From C-SPAN's Book TV, Joshua Holland, editor and senior writer at AlterNet discussed his book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy: And Everything Else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs, and Corporate America.
It's nice to see another liberal manage to make their way into the bastion of right wingnuttery that generally fills the air time of that series at C-SPAN. You can watch the entire segment at C-SPAN's web site here.
In the clip above, Joshua discussed some topics he recently wrote about at AlterNet.
Earlier this month, House Republicans laid out a perverse plan to lower working Americans' wages, supposedly in a bid to get employers to hire more of them (PDF). One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of the “race to the bottom.”
Republican staffers on the Joint Economic Committee released the study in response to widespread criticism that the deep public sector cuts they've advocated threaten to derail an already anemic “recovery” -- economist Mark Zandi estimated last month that if enacted, the spending cuts would cost the U.S. economy 700,000 jobs through 2012.
So, as Tim Fernholz and Jim Tankersley wrote in the National Journal, the GOP report “makes the party’s ... case that fiscal consolidation (read: spending cuts) can spur immediate economic growth and reduce unemployment.”
The paper calls for cuts that are “large, credible, and politically difficult to reverse once made,” and offers a typical conservative fantasy about shuttering entire federal agencies. But topping the list of what should be on the Republicans' chopping block is “decreasing the number and compensation of government workers,” which the staffers say will spur job creation because “a smaller government workforce increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.” Read on...
The right's anti-tax crusade has been so successful that in 2010 the federal government collected a smaller share of our economic output in taxes than it had in 60 years. That's created a large deficit, which is now being used to justify cuts to popular social programs.
Taxes have decreased dramatically for most American households since Ronald Reagan came to offcie 30 years ago. But our overall level of taxation, on average, obscures who's paying how much. So, on this tax day, let's take a look at the way federal tax rates for different income levels have changed since 1981 (using this handy calculator and adjusted for inflation to 2010 dollars).
Lots more facts and figures there, so go read the rest. And from the video above, here was Holland's response to a question on lowering the corporate tax rate in America that the right is constantly screaming needs to be done.
HOLLAND: It's based on a very false premise. There is the nominal tax rate, and that is the tax rate that is written in the books. That's the law that they passed. Okay, we have a 35% corporate tax rate in the United States and that is one of the highest in the world. That's the kernel of truth around which an utter fabrication is built. The nominal tax rate, what you write in the books is inconsequential next to the effective tax rate.
Which means what they write in checks. Now our effective tax rate is about half what our nominal tax rate is because corporate America's lobbyists have effectively won so many loopholes, and manipulated the tax code in a way that they're paying far, far less than the nominal, official corporate tax rate of 35%.
Now, let me add something. 2/3 of all major US corporations pay no taxes at all. This week the big story was General Electric. General Electric is not only not paying taxes, they took a $3.2 billion tax benefit. What does that mean? That means that you and I are paying General Electric out of our taxes, we're paying them effectively.
So this idea is simply based on using a number that's inconsequential, our nominal tax rate. And if anybody wanted to make a deal with "the left", if they could find "the left" to drop the nominal rates and increase the effective rates by closing loopholes, we'd be all for that.
I'd be all for it too if it wasn't likely our bought and sold politicians wouldn't just go put a bunch of new ones back in there for them.