Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Nobles Need Not Pay Taxes.

Say what?
So said Paul O'Neil, according to Thom Hartmann who names the new power distribution favoring Corporations over ‘we the people’ and its co-opting of our representative government as a modern feudalism in which the corporations play the role of the nobles and we the people are their vassals. And even though they tended to make more, and more vigorous, use of the commons--public owned resources and public funded infrastructure--nobles tended to pay little if any taxes. This is the trend today around the globe as even those governments ostensibly in power at the request and sufferance of the people are increasingly lowering the corporate taxes and transferring the burden to the people in the form of higher taxes, depleted resources and decaying infrastructure.

The move to dramatically reduce corporate taxation has been building for years and gained a strong foothold during Reagan’s administration. But the blunt assertion that the agenda was to reduce them to as close to zero as possible had seldom been made so publicly or so clearly as when then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil said in May 2001 that there should be no corporate income tax whatsoever.

Hartman makes the case in favor of Corporate taxation just as clear and blunt:

Corporations are taxed because they use public services, and are therefore expected to help pay for them - the same as citizens.

Corporations make use of a work force educated in public schools paid for with tax dollars. They use roads and highways paid for with tax dollars. They use water, sewer, and power and communications rights-of-way paid for with taxes. They demand the same protection from fire and police departments as everybody else, and enjoy the benefits of national sovereignty and the stability provided by the military and institutions like NATO and the United Nations, the same as all residents of democratic nations.

In fact, corporations are heavier users of taxpayer-provided services and institutions than are average citizens. Taxes pay for our court systems, which are most heavily used by corporations to enforce contracts. Taxes pay for our Treasury Department and other governmental institutions which maintain a stable currency essential to corporate activity. Taxes pay for our regulation of corporate activity, from assuring safety in the workplace to a pure food and drug supply to limiting toxic emissions.

Under George W. Bush, the burden of cleaning up toxic wastes produced by corporate activity has largely shifted from polluter-funded Superfund and other programs to taxpayer-funded cleanups (as he did in Texas as governor there before becoming President).

Every year, millions of cases of cancer, emphysema, neurological disorders, and other conditions caused by corporate pollution are paid for in whole or in part by government funded programs from Medicare to Medicaid to government subsidies of hospitals, universities, and research institutions funded by tax dollars through the NIH and NIMH.

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