Monday, April 30, 2012

My Challenge To Rush Limbaugh: Why Don't You Insult A Union Worker To His Face?


Just as he despises women and minorities, Rush Limbaugh really has it in for labor unions. He is constantly bashing them (as Media Matters and other watchdog sites have noted over the years). Like most Republicans, Limbaugh is convinced that union workers are lazy, pampered, overpaid and leeches on society. He has even called union members "thugs" and questioned their patriotism.

I find it really rich that Limbaugh would consider union workers pampered and overpaid. This, coming from a mega-millionaire whose idea of "work" is to sit on his fat ass in his air-conditioned studio, spewing lies into a microphone for a few hours a day. No wonder Limbaugh pulls down hundreds of millions of dollars from anti-union corporate America.

Memo to Limbaugh: you don't have a f*cking clue as to what real work is. I'm talking about the sort of physically demanding work done every day by millions of ordinary blue collar union workers across America.

Maybe if Limbaugh had ever actually done any real physical work in his life, he wouldn't have the bloated physique of Jabba the Hutt.

I myself know a thing or two about physical labor, having worked in grueling blue collar jobs much of my life, often for little pay and crappy benefits. I once had a job leveling foundations, where I had to crawl underneath houses, lugging heavy equipment. I don't which was worse: the stifling heat, the claustrophobic conditions---or the snake that once slithered over my face while I was lying on my back underneath a house.

In later years, I worked on factory assembly lines--but the work wasn't much easier. I once worked at a factory gate assembly job, where the razor-sharp gate components often sliced my fingers. At the end of a shift, my uniform was often so blood-splattered that anyone who saw me likely assumed I worked as a butcher.

Of course, I'm hardly alone in my experiences as a blue collar worker. Tens of millions of us toil away every day and we find that it's increasingly difficult to earn a living, no matter how hard we work.

There's only one way to know what it's like to struggle as a working-class person these days--and that's to live the life first-hand. I suspect that people like Limbaugh (who came from a wealthy background) thinks he understands what it's like to be struggling and working-class in America. And if that's the case, he's even more delusional that his radio ramblings would indicate.

It really galls me when I hear this fat piece of sh*t Limbaugh spew out his anti-worker, anti-union diatribes. Limbaugh wouldn't know real work if it bit him on the ass. For that matter, people in Limbaugh's elite social circles never have ANY real face-to-face contact with ordinary working Americans. (It's laughable that Limbaugh claims to be a fan of Walmart---does anyone really think he shops there?)

Which brings me to my challenge for Limbaugh.

Limbaugh: I challenge you to go to any factory in any mean, down-on-its-luck Rust Belt city. I challenge you to walk up to the assembly line and tell the union workers to their face that they're pampered, overpaid and that they're "thugs" and not patriotic.

Oh, and be sure to bring along a lot of OxyContin---because when you insult these union workers, you're going to be in a lot of pain after they beat the sh*t out of you.

Of course, being the chickensh*t coward that you are, I'm sure that you'll never take me up on this challenge.

Instead, you'll continue to sit in one of your lavish mega-million-dollar mansions, smoking your fancy $200 cigars and drinking your $1,000 bottles of fine French wine. You'll continue to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for spewing your lies into a microphone and attacking ordinary people who do real work for a living.

Enjoy your lavish lifestyle while you can, Limbaugh. Someday it's all going to come crashing down on your head. History shows what happens in nations where millions of people grow increasingly hungry and desperate, while a pampered leech class rakes in obscene amounts of money, while presiding over (and controlling) a corrupt and out-of-touch political system. Just ask Marie Antoinette.

You can ignore my challenge, Limbaugh. But you're not going to be able to ignore the angry cries of the hungry mob when it comes crashing through your front gate some day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do You Want To Know How To Reduce Your Taxes? Simple: Become Rich


Tax season is here again. Would you like to know a sure-fire way of reducing your tax bill?

Simple. Become rich. The richer, the better.

Example: let's say your wealth puts you in the top 1/100th of 1 percent of all Americans. That's about 28,000 people in the U.S. These people, on average, make around $2 million every five days, which is what the average American earns over the course of a lifetime.

The tax burden for these super-rich people has been steadily falling for years. For example, in 1993, they paid 30 cents of every dollar into federal income tax. In 2000, that had fallen to 22 cents. These days, it has fallen to 18 cents.

In his book Perfectly Legal, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston details an outrageously unfair tax system that screws the poor and working class. It's a tax system that has been increasing shifting the burden away from the rich and onto lower-income taxpayers for years, a phenomenon that's gotten little coverage in the mainstream media.

Not only do the rich avoid paying taxes, but they also usually avoid tax audits. Johnston points out that working class people are eight times more likely to face an audit than the wealthy.

Johnston is only one of a number of high-profile investigative journalists who've detailed America's unfair tax system over the years.

In 1994, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele published an eye-opening account of America's unfair tax system in their book, America: Who Really Pays the Taxes?

Barlett and Steele painted a gloomy picture of a beleaguered middle- and working class that is soaking up more and more of the nation's tax burden. They also detail how the tax burden is quietly shifting in other ways.

For example, the tax burden in the U.S. over the years has been shifting from corporations to individual taxpayers. In the 1950s, corporations paid around half of all taxes. Today, their burden has shrunk to less than 10 percent. In fact, today, 60 percent of all U.S. corporations pay zero income tax.

Johnston, Bartlett and Steele point out numerous cases in which wealthy individuals don't even bother to file a tax return.

Johnston cites the example of two billionaires, Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein, who admitted under oath that for 30 years, they never even filed a tax return---and faced no consequences as a result.

In their book, Barlett and Steele point out that in 1989, there were 1,081 people earning over $200,000 who paid zero income tax.

The situation has hardly improved in recent years. According to a recently released IRS report, almost 1,500 of America's 230,000 millionaires avoided paying ANY federal income tax in 2009.

In the interviews they conducted to research their books, Barlett, Steele and Johnston describe ordinary taxpayers' seething anger and frustration with the unfairness of the tax code.

Johnston, in particular, seems pessimistic that the U.S. tax system will ever be fixed. He considers open revolt and social disruption a possibility in the future.

For their part, Barlett and Steele, offer modest proposals for making the tax system more equitable, such as closing all loopholes. However, the odds of real change to make the tax system more fair in today's Citizens United America seem remote indeed.