Tax the Rich! Occupy the Profits!
“The mine owners did not find the gold, they did not mine the gold, they did not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belonged to them!” —Big Bill Haywood
“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us; therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society. In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.” —Karl Marx,1
We workers are being forced to foot the bill for capitalism—from the trillion-dollar wars and corporate bailouts, to the plundering of our environment.
From cuts in wages, and benefits, increased taxes, exorbitant credit-card interest rates, increased parking tickets and postage stamp rates—we are footing the bill for all expenses accrued by the commanders of capital. We are the 99 percent under the dictatorship of the one percent.
While we workers are forced to pay through the nose for the bare necessities of life, the corporations, and the executives who run them, continue to rake-in the dough! They create the rules of law and capital, and they command the police and army to protect and enforce those rules. And, they charge all the costs to the working class.
Here are a few of the more subtle ways they make workers pay.
The stock- options game
In a December 29, 2011 New York Times article by David Kocieniewski titled, “Tax Benefits From Options as Windfall for Businesses,”
“Thanks to a quirk in tax law, companies can claim a tax deduction in future years that is much bigger than the value of the stock options when they were granted to executives. This tax break will deprive the federal government of tens-of-billions of dollars in revenue over the next decade. And it is one of the many obscure provisions buried in the tax code that together enable most American companies to pay far less than the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent—in some cases, virtually nothing even in very profitable years. … A stock option entitles its owner to buy a share of company stock at a set price over a specified period. The corporate tax savings stem from the fact that executives typically cash in stock options at a much higher price than the initial value that companies report to shareholders when they are granted. But companies are then allowed a tax deduction for that higher price. …‘The reason the C.E.O.’s and corporate boards gave all those options during the crisis is because they expected the market to recover—and because the economy is cyclical, everyone knew it would recover,’ said Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of management at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. ‘And the whole game is played with other people’s money—the market’s money and the taxpayers’ money.’”
The commanders of capital simply make up the rules of finance that give tax breaks to the rich and make the poor pay for them. As the old saying goes, “figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure” and the capitalist class can buy the best in both fields—liars and figurers!
Corporations even get away with murder
According to an article in the New York Times, December 6, 2011, by Sabrina Tavernise and Clifford Krauss titled, “Mine Owner Will Pay $209 Million in Blast that Killed 29 Workers,”
“In what officials say is the largest settlement ever in a government investigation of a mine disaster, Alpha Natural Resources agreed to pay $209 million in restitution and civil and criminal penalties for the role of its subsidiary, Massey Energy, in a mine explosion last year that killed 29 men in West Virginia.”
However, in a December 9, 2011 article in the New York Times by David M. Uhlmann, titled, “For 29 Dead Miners, No Justice,” regarding the April 10, 2009 explosion at the Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine,
“In addition to the $46.5 million payout to victims and families, the agreement includes $80 million to bolster safety and infrastructure in all underground mines owned by Alpha and Massey; $48 million to establish a mine health and safety foundation; and about $35 million in fines and fees that Massey owed to the Mine, Safety and Health Administration, the branch of the Department of Labor that oversees the mining industry.”
In other words, the bulk of the settlement will go to Alpha, its subsidiary, Massey Energy, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s own Mine, Safety and Health Administration, to do what they should have done in the first place, which would have avoided the massacre of these miners to begin with!
And, in fact, according to Wikipedia2,
“The restitution payments are $1.5 million to each of the two survivors and the families of each the 29 fatal casualties.”
Essentially, this settlement is forcing the dead and injured miners and their families to subsidize the corporate murderers!
Corporations getting away with murder are not just a U.S. phenomenon. Corporate/governmental corruption is worldwide. It’s happening right now to workers in Japan.
