Thursday, January 13, 2011

Incongruity -OR- Harold Be Thy Name

Let's have another go at this. Seeing as Illinois has just passed a 66% increase in the state income tax and a big jump in the corporate rate as well, the screaming and shouting and laughing is at a fever pitch.

You have Gov Daniels of Indiana saying that it's "like living next door to Homer Simpson" and Gov. Walker of Wisconsin declaring that his state is ready to welcome all of the BUSINESSES (and their revenue)who'll be fleeing Illinois, without mentioning any wretched refugees of the working class. Gov. Christie of Snookiville is chiming in too, about how he's slashed the budget and screwed the unions and really enjoyed his get-away during the snowfall that crippled his state. Good thing.
He's tanned, rested and ready to appear across the newsfotainment spectrum to brag on his talents. And gosh darn it, people like him.

At least a dozen, unrelated, people have told me that they are moving to Indiana. Lock Stock and Barrel. To get out from under these draconian taxes rates (5% from 3% which was up "temporarily" from 1.5%) My first thought was "Oh yes, PLEASE! Good. See ya. It'll raise the cummulative IQ of both states". My second thought was to get it in writing. I wish them all the best of luck. I won't have to listen to their bullshit anymore.

Not just their crap about how Li-bur-als and DFHs have ruined this country, but their phallic over-compensating bragging about their $400 haircuts, their $25 cigars, their get-away place in Lake Geneva or their ten-grand-a-year private school for their over-scheduled over-achiever snot-nosed progeny without a clue that their POV is not only, just plain STOOPID, but the same ego-centric, I got mine; fuck you! thinking that's brought on these times.

The plain truth of Illinois' financial problems is that well-connected pals and cronies have co-opted the system and gotten obscenely well-paid by their sell-out pals in state government. Blago's "pay to play" wasn't a one-off anomaly. Latching on to the public teat has long been an admirable pursuit in the grifter set. The nods and winks have been around since the glory days of Al Capone. And it was the FEDERAL government who finally stepped in and broke up the party. Same shit; different century. The scope has widened markedly and affects governments at every conceivable level in American life. SFAIK, no DFHs got rich. They mostly went to work so they could pay their taxes so they could buy their weed so they could escape thinking about their taxes being wasted by getting wasted themselves.

In essence, we elect politicians to manage and, hopefully, minimize expenses, so that things get done at a sustainable, acceptable cost. Corruption; controlled and properly mindful of its dependencies, was an effective management tool with predictable costs and overhead.

Then Reagan happened. Suddenly Unions were evil. Fighting to curb inherent, genetic corporate greed along with assuring that their workers shared in the fruits of their labor with negotiated risks to life and limb was no way to run anything. Mother company would provide, without oversight, a much better path to prosperity for all.

Emptying out the long-term psychiatric treatment centers; instead running the afflicted around an impossible social services maze for which a homeless life on the streets, un-medicated, was a likely result, SOLVED the problem. Easy peasy!

Keeping more of the federal tax dollars under direct budgetary control instead of returning those funds back to the states allowed Reagan to gloss over his utter failure to reduce federal spending as promised, by throwing all those retained tax dollars into defense and the star wars weapons he was told would make him beloved throughout all time.

Saner minds of the day attempted to explain the consequences. They were steamrolled by the avalanche of loose-flowing riches provided by emptying the treasury and trebling the national debt.

Back in the states, Governors scrambled to replace those federal dollars. They did it by sin taxes wherever possible, by reducing their "redistributions" back to the localities, (which is where the 1.5 to 3% Illinois increase came from under Big Jim Thompson), by further shifting education back to local districts, by hyping the lottery as education's funding mechanism, by "BORROWING" from its pension obligations
and deferring maintenance and repair work.

A phrase used early and often was "a gun to our head". As in, we had no other choice but to borrow, spend and pretend that Reaganomics was sound policy.

We are reaping what's been sown for the last 40 years. Somehow forced to accept it without actually admitting its cause. To do that, somebody would have to say just how full of shit Ronald Wilson Reagan was and that his leadership has taken us to a
inhospitable place. That value and worth are now so distractingly untethered from any real world connected economic theory that we now have to sell the cow and revert to some nomadic greener grass fantasy just so the few can keep up their facade.

Another fight or flight proposition brought to us by St. Ronnie whose entire life and careers were based on fiction and pretense. Glory, glory...His falsehoods keep marching on.

A fitting tribute. Starring Harold as RWR.


amber ladeira said...

Dear Watcher,

Your January 13th post is excellent, as always.
(But is it excellent because I
agree with it??--Hmmn.)

The only bone I have to pick with you regards Reagan and the unions.
You seem to be saying that there
was practically neglible union
busting/opposition before 1980, which would not be accurate, as I've followed unions since my brief employment at the Minneapolis Main Post Office branch, 1969. I didn't feel I needed anyone but me to represent my interests, but could certainly see that others may not feel so bold/confident, so bring on the new union, which was about
to form there.

Unions, and the guilds in Europe
earlier, are a mixed picture, mostly positive, but there IS
negativity, i.e., the Teamsters,
which were of zero help when the
Chicago Tribune's three unions were
locked out without a contract in
1986. (The Tribune's reason would
knock you out with its arrant

Gov. Jim Thompson, Cardinal Bernardin and Reagan's
NLRB all attempted to mediate
with the intransigent Tribune;
all of the above found the Tribune
bargaining in bad faith, yes,
Reagan's NLRB too.

I wrote a 9 page piece about this
whole saga which Andy Shaw tried
to help me with, connecting me with
ABC in NYC. No go theorem, that.
If you're interested, I'll tell
you more of what I learned during
one of the USA's longest printers'

P.S.: I was actually at a PATCO
hearing in DC (1981) detailing the
"issue(s)" which brought their leadership to strike status....I wish you'd been there; they were only going for more money, nothing being said about safety, the dangerous (to the controllers as well as flight passengers) working conditions, etc.

amber ladeira said...

--AACK, I misspelled "negligible":
haste indeed makes waste. Take care. Best, A.

Rehctaw said...

Tis a long and storied past of labor unions. The federal troops, the strikebreakers, the outside agitators... It's a pretty disproportionate tally. Full of compromise.

By no means was Reagan an innovator in that field except that he inserted himself as the sole non-negotiator against PATCO.

That was new territory.