The middle class drives the economy. Whatever do I mean? If Republicans really gave a shit about economics and prosperity, they'd be talking about corporate tax rates. We have a relatively high corporate tax rate compared to other first-world countries. 33 percent right now. I'd like to see that come down a bit. Why? Because economies do not exist in a vacuum, and what makes an economy a viable, sustainable force is in how it interacts with a global market.
Don't talk to me about giving the CEO a tax-break. So he buys another yacht. Whoop-dee-doo. Sure, the rich have high-end niche markets that play a role in the economy, but that is nothing more than the icing on the cake. The meat-and-potatoes, bread and butter carbohydrates of the economy lies in supermarkets, retail stores, construction companies, automobiles, consumer electronics and so on.
Let's talk about freeing up corporate revenue so that maybe Wal-Mart could afford to better insure their workers. Let's talk about companies using capital to expand and not only create more jobs, but more better jobs. Let's talk about a few more billion dollars being spent on research and development, innovation and efficiency.
Right now, the only thing we're being told as citizens and consumers is that our economic woes can be fixed on the consumption side of things. That consumer spending is what keeps us going. Why else do you think we all have three credit cards, two mortgages and two car payments? It's called a crutch. You see, four-years is too short a cycle to sell long-standing, real economic change. You can't get votes with a speech about these things when it comes down to white-knuckle voting and Yes give me a tax break! I need more money!
Conservatives today don't even realize that they're mortgaging their quality of life away for a few measly percentage points on April 15th. How about we attack our problems from both ends? Let's tackle these issues on the production side for a change. People criticize (some rightly so) the legacy of FDR and what they scornfully call "make-work". Giant public works projects that just put people to work and not much else.
Well, what do you think consumer debt financing and spending counts as? Spending, and not much else. Well, a whole lot else actually. It's called debt, and if your economy is standing on a house of consumer-service oriented cards, you can replace real economic growth and real consumer spending with debt payments. We'll run our economy from the financial sector. Screw everything else! We'll all be debtors and debt collectors.
But the money dries up eventually. Real wages flatten out and living expenses rise with inflation. Inflation exacerbated by debt and infusions of cash. The next thing you know, five dollars isn't even enough gas to get you to work and back. But that's ok, because as long as we can outpace the rising tide and keep those credit card and mortgage payments on time, everything should work out.
As long as the money keeps coming and keeps moving, we'll be just fine... right?