When did justice become a dirty word?
That’s my question. Whenever you talk about economic justice, the Republican lizard people sneer about winners and losers in capitalism — despite the fact that the so-called “winners” they defend actually got their money by cheating.
Whenever you talk about how the workers that create the actual wealth for companies are getting peanuts and the executives who produce nothing but bullshit and hot air are stealing all the wealth for themselves, they whine about class warfare.
When you talk about the fact that millionaires pay a lower percentage of their income as taxes than teachers do, the lizard people stick their hands over their ears and whine “I can’t hear you, na na na!”
When you talk about how a small set of wealthy Wall Street banks stole the retirements of millions of Americans by selling bogus liar loans that they *knew* were going to go bad as “AAA investment-grade securities” then got the taxpayers to bail them out, thereby reaping any profits from risky business but putting the costs when risks went bad onto the taxpayers, they literally change the subject and start whining about how America just hates the rich.
When you talk about the fact that a small set of absurdly wealthy plutocrats control more wealth than the other 299 million Americans — COMBINED, they call you an anti-capitalist Communist.
And the sad thing is that when you start talking about economic justice, they *still* call you a Communist, even if you’re absurdly capitalist like Nick Kristoff or myself. For the record, you cannot have capitalism in the absence of economic justice, because eventually it decays to crony capitalism (a.k.a. “fascism”) and oligarchy — the dictatorship of the many by the few who control all wealth, who literally have power of life or death over individuals.
So what would economic justice look like?
- Bank of America gets free money from the Federal Reserve and is told they can repay it, well, whenever they feel like it. I want my free money.
- When I don’t pay my bills, my credit rating goes down and it costs me more to borrow money. When Bank of America doesn’t pay their bills, they whine to the government for a bailout and get government-guaranteed loans, and their credit rating goes *UP*. I want that deal too.
- When I do something stupid like buy a house I can’t afford, I lose my house and all the money I invested in it. When Bank of America does something stupid like loan me money to buy a house I can’t afford, they whine about “personal responsibility” — for me, not for them, because they got a bailout from the Federal Reserve via “trash for cash” (i.e., sold the worthless non-performing loan *AT FACE VALUE* to the Fed for cash).
- Warren Buffet released his tax information, we learned that with taxable income of $39 million, he paid $6.9 million in taxes last year, a tax rate of about 17.4%. Me, I’m paying 15.3% in payroll taxes alone (if you count the employer part), plus roughly 20% of my gross income as income taxes (after deductions), meaning that I’m paying around 35% of my gross income as Federal taxes (and that’s not even beginning to count state and local income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes). I want Warren Buffet’s deal — or better yet, let’s trade, let’s let the millionaires have my 35% effective income tax rate and the teachers have Warren Buffet’s 17% effective income tax rate.
- HP CEO Leo Apotheker destroyed millions of dollars of stockholder value yet got paid $25 million for being fired on top of his $1.5 million salary and huge signing bonus and relocation bonus. Meanwhile, hundreds of HP employees are being laid off through no fault of their own, and getting $0. Economic justice is when the Leo Apothekers get the exact same separation pay as the hundreds of low-level people who got laid off due to Apotheker’s incompetence.
All of which, I suppose, is why economic justice has to be a dirty word. Because fairness for ordinary Americans would hardly be fair to the lizard people who, like, deserve to own everything, right? Right?!
This post originally appeared at Badtux the Snarky Penguin.