Tag Archives: business

A Progressive Argument for a Flat Tax

"The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor", lithograph depicting the Boston Tea PartyDemocrats and Republicans will only agree to changes in the tax codes if forced to by their caucus or in exchange for tax contributions. The debt default is looming, so let’s strike a deal.

  • A deal that requires no passage of a debt extension – now, or ever again.
  • A deal that protects social programs while creating incentives to make them more efficient.
  • A deal that allows a Democrat in the White House and a Democrat majority in the Senate to pass a series of core Republican initiatives – how’s that for reaching across the aisle?
  • A deal that will make the business lobby happy and create millions of new jobs for unemployed and under-employed Americans.

Tax subsidies without representation is tyranny.

The US tax code is more than 50,000 pages. Few among us have any idea of what is really in there. Much of the tax code was written decades ago to correct wrongs, incentivize or favor one economic group, investor, industry or corporation. Rather than even attempting to fix something politically impossible to fix, I propose that in exchange for striking all current tax regulation1, we:

  • Pass a balanced budget amendment requirement with tax rates to be set each year based on the CBO estimate of authorized spending and projected emergencies (war, for instance) requiring only a conference committee finding and a simple majority vote not subject to Senate filibuster rules to pass:
    • A flat personal income tax – the same tax rate paid for every individual with:
      • An exemption of $6,0002 for each person or a standard deduction of $15,000;
      • An exemption for charitable contributions up to $2,0003 to incent personal investment in important personal causes that help us all;
      • A continued exemption for contributions to a retirement, education or health savings account;
  • End all corporate taxes with a requirement that corporate income, no matter where in the world it is earned, be dispersed as dividends to shareholders4;
  • End payroll taxes for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid getting the fiction that there are “trust funds” and removing those intra-governmental holdings from the national debt – which, by the way, would end the need to pass an extension of the national debt.

Yes, it would mean that any special break would have to be a direct subsidy including businesses or groups, energy initiatives, capital gains and home ownership2.

Yes, it would mean the payroll tax income limit capped at $106,800 in income (2010), would end, but so would the employer share of payroll taxes.

Yes, it would end double taxation of corporate profits by their shareholders.

Yes, inheritance, beyond the tax household, would also be subject to the flat tax. However, existing trust and charitable exemptions should continue to apply.

Yes, it would end an industry of the more than 1.2 million Americans employed as tax preparers and have negative economic impact on the US Postal service, the IRS, tax attorneys and the printing and paper industries. (Perhaps, at some time, if they have friends in Congress, they could receive a subsidy to be reeducated.)

Yes, a zero tax rate would be a huge benefit to business, especially small business. Large corporations simply do not pay at rates anywhere near the tax rates anymore. Small businesses do. Millions of new jobs would be created. Companies now sheltered in off-shore tax havens could finally be repatriated.

Yes, it would directly impact foreign investment in the US. Investors who earn money here would be required to pay taxes. Seems fair.

Yes, this plan, at least on paper, unfairly benefits the higher income taxpayers and is inherently unprogressive. However, that does not pass the real life test. The earnings of the very rich earn are deferred, unearned, sheltered and buried in million dollar losses – their effective rates would go up. If future Congresses want to address this, let them.

Yes, it would absolutely make each Federal expenditure have direct political consequences in its direct impact on the tax rate – that includes war, corn ethanol and new office buildings.

Yes, there would be huge incentive for our politicians to get as many people working as possible since each would be figured into the tax rate.

No, it would have little direct impact on state taxes. Each state would have to decide. Sure, there would be less competition for industry displacement using tax incentives, but we can all live with that.

What would the rate be? Nobody knows. I believe it would likely be about 25%.

