I have just finished watching a two-hour presentation on CNN called “I.O.U.S.A.: America’s Debt Crisis” and I must admit I was totally flummoxed by the economic obtuseness of the entire panel of NeoLiberal and NeoConservative “experts.”
CNN prides itself on being the American news network that gives equal time to the “left” and the “right,” or – as it might more accurately be depicted – the “right” and the “further right.” In reality, there simply is no “left” in the U.S. And, except for a brief period in the mid- to late-Sixties, there has been no “left” in the U.S. since the horrific McCarthy witchhunt of the Dirty Fifties.
Not that things are much different here in Canada. Sure, we do have the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois. We even have the Communist Party and the Marxist-Leninist Party. But the first two are no longer leftist and the latter two are not even viable.
So, instead, what passes for “fair and balanced” journalism in the U.S. and Canada is a dog-and-pony show between NeoLiberals and NeoConservatives. Any perspectives beyond those mirror-image reflections of unbridled corporate capitalism and its harsh corporate agenda are considered to be “beyond the pale” and not worthy of TV or radio time or newspaper space.
And that is the great tragedy of CNN’s highly-touted investigation of the U.S. debt crisis. All the “talking-head” “experts” the news network summoned to share their “expertise” were “experts” schooled entirely on the campus of corporate capitalism.
Here in Canada, even the once internationally-respected CBC can no longer be counted on to offer up any thinking on political, social or economic isses from outside the narrow box of corporate capitalism and the corporate agenda.
Their televised confab concluded that it was the masses – not only in the U.S. but across the entire industrialized world – who will just have to bear the brunt of the new economic reality that is beginning to unfold. No, it will not be the corporations or the billionaires and mega-millionaires who will be asked to finally pay their fair share.
In 1950, in both the U.S. and Canada, corporations bore fully 50 percent of the entire tax burden; today they pay less than nine percent. Also in the 1950s, both Canada and the U.S. had truly progressive income-tax regime that taxed all people in accordance with their abilitto pay; the marginal income-tax rates (the rate on just a small portion of very high incomes) was as high as 80 percent; today it is less than 30 percent.
For the past 30 years, the banks and the corporations and the billionaires and mega-millionaires have indulged in an orgy of tax cut after tax cut after tax cut while the masses have had to content with cut after cut after cut in real social and health-care spending.
Even as so-called “free trade” was transferring massive amount of wealth from the masses – the poor and the middle-class – to the top five percent of income earners in the U.S. and Canada and virtually every other industrialized country, NeoConservative and NeoLiberal governments have only served to exacerbate the problem.
For the last 30 years, the industrialized countries we now call the G7, G8 and G20 have been tangled in an imbecilic race to the bottom in the taxes the have collected from corporations and the rich. If anyone dares to challenge this great immorality they are reminded that for any one country to do otherwise would render is unable to compete with other countries for investments.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be hosting both the G7 and the G20 this year.
If the G20 made a solemn, collective commitment to all simultaneously and dramatically increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy, the whole problem of international competitiveness would be solved and the sordid upward redistribution of wealth from the masses to the socioeconomic elite of the past 30 years would be halted, simultaneously solving the entire global public debt crisis.
Tell your MP to demand that Harper fight for this kind of reform when the PM hosts the G20.