1.15.2016 | The GOP's topsy-turvy economics
Republicans have a point on one front—maybe: corporate taxes are too high, globally speaking, at least in terms of the fixed number. But corporate tax collections are at historic lows, and profit margins aren't suffering. Corporations are paying lower taxes than ever on the money that is paid to them inside the United States. Libertarians and liberals alike find common agreement that this kind of "corporate welfare" is harmful to free markets.
We didn't hear this at Thursday's Republican debates, because except for maybe Rand Paul (who wasn't invited on the main stage this time around), the GOP isn't a party that is interested in practicing free market capitalism. They pay lip service to it, but the favors to their corporate patrons they espouse stand in the way of offering Americans access to a truly free, vibrant, competitive market that delivers consumers the benefits that capitalism can bring when it's left unrestrained by factors that limit new market entrants.
Another topic from the last #GOPdebate before this one was the minimum wage. "Too high," Donald Trump said, a comment he walked back later. But you don't hear Republicans out on the campaign trail stumping for a rise in the minimum wage either, and no candidate on stage supported one.
These statistics speak to a larger feeling in the economy: that it's stopped working for ordinary people. You'll hear Republicans and Democrats both make this claim. One party would like to pretend this trend began in 2009. It's not just wages, either—incomes began falling in 2000, and haven't fully recovered since.
Another thing you'll hear about is the national debt—because of it, "we can't afford" this or that. Balderdash. There's plenty of money circulating through the economy in one of the world's wealthiest nations. The problem, again, is tax collections, a problem President Obama referenced in Tuesday's State of the Union (#sotu).
If you look at what's actually driving the national debt, it's not "out-of-control spending," which you'll hear Republicans harp on again and again. Government spending under Obama actually grew at its slowest rate since the Eisenhower administration. And the biggest driver of debt is the Bush tax cuts—that's right, taxes are too low.
If you notice, our media doesn't report on these topics. Possible reasons range from the fact that they're dry and boring, to the fact that the same corporations that engage in these tax-dodging methods also own the media (6 companies control information in this country, down from 50 in the 1980s).
If America's ready to elect a socialist president, maybe it's time to speak openly about these pressing issues facing our country. As Hillary Clinton put it, we must save capitalism from itself.