The New York Times editorial "Rethinking Their Pledge" (April 23, 2011) suggests that maybe some GOPers will recognize the hypocrisy of crying deficits, cutting entitlements without figuring out first how to cut costs (or pay for things we really want), and still cutting taxes for the wealthy.
You see, 95% of the Republicans in Congress have signed Grover Norquist's little "pledge" never to raise taxes. What most people don't realize is that the pledge isn't just a no taxes forever pledge. It's also a "keep up the tax expenditure goody stream for Big Business and its owners" pledge.
The pledge is often thought of as an agreement never to vote for raising taxes for any reason, but it goes even further than that. Those who sign it also vow never to eliminate any tax deductions or credits (like the handout to ethanol makers), unless the resulting increase in revenues is offset, dollar for dollar, by further tax cuts. Id.
As the editorial notes, Norquist wants to "shrink government" and "drown it in a bathtub."
Why, one should stop and ask, is this government that our Founding Fathers labored so to create deserving of such scorn?
It's because government is what stands between ordinary Americans and Big Business's ability to treat us like its minions--working for the wages it deigns to pay us, eating the food with the products it decides to put in the food, taking whatever conditions in the workplace it decides to impose on us, and doing without the kind of world-class public higher education that corporate taxes used to help pay for so that we could find ways to expand our horizons beyond the Burger Shack next door.
Our very freedom is threatened. When we are economically powerless, we are also powerless in our lives because we lose our freedom to make choices that are right for us.
- we lose our rights to bargain with our employers (look at how Wisconsin and Ohio have treated their public employees or how WalMart treats its workers and anyone who talks unions),
- we lose the power to improve ourselves by pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps through publicly funded education from grade school through university,
- we are dominated in the marketplace by powerful businesses that use automated systems to turn us off, ignore our calls and letters seeking redress for a mischarge or a poorly done job,
- we lose our jobs, are forced to accept paycuts or furloughs, when the company claims times are tought, yet we watch the same public companies to pay their CEOs millions more
That said, I don't put much stock in Senator Coburn's recognition that there are tax subsidies in the Code that probably don't make sense. He may support removing the ethanol credit (which, from what little I have been able to figure out, seems to use about as much energy to produce as it produces, since it takes gas to till the corn fields, move the corn, and process the corn into gas to run the cars). But I'll bet he won't support the other things that would cut the huge multinational monopolies and the elite managers that run them down to size--like breaking up the big banks, or disallowing any deduction for compensation to any one person in excess of a million dollars, or eliminating most of the tax free reorganization provisions that have helped foster the consolidation of industry into powerful megalithic corporations, or eliminating the R&D credit that pretends to incentivize US research (even though much of the time it is enacted retroactively, and you can't incentivize the past).....