In my previous article, I pointed out how significant revenue helped to not only reduce our massive WWII debt, but also created jobs through building national infrastructure, providing college educations to millions of GIs, and paying for several trips to the moon and back.
History is a great tool for learning how to avoid making the same mistakes or for reapplying our past successes. For the last three decades there has been a constant drumbeat from the conservatives without conscience (CWC) which ignores our post WWII success. They insist, instead, on cutting revenue – except for maintaining and advancing our military.
However, protecting our citizens from foreign attack is only part of a working American democracy. We need protection from any source of citizen abuse, and all citizens must be empowered in order to give them an equal opportunity for success. This only happens with sufficient revenue from all who benefit from America’s democracy.
With any question or statement from a CWC, the response requires reframing the discussion and avoiding their conservative worldview and talking points. In this case, reframing the context means showing that revenue is necessary to maintain America’s democracy and all things that promote its functioning.
Begin by asking the CWC if they have children or plan to have children. Ask them if they agree that parents need to protect their children or expect protection from others like firemen, policemen, EMTs, National Guardsmen, disaster relief providers, etc. Ask them if they agree that parents need to empower their children or expect empowerment through resources beyond their ability – such as schools, qualified teachers and universities – so that kids can learn to think critically and have a decent chance of success in a competitive world.
Then ask the CWC if corporations should be provided the means to protect themselves or seek protection elsewhere as needed such as in the United States court system, at the patent office, through trade protection laws, with disaster relief, etc. Ask them if corporations should be empowered or provided the means of empowerment for things such as communication systems, the internet, the stock market for raising funds, the national banking system for low interest loans, interstate highways and bridges or air traffic control so they can deliver their products, etc.
Then ask them who provides these extended and necessary protections and empowerments which are beyond the means of parents or corporations?
Finally, ask them who benefits most from these extended and necessary protections and empowerments? Ask them if those who benefit from those extended and necessary protections and empowerments should pay for those benefits in proportion to their use of them. Shouldn’t corporations that have thousands of 18 wheelers wearing down our highways pay more to use our highways than parents with a 4 wheel vehicle? Shouldn’t corporations that use immense amounts of our natural resources and create immense amounts of waste pay for that usage and for the clean up of their waste?
Shouldn’t everyone pay for keeping our country in good working condition in proportion to their use and depletion of the country’s resources? Shouldn’t everyone pay for their police, firemen, EMTs, and others who check and balance any abuse of power or the taking of harmful shortcuts? Shouldn’t we all pay for the best possible basic education for all citizens? Shouldn’t everyone pay their national dues for all the benefits of being an American citizen or corporation?
(Relative to increased citizenship revenue requirements for corporations, the board of directors has a choice to make. Just because their citizenship dues increase doesn’t mean they must pass it on to their customers. They could just reduce their compensation or cut back on dividends for shareholders. In other words, they could just reduce their excessive profits instead of passing it on. In addition, corporations have little pricing power when unemployment is high and consumer spending is down.)