Monday, October 29, 2012

Action, and reaction

In the Wall Street Journal we read that: "Chief executives of more than 80 big-name U.S. corporations, from Aetna Weyerhaeuser Co., are banding together to pressure Congress to reduce the federal deficit with tax-revenue increases as well as spending cuts.... The CEO statement was organized by the Fix the Debt campaign, a bipartisan effort largely inspired by Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles, who chaired a 2010 deficit panel appointed by President Obama and have been crisscrossing the country sounding fiscal alarms..."

In their manifesto the CEOs raise the alarm about "growing debt" and call for a plan to fix the issue, including: "... Reform Medicare and Medicaid, improve efficiency in the overall health care system and limit future cost growth; Strengthen Social Security, so that it is solvent and will be there for future beneficiaries; and, Include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit..." They then go on to tout "... the recommendations of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission..." 

Well, this irked Senator Bernie Saunders (I-VT) no end. In response he let loose a broadside: "... "There really is no shame, The Wall Street leaders whose recklessness and illegal behavior caused this terrible recession are now lecturing the American people on the need for courage to deal with the nation's finances and deficit crisis. Before telling us why we should cut Social Security, Medicare and other vitally important programs, these CEOs might want to take a hard look at their responsibility for causing the deficit and this terrible recession. Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes. They might work to end the outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions that their lobbyists have littered throughout the tax code - contributing greatly to our deficit..."

He also released a report, 'Top Corporate Tax Dodgers," subtitled "Meet a few of the job destroyers and tax evaders that want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid while lowering the tax rate for the top 2%"  which listed 18 of the CEOs along with information on the taxes paid by their companies, etc.

Some examples of CEOs called out:

Well, certainly "typical" of Bernie Saunders... But how useful is this?

Does anyone think the recession and/or deficit was caused by Microsoft? By Express Scripts? By Qualcomm? By Deere? By Merck? By Time Warner? By Verizon? By Corning? By Honeywell? Exactly what "illegal behavior" have these CEOs indulged in? How exactly are they "tax evaders" for following the law of the land? Umm, where exactly was Senator Sanders when "... their lobbyists... littered ("outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions") throughout the tax code?" 

Apparently Senator Sanders takes no personal responsibility for the state of our nation's tax laws, even though he has been in the Senate since 2007 and previously served in the House from 1991 to 2007!  Perhaps Senator Sanders should take some of his own advice i.e. "look in the mirror!" But no, fulminating about the evil of others is so much easier and apparently much more satisfying...

Or perhaps he simply confused this letter, from 80 CEOs in various industries, with the one recently sent to  Congress by 16 financial services CEOs... The 'epithet' (at least apparently perceived as such by Senator Sanders) of "Wall Street leaders" would seem apply better to the latter group!