In a December 27, 2011 New York Times article by Hiroko Tabuchi, titled, “Japan Recommends Temporary State Control for Tokyo Electric,”
“The Japanese government told the operator of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Tuesday to consider accepting temporary state control in return for a much-needed injection of public funds, in effect proposing an interim nationalization of the struggling utility. The order came after Tokyo Electric Power requested ¥689.4 billion, or $8.8 billion, in government aid to help pay for its response to the nuclear accident at its Fukushima site.” [Emphasis added]
And, in a December 28, 2011 article in The Telegraph (UK) titled, “Tokyo Electric Power Co. Shares Plunge on Fears Fukushima Nuclear Plant Owner May be Nationalized,” by Gary White,
“Tepco has requested ¥689 billion (£5.7 billion) [$8.8 billion] in government aid to help pay compensation to the victims of the accident. …and it has also asked permission to increase[s] electricity rates to meet its potential ¥4.5 trillion liabilities.”
In other words, Japan’s workers—even the victims of the disasters themselves—will pay for the governmental bailout of TEPCOs murderous criminals.
In a December 5, 2011 article in the New York Times by Steven Greenhouse, titled, “Planned Postal Service Cuts to Slow First-Class Mail,”
“The United States Postal Service [USPS] said on Monday that it would reduce service to cut costs in a move it said could largely eliminate the chance of next-day delivery for stamped letters. Delivery delays will result from the postal service’s decision to shut about half of its 487 mail processing centers across the nation. This would cause the postal service to reduce delivery standards for first-class mail for the first time in 40 years, substantially increasing the distance that mail travels between post offices and processing centers. Current standards call for delivering first-class mail in one to three days within the continental United States. Under the planned cutbacks, those delivery times would increase to two or three days...”
This is a direct hit on the poor. The overwhelming majority of the poor don’t have access to high-speed Internet, electronic bill pay, or electronic banking.3 This means their bill payments via USPS will be late and they will be charged late fees; it means their pension and Social Security checks will arrive late; and it means the corporations who refuse to change billing dates will be able to charge extra late fees, forcing hundreds-of-millions of the poor to pay even more to subsidize these wealthy usurers.
Time to claim the profits we create
The essence of the Occupy movement is the epiphany among the many—the 99 percent—that there is a huge inequality in the distribution of wealth in the world today; and, that this inequality is unjust!
News about soaring corporate profits and exorbitant CEO compensation packages—even “separation” packages worth millions—are bragged about incessantly while workers’ belts are squeezed ever tighter. And the “right to cheat” is the commonly understood “perk” for being among the one percent!
Workers know that “taxable income” is determined and defined by the one percent—the commanders of capital. Everyone knows that CEOs get hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in pay up front on the books; but millions in bonuses and all kinds of other hidden, under-the-table deals—not to mention “off-shore” accounts that enable them to avoid taxes.
Workers know that the world’s wealthy have a multitude of “legal” tricks to avoid taxes, and getting caught, since they make these tricks up themselves as they go! They are the “commanders” of the world capitalist dictatorship—the proverbial one percent—and they are the “deciders.”
Occupy the profits
The slogans, “Tax the Rich!” and “Open the Corporate Books!” should become the rallying cry for the Occupy movement the world over.
The 99 percent have the right to know the full extent of the corporate profits they create for the bosses.
When the boss claims that pensions and pay have to be cut; or that two-tier wage scales must be instituted; or that they must ignore health and safety regulations—or they will go out of business; or move their operation to countries with slave wages and no safety laws—of course workers have the right to see the books and to find out exactly where every dime has gone!
In fact, we workers should demand our right, as the overwhelming majority, to claim these profits for ourselves—to decide to whom these profits should rightfully go, and just where and how they should be spent!
We workers do the work. We create the profits.
When we are finally able to occupy the profits we create, then we will become the “deciders”—free to use the profits from our labor for the good of the many and not for the benefit of the tiny few!
1Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1948.
Chapter II, Proletarians and Communists,
2Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Big_Branch_Mine_disaster
3“Are We All Connected? We believe we are connected, though many can’t pay the price,” Psychology Today, December 9, 2011, by Ken Eisold, Ph.D. in Hidden Motives
”…four out of every ten households with annual household incomes below $25,000 in 2010 reported having wired Internet access at home.”