I think people of all political stripes agree that America needs to get its financial house in order. The breakdown in finding a solution stems from those who think that raising taxes on the richest 2 percent of this country is immoral but that balancing the budget on the back of grandma and her Medicare is not. They are opposed by those who feel raising taxes on the upper 2 percent is very moral, while balancing the budget on grandma's back isn't.
The conservative position seems to be they will not raise taxes on the top 2 percent because they are the job makers. That position causes me to question how useful it is to Americans to let these "job makers" keep their money so they can create jobs in Asia. Because, unless I've missed something, one of the biggest problems we face in achieving a healthy economic recovery is the dearth of available jobs.
So one must ask, if these so called "job makers" haven't used the extra income to create jobs in America in the 10 or so years since they were given the tax break, maybe we should reconsider that tax break.
Most major corporations in America today are multinational groups. They are no more American than they are Asian or African or European. They belong to no one country but to many. And their paperwork reflects that they will claim any place needed to hide their income, be it some small country or small islands with favorable banking rules. They have no loyalty to America, because America is just one more country on their ledgers.
Whether there are black helicopters hovering overhead sent by the U.N. to subvert America or not, the fact is that we are rapidly becoming one world financially, if not physically or politically. The biggest corporations now represent the world, because the world is their customer. When you can get McDonald's in China and Disney in France, you are global, not national. Protecting the people who run these corporations is an exercise in futility. Their loyalty is not to us. It is to profit. And they will go where they have to go in order to realize more profit.
So if you wonder where all those jobs are that these job creators were supposedly making by investing the money we let them keep after the Bush tax break should have expired, check in Asia and South America and Africa. That's where you'll find them.
These are the people we're told should not be asked to give a more proportionate share of their income to keep this country afloat. Instead, we should hit up the poorest of the poor and the elderly. We should literally take from the mouths of school children through cuts to their hot lunch programs. That's how we should balance our budget. The whole idea makes me queasy in that it forces me to confront the fact that just maybe big business has completed its takeover of our government. Corporations apparently buy and sell our politicians like so many shares of stock on Wall Street.
I feel as though I am watching my country's soul sold down the river for an extra few million in the pockets of people for whom an extra few million is one step up from pocket change.
There was a time when Americans cared about their country's soul. And I do not mean that religiously. I mean there was a time before we turned a blind eye while our country tortured, a blind eye while our economy was raped by corrupt and greedy mega-billionaires, a blind eye to a prison camp in which people are apparently condemned to life sentences without any legal justification. There was a time Americans would have found those things abhorrent and would not have tolerated them.
Some in America rail against our loss of morality, against gay marriage and pornography. But the true loss of morality is seen in the way the powerful treat the powerless, the way we stand by and watch as the haves take it all while the have-nots see what little they have taken away. We watch as politicians claim that taking from the poor to give to the rich is the right thing to do.
Now that's as immoral as it gets.
Elise Patkotak is an Alaska writer and author of "Parallel Logic," her memoir of 28 years in Barrow. Website, www.elisepatkotak.com.