Here are some examples based on a family of four (not retired), comparing current tax rates that include self-employment taxes (Social Security, 10.4% and Medicare, 2.9% taxes up to $106,800) with a 25% flat rate:

Income

Subject to Tax

Total Tax

Effective Tax Rate

Subject to Tax

Total Tax

Effective Tax Rate

$17,000

$5,400

$3,961

23.3%

$0

$0

0.0%

$69,000

$57,400

$19,527

28.3%

$45,000

$11,250

16.3%

$139,350

$127,750

$49,042

35.2%

$115,350

$28,838

20.7%

$212,300

$200,700

$73,648

34.7%

$188,300

$47,075

22.2%

$379,150

$367,550

$139,324

36.7%

$355,150

$88,788

23.4%

$1,000,000

$988,400

$364,204

36.4%

$976,000

$244,000

24.4%

This is a serious outside-the-box suggestion to an extraordinarily complicated problem (click here for my suggestion for solving the immigration issue). I encourage you to ask your questions and express your concerns in the comment box. It is not perfect, but far better than status quo. If you like it, please send it to someone who can make a difference – a Congresperson, or a lobbyist.
___________

 

1 Allowable business expenses would need to be defined for such things as charity and political contributions, allowable travel and entertainment; employee benefits and executive compensation; deferred options; etc. Specialized taxes and fees for service (toxic waste clean up, FDA approval) would need to be reviewed separately.

2 $6,000 is an example. A balance would need to be struck between a progressive figure and one that simply recognizes the cost, including health insurance of non-income earning household members (BKA: children, disabled, retired, etc.) and the minimum cost of a residence. In large part, this deduction is intended to minimize the loss of the homeownership tax deduction for taxpayers who itemize and progressively address tax rates for middle to lower income taxpayers.

3 This limit is intended to incent charity without unfairly benefitting an economic group or a specific charity. I’m flexible here.

4 The requirement should allow for some retained income and reserves, and should be averaged over a number of years. Shareholders, including holding companies off-shore would be required to file tax US tax returns subject to the Federal tax rate.

Senate votes $18 billion in breaks for tax cheats

In an alarming show of bipartisan corruption, the Senate voted 81 to 19 to cancel the 1099 requirement from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – better known as the fascist-socialist-unconstitutional-budget-busting-obamacare law. Obama, who signaled his support of the repeal during the State of the Union, is expected to sign the bill during a press conference to announce his plans to run for reelection as a both a small “d” democrat and a Teapublican.

Corporate television “news” channels were quick to announce the story with breaking spin saying campaign contributers have been heard and announcing this great Republican victory as the first step toward total repeal* of the fascist-socialist-unconstitutional-budget-busting-obamacare law while allowing small businesses to focus on the critical work of growing their businesses and creating jobs instead of IRS paperwork.

The 1099 requirement mandated all businesses, beginning in 2012, report to the Internal Revenue Service purchases of $600 or more to another business or individual.

You might be asking, “Just, what in the hell did that have to do with healthcare?” Taxes.

You might be asking, “Huh? Reporting causes taxes?” Yes. When payments are reported, individuals and business are required to pay tax on that income. Without the 1099s, the treasury expects it will add $18 billion a year to the deficit. Those revenues were included in the funding sources to pay for the healthcare law.

You might be asking, “Then how are going to make up for the lost revenue?” Best question. They aren’t. In an effort to make up the lost tax revenue, Democrats wanted it funded by requiring requiring other tax cheats, American companies, especially oil companies, that are hiding revenues offshore, to pay taxes – they were voted down by a laugh vote. The Republican-sponsored repeal directs the Office of Management and Budget to take up to $44 billion appropriated for other purposes, but not yet spent, and pretend that it won’t be, even though it will be.

You might be asking, “If the entire future of America rests on getting the deficit under control, why would they do this?” The simple answer is, that unless our Senators are reelected, they won’t have a future and, if they don’t have a future, they will have to become lobbyists. The more complicated answer is, that all requirements are bad; all taxes are bad; tax cheats have more money for campaign contributions than law-abiding, taxpayers do; and, businesses, of course, have unlimited amounts of money for campaign contributions.

You might be asking, “Aren’t you being just a wee bit unfair? I have read on the internets that this overly burdensome requirement would cause up to 40% of American businesses to close their doors.” Yes, I am just a wee bit unfair. This requirement not only gets people to pay their taxes, but is a secret stimulus plan to create jobs for accountants and lawyers, while keeping the US Postal Service in business.

More fairly, the way the 1099 requirement was written, it was almost impossible for businesses to fulfill. A competent Congress should have revised the requirement, not repeal it.

_____
* A vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act failed in the Senate with all 47 Republicans voting for repeal and 51 Democrats voting against repeal.

Pledge to America: the cliff notes

The long awaited sequel to Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract On America,” is out. Here are cliff notes. A summary of sorts inspired by Cliff Hillegrass’ original, but written for the lemmings expected to be led and fall from the cliff.

