Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stealing From the Poor to Subsidize the Rich

The following chart is from the FU Corporate Media website. While it gives a pretty good sense of how much gratuitous money the rich take home in tax breaks and subsidies and how much the safety net is being sliced up to pay for it, the chart does not tell us how or why this is happening, or how to change it.
The fact is that the rich have always used the political system to protect their property and wealth. They are the only ones with the wealth to win a political campaign. They control the flow of information to the public. They use their wealth and lobbying power to push through legislation favorable to their interests. They make sure that the laws are written and enforced to maximize their profits. And they do it through both parties.

Voting cannot change this. The rich never give away anything unless they are forced to. When strikes and direct action cuts into their profits, they may make a few concessions, throw a few bones, whatever the minimum they think it will take to get their workers back on the job and their businesses making money again. However, the same system remains in place, with the wealthy making the rules for their own benefit. They might have to wait a little before they can grab back what they conceded, depending on the strength of the labor movement, but they remain wealthy all the while.

This is what has been happening for the past 30 years. As unions have become weaker and represent fewer workers, the bosses realize they can demand more work for less pay and get away with it. They attempt and succeed at policies that would have seemed preposterous not too long ago, like financing 4 wars simultaneously while also granting and maintaining huge tax cuts.


  1. The writing is on the wall, yet it seems so many either choose to ignore it or perhaps are just plan ignorant. I guess that's why they're calling this a grass roots movement- because the only way to win the fight is to get the word out- one person at a time. Keep on fighting for the middle class and I'll do the same!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jane. Ignorance is certainly part of it, and much of that ignorance is manufactured by the ruling elite. However, there is also fear, fear of losing what little people have left, fear of becoming homeless, jobless, insuranceless, that compels many to accept the greed and hubris of the wealthy. There is also the dream of many that if they keep their heads down, follow the rules, accept the system, and struggle alone, they may someday be wealthy, too.

    I find it interesting that you emphasize the middle class in your response, when the focus of my post was the poor. According to the pundits and politicians, we are all middle class. You never hear them mention a working class or an upper class. This, of course, is a fantasy, but it works in their favor. Lack of an upper class implies that we all share an equal status and political power. Lack of a working class implies that business owners and secretaries are all members of the same class and share the same interests--again, a delusion.

    Rather than fighting for the middle class, I'd rather fight for a classless society.

  3. Of course, (to reply a year and a bit late) the Rich are actually subsidising the middle classes. Very little of the services paid for by taxes are used by the Rich, but by the middle classes. Therefore, the middle class can't be subsidising the Rich for services that they do not use.

  4. Considering that the rich hardly pay any taxes at all (and those that do pay a far lower effective tax rate than the rest of us), it's absurd to say they are subsidizing anyone.

    However, you are right that they do not need social security or WIC or food stamps. But they certainly benefit from military spending, especially those with investments in petroleum and any markets in poor third world countries that we keep in line through real or threatened military action. They benefit from fire and police services. They benefit from education spending, especially when they send they send their kids to public schools, which many still do. But even when their kids go to private schools or when they don't have kids they still benefit because public education provides them with a competent workforce, literate and compliant enough to do the work. They benefit from subsidies to Big Pharma, Big Ag, Oil and other industries in which they are invested.

    In fact, the overwhelming majority of tax dollars go to things that directly and indirectly help the rich to amass greater wealth and only a small fraction of taxes goes to programs that only benefit the poor or middle class.