September 04, 2011

Tax the rich ideas and more for Labor Day

As we await Labor Day tomorrow, otherwise known as "The GOP deludes tea partiers into believing it cares about workers while Democrats hypocritically walk across the Mackinac Bridge day," let's think about ways to empower labor, whether its union-organized or not.

First, many people of intelligence recognize that  relatively unprogressive federal tax rates (combined with often regressive sales taxes at state and local levels) allow the rich to accumulate money which does little to stimulate a sluggish economy.

So, first, at the federal tax level:
1. We need more progressivity in income tax rates.
2. We need to tax capital gains and hedge fund money at the same rate as income.
3. When companies offshore more and more money, and then, like the non-liberal Apple, try to hold the federal government hostage by wanting a tax holiday to bring that money home, we need to instead have a surtax on such overseas, off-shored money.
4. If the rich claim that conspicuous consumption of trickle-down economics stimulates the economy, fine, let's up the ante and have a federal property tax. (Watch the Koch brothers shit bricks over that one.)
6. We of course need to up the amount of income covered by FICA taxes, eliminate loopholes in federal personal tax codes (including the mortgage interest deduction, which benefits the middle of the middle class rarely), as well as various corporate income tax loopholes. At the least, on homes, crack down on any deductions for buying second homes, whether they are vacation homes or income generators.

Second, at the corporations as persons level. If corporations want to continue to make that claim, and Supreme Court rulings continue to support it, here's a possible counter-action or two.
1. Put every single member of a corporation on trial whenever corporations allegedly commit criminal activity. People would simply refuse to work for unethical major businesses.
2. Reinstitute the draft and when we have another war, undeclared or not, draft entire corporations, i.e., the Halliburtons of the world. Or, wingnut think tanks.

At the state level:
1. At a minimum, stop making food subject to sales tax.
2. Put more progressivity into state income taxes.
3. On state income tax forms, require a state disclosure form about how much of state revenue comes from various types of taxes and how much comes from fees, licenses and other non-tax "taxes."

At the local level:
1. Have states do revenue sharing on local property taxes. Some states do this in part with school districts, but not municipalities.

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