Overall:

Republicans pledge to reconnect with their version of the “permanent truth” of long-buried, rich, slave-owning white men – none of whom were Baptist – who lived in a time before indoor plumbing, electricity, automobiles, telephones, television, internets, rights for women or people of color, automatic weapons, predator drones, polling, political action committees, Republicans, Democrats, citizenship, elections, Wall Street, public libraries, credit cards, corporations, health insurance, retirement plans, banks, dollars, and the life expectancy was about 30.

Republicans pledged to offer a “plan,” rather than an “agenda.” They announced their firm patriotic pledge to be against uncertainty, red-tape factories specifically located in Washington, D.C. (other color tape factories and those red-tape factories in other areas are apparently just fine) and people not working. They reaffirmed their pledge to listen to the minority mob at this critical time when those elected by the majority don’t seem to be listening to Fox.

Based on the 50 photos in their 48 page pledge, they are also pro-cowboy hats and are really really pro-white people – only one person of color was shown, John Boehner who is orange.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs:

They believe our economic problems are caused by heavy hands, a dead economist, and the continued cowardice of business owners. They believe the Democrat bill that provided the largest middle class tax cut in history, revenue sharing to the states to keep schools open and teachers and police on the job, and investments to rebuild roads and bridges that put construction workers back to work should have been cancelled.

They pledge to put people back to work by not spending money and definitely not hiring them by the government. They believe that it is critical to give people making so much money that they couldn’t find enough tax dodges and have to report over $250,000 in earned income a 3% tax break. They believe the Republican initiative to save Wall Street has caused investor uncertainty, but that if Wall Street has to obey the rules, they won’t take risks and our economy won’t trickle on middle class and poor people.

They pledge to end the deficit by permanently not raising taxes, giving more tax deductions to corporations, repealing the requirement for corporations to report expenses over $600, and requiring an act of Congress for almost any new business regulation. The Republicans pledge “put us a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt” by immediately cutting $100 billion from the stimulus bill that would have been used to buy American products and hire Americans to rebuild decaying public buildings and bridges. They pledge to go back to the Clinton-era, Obama-endorsed, pay-as-you-go strategy on new spending, except in the cases of unexpected emergency Republican spending such as highway funding, new subsidies for agriculture, more fighter jets built in Republican districts, etc. They also have pledged support of Obama’s plan to re-privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Healthcare:

They pledge to immediately repeal healthcare reform and replace it with common sense, allowing HSAs to be used for anything in a drug store, getting rid of state regulation of health insurance companies, and, of course, tort reform. No mention of the 50+ million Americans who don’t have health care coverage. They also pledge to discontinue the federal prohibition on abortion funding and replace it with a prohibition on abortion funding.

Government Reform:

The Republicans pledge a requirement that every law carry a Congressional version of a Bush signing statement – just a little something to clarify intent which can be used before the Supreme Court or campaign contributors. The idea is that regardless of whether the bill is constitutional, if they say it is, and the President signs it, they agree on intent, which should put the judiciary on proper unconstitutional notice not to disagree.

They pledge to require that all bills be posted 72 hours before a vote as the Democrats already do. The theory is that it will give Rush, Glenn and Sarah more time to alert the radio, cable and tweetisphere to alert the people to alert the pollsters to alert the staff to alert our leaders how to vote.

They pledge to require that at any point in the process, any legislator can offer an amendment to reduce spending and send the bill back to a committee to restart the never ending process which should, once and for all, mean that Congress will never pass another bill while a black man is in the White House. If that doesn’t work, they also pledge to make sure measures are passed “one at a time” rather than bundling a critically important-to-K-Street bill with other bills not considered important by Republicans. And if that doesn’t work, they also pledge to put an expiration date on all federal programs to coincide with election years including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but plan to save Social Security by cutting benefits until it is so unpopular that we won’t want it any longer.

They particularly are against big government, but pledge no specific size goals. They are also pro-accountability and transparency, which is code for, “we can’t wait to start the inquisition of Obama.”

Security:

Not much here. I suppose they got to their page limit. They pledge to pass a “Clean Troop Funding Bill,” I know it sounds as if the Republicans are anti-dirty troops, but they aren’t. The pledge is totally meaningless except to provide some cover should they fail on other pledges and have to pass a military funding bill that includes bridges to nowhere.

