Monday, July 10, 2017

Week of 07/10/2017

Government Through Fairy Tales
You probably heard about the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, right?  Each of the three pigs built a home made of different materials; one of straw, one of twigs, and one of bricks.  Each of them were visited by the big bad wolf, but while the wolf huff and puffed and blew down the first two houses, he couldn’t damage the one made from bricks.
How about the tale of the little old lady who was so poor that she lived in a shoe along with all of her children?  She starved them because she couldn’t even afford bread, and then beat them until they slept.  No, seriously.  That’s how the original rhyme went.
How about the story of the hard-working small businessman who was so miserly yet so concerned about the well-being of his workers that he put every penny the company made back into the business?  No?  You sure you haven’t heard that one before?  That’s funny because you hear that every time you turn on conservative and neo-conservative talk radio or visit their websites or see their cable propaganda channels.
We would like to believe that our legislatures, of all sizes, craft laws and rules based on sound and rational thought.  That they approach these matters with impartial discovery and scientific investigations and even some quasi-judicial proceedings to get to the truth and then prudently develop the proper legislative solution that fully addresses the matter.
Unfortunately, everything that I just told you now is nothing more than a complete and absolute fairy tale.  Pigs can’t build houses.  Nobody, no matter how old or little, can live in a shoe, much less live in abject poverty with lots of children.  And certainly our legislatures do not craft legislation or regulation or otherwise set rules based on anything rational or reasonable.
“But what about the hard-working small businessman who puts everything back into the company?” some of you ask.  “Surely they are real!  We hear about them all of the time!”
Yes, we hear about them.  Then again, we also hear about highway construction jobs full of goldbricking deadbeats, and the mothers with eight kids on food stamps that buy nothing but fillet mignon steaks and champagne with taxpayer money, and the strippers that have sex with all of their patrons, and the homeless guy who will take any amount of change they get to buy booze and drugs.  And if you believe any of those things are true, then I need to introduce you to a Nigerian prince with a suitcase full of money that has the deal of the century for you!
Because the truth of the matter is that the “hard-working small businessman who puts every penny they make back into the company” is just another modern-day myth spread by glorified con artists on behalf of big corporate interests that are far from altruistic. 
How do I know this?  Because let’s get brutally honest here... you can’t put every penny you get back into the company and still claim a profit.
Profit is what you get from your revenue over and above your overhead, or the costs of your business, such as payroll, material, manufacturing, warehousing inventory, etc.  Anything left over after paying all of that is profit.  That money goes to the owners and the investors of the business.  That’s how they make money.
Hiring new people, giving raises and bonuses to current employees, expanding your business, changing locations, upgrading your equipment or inventory or even your computers are all expenses.  They’re part of the overhead.  In other words, that is less money that can be considered profit.  If you’re putting all of that money you made back into the company, then you really have no profit to claim.  And in the current business environment based on the pervasive parasitic predatory philosophy of plunder, where profit is king, not having profit to claim means that you are a failure in the business world.
Plus, are you really going to tell investors such as banks that you’re going to put *their* share of the profits back into the company for overhead?  Banks are not in the business of investing in companies and then getting nothing back from them.
So why are we talking about this modern-day fairy tale?  Because that is all that the GOP is seemingly fixated on!
The GOP on both the federal and state level have an obsessive-compulsive fixation on giving huge stinking tax breaks for business as well as eliminating pretty much every regulation imposed on businesses that don’t involve sexual activity.  (Funny how they want to double-down on only that part.)  It’s the “quo” in the “quid pro quo” of them getting in office.  But in order to justify these gifts to the wealthy, they have to come up with a story to sell it to the masses.  And by “story”, I mean the modern-day fairy tale that have us all believe that businesses are impoverished and hamstringed by overbearing government bureaucrats and tax-and-spend liberals with a Robin Hood fetish.  All we supposedly have to do is to give them huge tax breaks and free reign to operate however they want and, boom, instant job growth and wealth for everyone beyond the dreams of avarice.
Only we’ve been down this road before... several times, in fact... and while the wealthy get the gold mine, the rest of us get the shaft.
But we still keep coming back to it, don’t we?  We keep voting for people who tell this fairy tale.  Hell, that’s part of the reason why we have an orange-skinned narcissist in the White House and a Congress run by sadistic sociopaths.  Because we want to believe that fairy tale to be true; just like we want to believe that highway jobs are full of goldbrick deadbeats, that unwed mothers that breed like cats use food stamps to buy steak and champagne, that strippers do more than strip for money, and that homeless people live on nothing but booze and drugs.
Pretty much every bad government law and bad policy are based on fairy tales.  We went to war in Iraq over weapons that could not be found and international sales of “yellow cake” that did not happen.  Our president imposed a travel ban on certain Islamic-dominated nations for fear of terrorism, but not on the nations that actually sent over terrorists in the past.  Why?  Because said orange-skinned narcissist claimed to have personally seen Muslims rejoicing after 9/11 in a completely different state from where he was in at the time.
It’s too bad that we couldn’t use the fairy tales of old to justify policy.  The story of the three little pigs could champion construction codes.  The old lady with the kids living in a shoe could justify better living conditions for the poor and starving.  But... I guess there’s no profit in those things.  And in today’s profit-obsessed business world, that is the only moral that matters.

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