by Carroll W. McInroe, former Sgt., U.S. Army and WACAN Editorialist
“Mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them.” Jefferson wrote those words in an 1826 letter to a friend, only days before his death – but he wrote for all of us. He was sounding a warning for the ages; mankind has always been plagued by the privileged and the powerful riding roughshod over the rest of us. And they always will – if we let them.
Today’s American corporations, with the full support of much of today’s Congress, are rampaging unimpeded, not just across our hallowed shores, but across the entire planet. They have taken over our country, our jobs and our lives – while we slept.
We talk to foreign operators on corporate phones, wear corporate clothes, eat corporate food, bank in corporate banks, suffer corporate insurers, watch corporate news, buy corporate meds, recover or perish in for-profit corporate hospitals, spend our last suffering days in corporate nursing homes and lie buried forever in well-mown corporate graveyards – all the while trying to survive on ever-lower corporate wages.
We working Americans have become the victims of a carefully orchestrated, greedy, uncaring economic coup d’état by the richest plutocrats ever to inhabit the earth. It has taken corporate America just 30 years to dominate our country, buy our Congress, slash our wages, steal our pensions, close our factories, and outsource over 12 million of our best jobs. Millions of hardworking U.S. citizens go to bed each night worrying “how do I pay all these bills, just to live?”
Now the mega-rich want your Social Security and Medicare too. They cleverly call their new plan the “Grand Bargain,” or “Chained CPI.” Aided and abetted by a corrupt Congress, a weakened President, corporate news, and a silent American public, their first steps are to raise the retirement age to 70, and cut the Social Security Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
Who are these 100 or so rich men (yes, all men) who want you to “Fix the Debt,” while they refuse to pay their fair share? CEO Randall Stephenson of AT&T makes $20 million a year, with a retirement package of $158 million. Rupert Murdoch, owner of influential Fox News, is worth over $8 billion. These two are fairly typical of today’s American corporate leaders – aristocratic, arrogant, and immensely powerful.
These giant corporations, Fortune 500 all, grossing over $100 billion a year each, are using offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands to escape paying their taxes. The Tax Justice Network estimates the world’s wealthy may have as much as $32 trillion untaxed dollars hidden offshore. America is not broke, rather She is held hostage.
Today’s corporate elites have more money and power than Roman emperors ever dreamed of, yet they want to gut our Social Security, destroy our middle class and confine us forever to miserly minimum wages. We must not let them.
Rule by the rich and corporate tax evasion is the story of the 21st century; they control our lives and our futures. We soon express our outrage as a united people, or the American dream is dead.
“When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” Thomas Paine.
Carroll is a Vietnam-era veteran, a rancher and the former Iraq/Afghanistan Vets’ Coordinator for Spokane VA Medical Center.
Data provided by Americans for Tax Fairness.