They also pledge to “demand an Overarching Detention Policy” to prevent those illegally detained by our government anywhere in the world, but especially those in Guantanamo, from having a fair trial, to fully fund the fully funded Star Wars missile defense shield, even though it is still illegal by treaty and will never work, but Reagan wanted it, and they reiterate their dislike for Iran and immigrants, but pledge no specifics of how they are going to make their lives worse.

Energy:

They pledge they are for domestic energy production and against cap and trade, but pledge no specifics and certainly didn’t pledge anything to address global climate change or new energy sources.

The complete 48 page Republican “Pledge to America” can be read here.

The Race for the money

Pink Products

The Business of Breast Cancer

Just look at the market: one in eight American women will get it — based on current US populations, that works out to 19,337,500 potential customers. 192,370 new customers just this year who will spend the Medicare average of $31,735, or more, to treat it.

The CDC says $7 billion was spent on treatment of diagnosed breast cancer in 2007, but that number doesn’t come close to the total amounts spent on living with it or fearing you’ll get it. Eight in eight American women (154.7 million) are aware that they could be the one in eight.

Breast cancer is a multi-billion dollar business. For every positive test, someone profits. Those companies want you to survive for as long as you possibly can pay — for every death, those who profit suffer, too. Callous as that sounds, it is true.

Here are some figures to give you an idea of the scale of the efforts towards early detection and a cure:

Research Spending:

Then there are those who wish to influence your government to either find a cure, help those who suffer or pad their profits (please note: large lobby groups do not break out their spending by initiative, specific cancer, etc., but their influence is clear):

2008 Lobby Spending:

  • National Breast Cancer Coalition: $174,619
  • Medical Equipment & Supplies: $6.3 million
  • Big Pharma: $29.2 million (not breast cancer specific)
  • Insurance: $46.8 million (all companies)
  • Health Professionals: $95.2 million

In addition to hospitals, imaging centers, physicians, surgeons, radiologists, rehab centers, hotels near treatment centers, airlines, ambulances, family counselors, book publishers, vitamin firms, alternative treatment practitioners, wig, hat and pink paraphernalia stores, here are some lists of just some of those who are sucking on the money tit.

Drugs: $36.7 billion
This is a list of annual sales of drugs used to treat breast cancer. It is just a partial list and many of these drugs are also used for other diseases. It also doesn’t begin to list the drugs and the profits required to live with the pain, suffering and side effects.

  • Femara (Letrozole): $1.1 billion (Source: 2008 Novartis Annual Report)
  • Aromasin (Exemestane): $465 million (Source: 2008 Pfizer Annual Review)
  • Arimidex (Anastrozole): $1.9 billion (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Tamoxifen (generic): $1.1 billion, estimate (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Fareston (Toremifene): $2.9 million (still in testing: Source GTx, Inc. news release)
  • Evista (Raloxifene): $1.1 billion (2007 – Source: Eli Lilly press release)
  • Herceptin (Trastuzumab): $1.4 billion (Source: Genetech web site) –  note: annual treatment expense: >$100,000
  • Lapatinib (Tykerb): $162 million (recently approved: Source: 2008 GlaxoSmithKline Annual Report)
  • Ixempra (azaepothilone B): $500 million, estimated (Source: FiercePharma.com/Bristol-Myers Squibb)
  • Xeloda (Capecitabine): $1.2 billion (Source: 2008 Roche Annual Report)
  • Aredia: $21 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Barr Pharma)
  • Pamidronate (generic): $553 million, estimate (Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Paclitaxel: $1.6 billion (Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb10-K filing)
  • Adriamycin (Doxorubicin): $550 million (Source: EvalutatePharma.com)
  • Pamidronate (Darbepoetin alfa): $550 million (now generic. Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Aranesp (Darbepoetin alfa): $4.1 billion (Source: 2006 Amgen Annual Report)
  • Epogen: $2.5 billion (Source: 2006 Amgen Annual Report)
  • Procrit/Eprex: $3.3 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Johnson & Johnson)
  • Aredia (generic/Pamidronic acid): $21 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Barr Pharma)
  • Epirubicin (generic): $68 million (Source: Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network/Teva)
  • Faslodex (Fulvestrant): $250 million  (Source: 2008 AstraZeneca Annual Report)
  • Lupron, Eligard (Leuprolide): $1.8 billion (Source: Mongabay.com/Abbott)
  • Gemzar (Gemcitabine): $1.3 billion (2005 – Source: Eli Lilly press release)
  • Neulasta (Pegfilgrastim): $3 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Amgen)
  • Neupogen (Filgrastim): $300 million (Source: AccessMyLibrary.com)
  • Docetaxel (Taxotere): $2 billion (Source: MedicalNewsToday.com/Sanofi-Aventis)
  • Vinorelbine (generic/Navelbine): $26 million (Source: EvalutatePharma.com)
  • Zoladex (Goserelin Acetate): $1.1 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/AstraZeneca)
  • Zometa, Zomera, Aclasta and Reclast (Zoledronate): $1.2 billion (Source: EvalutatePharma.com/Novartis)

