Saturday, December 29, 2012

Greed Inc.

Ever stop and wonder why things aren't the way they once were? We think back and ponder what happened to so many great ideas and where they went. The above photo is of a present day small Greek market. Once packed with products ready for sale giving it's owner an average, or better, income. He played by all the rules and I'm sure had hopes of educating his children and maybe passing the family business on to them when he retired. Not so anymore. Greece in its' first round of austerity passed a 29% tax neatly tied to everybody's electric bill. Fail to pay it and the power gets shut off. Now our store owner here can barely afford the tax bill much less buy the needed stock to sell.

There was a time, a long time ago now, that kids growing up were covered by health insurance. There were no long lists of school supplies as nearly everything was provided. As I recall the only items not supplied were cookies for the Valentines day party or items for the science fair. Even then everybody seemed to chip in pot luck style. Those days are long gone but where did they go and what happened? Some would have you believe that it was an evil teacher's union that made off with the funds or that the teachers themselves were making opulent salaries. Truth is companies that once provided support to education aren't. Yes there may be the occasional item funded by a company like a score board or a playground but the bulk of profits are now neatly hidden in an off shore account. Such is the case with Greece. There are entire office buildings in Luxembourg staffed with people who's soul purpose is to find tax loop holes for the worlds' largest companies. But it's worse than that. A company making massive profits in a foreign country somehow looks magically pennyless by merely moving it's stash of cash to more favorable and secretive places.

Who got stuck with the bill when it came due? It sure wasn't the bankers or those on Wall Street. And here we sit on an artificial cliff waiting for the hammer to drop. Like it or not we'll all lose no matter which way this thing goes. If it does happen cuts to programs for the poor and disabled will be immediate. No more unemployment extension and cuts to meals on wheels and school lunches. And as the federal action or inaction filters down to the state levels you'll see fee increases and new taxes to try and cover state budgets. That's a given. That of course will cut deeper into people pocket books and make matters worse. We have seen these exact same scenarios in past recessions. And how exactly did we get out? Either corporations finally broke down and started spending or the government stepped in and created jobs. And damned be the man or woman who says it doesn't. It created your job senator!    


BBC said...

All costs anymore get passed down to us bottom feeders. Maybe it's always been like that.

I know a lady in Greece, they are still doing okay but it's slowly eating up their savings.

Randal Graves said...

Wall Street bigwig, arms contractor, and Congress, the only gigs still left with job security and all the bennies.

Demeur said...

No it wasn't always like that. At one time parents didn't have to worry about health care for their kids. And they didn't have to spend a fortune on school supplies.

If they're eating into their savings then they aren't doing good.

A lot of the Wall Street boys got canned in 2008. Many long time congressmen were voted out and arms dealers are about to take a hit too. So there goes that theory.

BBC said...

Health care for kids? Don't think we had it, back in those days kids pretty much spent their time doing stupid shit and trying to kill themselves.

The few times we did have to go to a doctor or hospital must have been paid for by the parents.

Except for when my sister had to have a heart operation at seven, the town raised the money for it.

BBC said...

As I recall, the parents didn't even go to a doctor unless they really had to. And I was only at a dentist twice, the second time to get a tooth pulled.

S.W. Anderson said...

Demeur, I'm not sure to what extent you're talking about Greece or about the U.S.

I'm not that clear on the genesis of Greece's problem, but I'm very clear as to how the U.S. wound up in a mess. It would take a book to explain it all. The short of it is big money corrupting politics, propagandizing to divide people who aren't rich and get them to vote against their own best interests at every turn. It was also a matter of the inattention, gullibility, resentment and greed of too many people for too long a time.

A key part of all that was convincing large numbers of middle class and working class people trickle down was good for everyone. Ipso facto, government (spending) and taxes are bad, so we need tax cuts. Lots of tax cuts. BIG tax cuts. But (watch the moving walnut shells trying to follow the pea) with every round of tax cuts, the rich and corporations are dealt loaves by the truckload while the rest get crumbs.

And what do the rich do with their rapidly expanding wealth? They move businesses from the unionized Northeast and upper Midwest to low-tax, cheap land, right-to-work states like Alabama, Georgia and Texas. But even that's not enough, so they put factories in China, India — wherever regulations are few, taxes are low and labor is dirt cheap.

As more and more jobs disappear wages stagnate when they're not falling. With every recession more people are forced to replace better-paying jobs with jobs that pay less, if they can replace their lost job at all. Living standards decline. The nonwealthy are no longer able to pay the kind of taxes that can support things like public-provided school supplies. And the rich have gotten themselves excused from paying taxes for things like that.