The Case For American Nihilism
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has been rendered subservient to corporate interests.
- The U.S. ratio between individual and corporate taxes was formerly two or three to one. Today it’s three or four to one and trending to five to one.
- As a percentage of GDP, government revenues from U.S. corporate taxes have never been lower.
- Corporations are hoarding literally trillions in cash on their balance sheets and in overseas tax havens. Such “free cash flow” imbalances imply that firms are not paying sufficient shareholder dividends. This renders corporate shares a casino for price appreciation, not a vehicle for steady, long term investment.
The “class war” is over. At least ninety-seven percent of us lost.
- The history of U.S. tax policy and recent social spending proposals shows an America comprised of two insoluble classes: those that matter (the rich) and those that don’t (working poor)!
- Those that matter pay a lower percentage of income in taxes, especially Social Security, due to the annual cap on taxation above $106,800 (2011). But benefits are not capped or means tested for wealthy individuals. And future proposals, like those from Paul Ryan, pledge even lower rates (25%) for those most able to otherwise fund government services.
- In coming decades, people that don’t matter will increasingly fend for themselves, even as the cost for multi-payer, corporate health care and insurance soars 6-9% annually. Without corporate retirement benefits for healthcare, which most don’t have, the working poor can expect only a government voucher to only partly offset the exorbitant cost of sickness, aging and dying in America.
There is no “middle class” under capitalism. The phrase was a myth to begin with.
- Conspicuous consumption is a euphemism for debt (Americans on average pay 15-24% of their income to service rotating and mortgage debt).
- For the vast majority, work is little more than wage slavery.
- Leisure was long ago subsumed by work/financial/family stress and existential unhappiness.