Obviously I don't want anyone jumping out the window. The question is only symbolic, but it's one we should be asking ourselves.
My parents lived through the Depression and anytime I discussed it, especially with my mother, I would always hear how the wealthy people, who had lost their fortunes, were jumping out of windows. They had gambled and lost and had no idea how to get their fortunes back.
There is no argument that the latest economic crisis was caused by the wealthy. The poor didn't gamble on Wall Street, nor was the middle class playing with the economic lives of so many.
But instead of jumping out of windows, the wealthy came to us and said that they were too big to fail. So we patted them on the back and gave them our money, with the reassuring words of "there, there now. It will be alright". Because we believed that everyone was suffering and sharing the burden of the collapse.
There was an understanding that the wealthy would step back. That corporations would suspend bonuses to their executives. That they would sell their private jets and art collections. That they would cancel lavish vacations and retreats. But that never happened.
Instead they used our money to reward themselves for their failure. Not a tear fell into the Perrier. Not a second of remorse. Not a window even opened a crack.
And as we watched our deficit and debt escalate because of it, we were constantly being told that so many things we took for granted may be lost. Things like healthcare, education and old age security.
And instead of adjusting Canada Pension so that many of our seniors can get out of poverty, Jim Flaherty is going to privatize it, giving the wealthy even more of our money to gamble with.
And as they gamble away not only our future but the futures of our children and grandchildren, Stephen Harper is determined to give the wealthy even more of our money.
More corporate tax cuts. UNFUNDED tax cuts. They are not being paid out of a surplus of money because they have done so much to improve our lot. WE will have to BORROW the money to give to THEM.
Will someone please tell me that this is a bad dream and I will wake up and be reassured that there are adults holding the public purse. Adults with math skills. Adults who give a damn about us.
I read a bit of a posting on the Heritage Foundation website, something I do occasionally. Visit neocon websites to try and figure out how they could possibly be so wrong. And in an attempt to justify taxcuts, they mention the roaring 20's.
The tax cuts of the 1920s: Tax rates were slashed dramatically during the 1920s, dropping from over 70 percent to less than 25 percent. What happened? Personal income tax revenues increased substantially during the 1920s, despite the reduction in rates. Revenues rose from $719 million in 1921 to $1164 million in 1928, an increase of more than 61 percent.The logic is that if taxes are too high, people will simply find more ways to avoid paying them. The author also fails to mention that incomes between 1921 and 1928 for the upper echelon, were abnormally high.
According to then-Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon: The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income. The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up; wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people.
But even if we give them that. If we lower taxes more people will pay them. The exact opposite is happening today. The wealthy, despite our generosity, continue to find ways to avoid paying taxes. It's what they do. It's the game they play.
We've learned recently that executive salaries are soaring, while the middle class has stagnated and more and more of the working class have joined the ranks of the working poor.
So who is shouldering the burden?
The Religious Right who is providing much of the oxygen for the Harper government, constantly suggest that homosexuality is destroying the moral fabric of our country and risking "the family".
But the "sin" that threatens us the most is not homosexuality (which is only a sin because they say so). It's GREED. Greed that has become so raw, it's now pornographic. You feel like you should be looking away.
Maybe published photos of corporate executives should come with the customary black band over their eyes now, so they can't be identified.
And what I would like to know is, if our money has given the wealthy a soft place to land, who's holding our safety net?