Mammography Equipment: $610 million (US only). Source: Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Price range: $58,000-$76,000 each. Doesn’t include CT’s, ultrasounds, new digital breast imaging equipment, or mobile devices.

Breast Implants (not just breast cancer):

  • Allergan: $310 million (source: 2008 Annual Report)
  • Mentor Corporation (Johnson & Johnson): $328.4 million (source: Bloomberg)

Miscellaneous:

  • Breast Cancer Postage Stamps: $34.5 million (since 1998)

The perfect business plan

  1. Sell products that promise to solve life’s most feared problem: death.
  2. Acquire or force out all or most competitors in your market area.
  3. Make it unimaginably difficult, if not impossible, for a start-up business to compete with you.
  4. Spread regulation over 50 states so no one entity really regulates anything.
  5. Contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to campaigns of regulators at all levels of government including the courts and threaten each with loss of support in the next election.
  6. Promote privacy so no one knows what your service costs, what works, how well it works or how you do what you do.
  7. Gradually raise the price high enough that most consumers will be able to pay you for your service, but not have enough left to afford co-payments to use your service.
  8. Create a paper-based administrative system so complicated that it cannot possibly be audited.
  9. Deny payment of services for arbitrary reasons to routinely scare the hell out of your providers and their customers.
  10. Sell a product to those who don’t need it and tell them if they ever stop buying it and need it, they won’t be allowed to.
  11. Require every business to deduct the cost of your service from employee pay checks before they waste it on things like food or shelter.
  12. Require by law that all consumers buy your product or pay thousands of dollars in fines.
  13. Require government to pay for all consumers who cannot afford your product or choose not to purchase it.
  14. Play on the fears of the aged, the infirmed and the uninformed in your advertising.
  15. Play on the fears of the former middle class that government involvement will mean higher prices, higher taxes, and the services they worked so desperately to afford, will be diminished or rationed.
  16. Collude with providers to fix all prices and be the only source for payment of their services.
  17. Play Congress and the President by pretending to offer concessions on future price increases in return for a law to prevent government negotiation of prices.
  18. Stand ready with unlimited advertising budgets, corrupt industry experts and politicians, willing media partners and misinformation should any constituency turn on you.
  19. Gradually increase the pressure of your grip on society’s privates until the pain is so great we all fall on our knees and will do whatever they want.
  20. Don’t make or provide any useful function to society.

In the Public Trust

Great Depression

Debates rage in Congress, State Houses and on Cable News over government intrusion on business. Talk of bailouts, nationalizing banks, regulating hedge funds, limiting power companies’ pollution, charging fair grazing fees and mining rights on public lands, direct loans to corporations, pseudo-government corporate ownership, government-sponsored investment funds, companies too-big-to-fail, corporate campaign contributions, limiting offshore tax havens, unfair government competition with cable and telephone suppliers over opening up the broadcast spectrum to free wireless internet to everyone, and unfair government competition with private insurers over universal medical coverage (to name more than a few), has brought labels of socialism, big government and anti-business back to the forefront of popular Google searches. So, what is the role of business vis-a-vis government?

Before there were corporations, there was government. Before government, there were people. Corporations are allowed to exist only because government gives them the standing. Likewise, at least in the US, government is only allowed to exist because of a special pact – a contract, if you will, with the people. We refer to it most often as the Constitution. It is the people, who have inalienable rights. Not government. And certainly not business.

