very few distinctions between any of the Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for president.
Herman Cain is being used by Republicans to assuage claims they are inherently racist and to promote the Koch brothers’ corporatist, anti-regulations agenda. It is no secret that Cain is being financed and advised by the Koch brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, in the form of his campaign manager, spokeswoman, economic advisor, and at least six other AFP former operatives. However, providing Cain does not win the party’s nomination, the other leading candidates will fill the Koch-void based on their positions on taxes, regulations, and corporation-friendly agendas.
All of the Republican candidates pander to social conservatives to gain an advantage with the religious right, but it is their position on corporate taxes that aligns them with Libertarians Charles and David Koch. Republicans’ persistent claim is if corporations get more tax breaks they will begin hiring and help grow the economy; it is a fallacious attempt at winning support for the Koch’s corporatist agenda. Willard Romney cites his business acumen as why he is best suited to lead the country out of the recession, but his plan is predicated on giving corporations more tax cuts to stimulate job growth and the economy. The problem for Willard Romney and Republicans in general is that many of the largest corporations already pay little to no taxes on their record profits.
In a report issued yesterday, “of the 280 most profitable U.S. companies, 30 of them paid less than zero in taxes in the last three years, and 78 of the companies didn’t pay any federal income tax in at least one of the last three years.” For many corporations, paying less than zero taxes translated into receiving rebates, or subsidies, because their record profits did not give them enough income. The statutory tax rate for corporations is 35%, but because the companies use tax loopholes and move business offshore, they are able to evade paying taxes altogether. The average tax rate for all 280 companies was 18.5% over the last three years, and only 71 of them (25%) paid more than 30% in taxes over the three years, with an average tax rate of 32.3%.
There is a push by corporate lobbies to give off-shore companies a tax holiday for repatriating their money back to the United States, but in the past it has not generated hiring or economic growth. The idea is to allow American corporations to bring their foreign profits home and pay 8.5% or less in taxes that they “promise” to invest here and create economic growth and jobs. In the past, the corporations that repatriated their profits used the cash to buy back shares in their companies and reward their CEOs with huge bonuses. The fallacy that giving them more tax cuts will encourage hiring does not mean they will, because corporations are already sitting on huge reserves of cash but they are not expanding in America because consumers are not buying. It is also a horrible idea because it gives corporations new incentives to outsource jobs because their foreign profits are taxed at a reduced rate rather than the statutory 35% even though they are not paying that rate now.
Republicans are not going to help Americans by creating jobs that will afford them the opportunity to begin spending again, but they are working frantically to give corporations money in the form of tax breaks and rebates on their profits earned in foreign countries. Yesterday in the Senate, Republicans, joined by two Democrats, obstructed the infrastructure improvements part of President Obama’s jobs plan because it included 0.7% surtax on Americans earning at least a million dollars annually. The Republicans have no intention of doing anything to help unemployed Americans with jobs that will enable them to begin spending again that will help the economy, create tax revenue, and help businesses expand operations and begin hiring.
Republicans’ only allegiance is to the wealthy and corporations and even a cursory examination of their policies show they are pursuing the Koch’s agenda. The Republican presidential aspirants promise more of the same failed policies that put the economy in the shape it is in, and if they win the White House and both houses of Congress, America may as well be ruled by the Koch brothers. It is curious that Republicans have any support for their policies at all, because their entire agenda is based on helping 1% of Americans who control the majority of wealth in this country. For that reason alone, it is crucial that the Occupy movement continues gaining support from the 99% of Americans who are being shunned by Republicans, and why occupiers must transition to an anti-corporate electoral movement to end the Koch-Republican, anti-American agenda once and for all.
As the poverty rate climbs and the Republican supporters discover their party has no intention of helping create jobs or growing the economy, the Occupy movement has an opportunity to change the way government operates. Republicans have made it crystal clear they are going to block any job creation efforts from the President and Democrats because their focus is helping the wealthy and corporations. As the campaign seasons ramps up, the GOP will parrot their tired canard that helping the wealthy creates jobs, but after ten years of Bush-Republicans’ job-killing agenda, their rhetoric has proven false on every level. The Republican candidates will continue pushing tax breaks for the wealthy and their corporations up until Election Day, and there will not be one piece of legislation to create jobs between now and then. The truth is that Republicans have been in campaign mode since January 2009 when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans only job between then and the 2012 election is to make President Obama a one-term president.
As more Americans witness Herman, Richard, and Willard parrot the Koch agenda, they will harken back over the past ten months and recall that when given the opportunity to help Americans by creating jobs, Republicans obstructed, lied, and worked diligently to give the 1% of wealthiest Americans more tax breaks as the poverty level increased and corporations paid little or no taxes. They will also remember the Occupy movement was fighting for 99% of the country that are in jeopardy of joining the ranks of Americans living at or below the poverty level, and they will vote to send the Koch-Republicans back home to count their corporate earnings. Hopefully by then, their dirty profits will be taxed at higher levels to correct the injustice perpetrated by the Libertarians masquerading as Republicans.