The way senators are reforming the tax code is the clearest indication we need to get money out of politics
It’s become apparent in the last twenty years that our politicians in Washington, the most powerful men and women in the country, are scared shitless of biting the hands that feed them. Our cowards in congress are too chicken to reform the tax code in front of the public or their corporate sponsors.
Leave it to the Daily Show to carry a story that the corporate media wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Republicans and Democrats are trying to rewrite the tax code by wiping the slate clean. Those who support tax preferences must justify their continuation.
In exchange for suggestions on what deductions should remain, Sens. Orrin Hatch and Max Baucus have promised the other senators 50 years of secrecy. The prying eyes of big business will be shut, but same goes for the American tax payer, the people they supposedly serve.
The tax code in the United States hasn’t been reformed in twenty-seven years. The last time it was changed was toward the end of the Reagan Administration. That hasn’t stopped law makers from adding provisions and loopholes that benefit their corporate backers every step of the way.
Loopholes like oil industry deductions for hauling and site preparation (The five largest U.S. oil companies collect $20 billion a year in tax breaks). Carried interest taxed as capital gains. Tax breaks for companies that outsource their manufacturing overseas. Like the daily show pointed out, you can even get a tax break if you’re a farmer that burns chicken poop.
These provisions and loopholes are just a few in a long list of additions over the last three decades. Every part of the tax system has been put in place because someone wants it there.
You might think the politicians who put these provisions in place are just following orders from corporate headquarters, that’s true to some extent, but the reality is a good portion of them are simply looking out for their future interests.
Back in 1974, only 3% of congressmen went on to work as corporate lobbyists in Washington. These days, 42% of house representatives and 50% of senators land well-paid jobs as lobbyists upon leaving office. I guess those $174,000/year senate salaries just aren’t good enough for public servants.
Politicians might run for office with the intention of serving the public trust, but in order to get there, they need to serve the corporate hands that feed their campaign. Once they land in congress, money becomes their sole preoccupation (for re-election or personal gain) and the public trust is soon forgotten.
I wonder if whoever coined the phrase “money is the root of all evil” had politics in mind when he spoke. It’s clearly the single most toxic element to our system of government. When politicians need to pander to lobbyists more than the people, something is obviously broken.
Money in politics has now reached the point where simple suggestions for reforming the tax code warrants a 50 year act of secrecy. Our cowards in congress are either too scared of upsetting their campaign financiers or too scared of offending their constituents. Now it seems most of us will be dead before we find out who offended who.
The only way the political system is going to change in the United States is by getting money out of the political landscape. Reversing the Citizens United decision with a constitutional amendment would be a good start. Publically financed election campaigns would be another. I would even go so far as banning lobbyists; let them picket on the White House lawn like the rest of us.
For more information on what you can do, please visit MoveToAmend.org