While individuals have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” corporations do not. For much of US history, to create what we now call a corporation, required an act of a state legislature and those charters were closely regulated to protect the public interest (the federal government can only create corporate entities from the powers derived from the Constitution – for instance, Federal Banks). Things changed dramatically in late 20th century as states wishing to attract more “bizness,” loosened regulations (Delaware and Nevada are the most notorious for lack of regulation and where the largest corporations who have not yet gone offshore to escape almost any regulation or taxes, are most likely chartered).

Corporations, when combined with inexhaustible supplies of capital; limited stockholder representation in management; competition between states who would look the other way on regulation in exchange for the hope of jobs and campaign contributions; an inexhaustible supply of workers – legal or otherwise; new manufacturing and distribution methods; the expansion of the patent laws; the proliferation of lobbyists and their perks; the lack of transparency of what they were doing before it was too late; their unlimited budget for lawyers; and the opportunity for profit, lead quickly, of course, to monopolies, aka: cartels (and predatory pricing, price gouging, manipulation of markets by limiting supplies, collusion, discriminatory trade, tort reform, inability to organize workers, fraud, bribery, dangerous products, pollution, more lobbying, George W. Bush, etc.). Nefarious monopolies were first outlawed around 50BC, and in the US in 1894, but the laws are largely ignored here except during times when the majority of the Supreme Court was appointed by Democrats. There are some exceptions to the monopoly law. Most notable are professional sports and public utilities which are supposed to maintain infrastructure for a public service and be closely regulated, but the power to corrupt will always trump good intentions.

By now, your thoughts must be screaming, “when will you get to the point?” How ‘bout I skip the rest of the civics lesson and offer it now? Our government need not protect an industry or corporation’s ability to profit when it is contrary to the public trust. Government needs to do what’s good for the people. Practical examples:

• We’ve gone to digital television to open up the underutilized television broadcast spectrum. Our so-called public utilities (cable, satellite providers, wired and wireless phone companies and power companies – okay, not all in this list are still public utilities) want to own this spectrum so they can continue to do what they do best: provide as little service as possible while charging us as much as possible. Problem is, this bandwidth (and about a billion dollars or so, some cooperation/mergers and some maintenance) could provide internet access for everyone and the enhanced internet could be used to replace all cell and television service saving the people hundreds of billions every year. What is in the public good?

• US employers need to be more globally competitive, yet the cost of providing employee heath insurance is among their greatest expense. The number of uninsured in the US is about 50 million and rising. As a society, we pay for care anyway through indigent care expenses, lost productive and taxed wages, and early death of the uninsured. The problem is that we have the health insurance industry and they have lobbyists. Ditto the unions. Ditto big-pharma. Now ask yourself, what’s in the public good? Maintaining a vibrant health insurance industry, helping executives and union members have extravagant health plans and allowing the drug companies to overcharge? Or, making business more competitive and everyone more healthy at a lower cost?

• Admittedly, any regulation of hedge funds would make them less competitive with the criminals in other countries and it may mean that some of these imaginary deals will end up being made offshore, but since they do absolutely nothing to positively improve the human condition short of enriching the schemers themselves, is it really in the public good that they should do whatever they want and answer to no one when the result of this practice so far, has led to financial ruin of hundreds of millions? Ask yourself if government would be acting in the public trust to keep this unregulated (which they are now) or even under-regulated, which any lobbyist-inspired Congressional compromise would surely render?

• Admittedly, the financial industry funds more campaign contributions and lobbyists than any other group; likewise, community giving, and we’d miss that for a while. But clearly history has shown us that the FDIC can take over, fix and re-privatize a bank without anyone suffering, other than the executives and shareholders who took the failed risks and should be responsible. What is in the public good of doing otherwise?

• In your wildest dreams, does anyone believe that power companies with investments in dirty coal (Georgia Power comes to mind) will ever reduce their pollution unless forced to or incented to? Yes, it would cost their customers some money through increased rates. Money that companies in states with public regulation have long ago paid. But just to top it off, please note that Georgia Power’s lobbyist just bribed the legislature to pass an increase in rates for a fictitious nuclear reactor they pretend they are going to build 10 years from now even though no reactor has been licensed in the US in more than 20 years. Scandalous, for sure. In the public interest? Not.

Government must be for the people. Not for the corporations.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315