We are winning the race to the bottom

Sudane Famine

Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, directed the UN Millennium Project and was Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. In short, he is one leading international economic advisors in the world.

In Stop This Race to the Bottom on Corporate Tax he writes that we surely need to reduce deficits but in a fair, efficient, and sustainable manner, by levying higher taxation on those who are enjoying a boom in living standards and a share of the national income unprecedented in modern history:

With capital globally mobile, moreover, governments are now in a race to the bottom with regard to corporate taxation and loopholes for personal taxation of high incomes. Each government aims to attract mobile capital by cutting taxes relative to others. Governments like Ireland have created tax havens that drain revenues from the rest and act as conduits to tax-free Caribbean hideaways such as the Cayman Islands. The rich are doubly benefited: by the underlying market forces of globalization and by their governments’ policy response.

Another reason for the lavish attention to tax cuts at the top is of course the tawdry role of big money in political campaigns. No country tops the US in shamelessness. US national campaigns cost several billion dollars every two years, and fundraising is relentless. The main difference between the two parties is that Big Oil tends to finance the Republicans while Wall Street tends to finance the Democrats. Otherwise, both parties are in the hand of big-money interests that exacerbate the dangerous inequalities opened by globalization.

The end result is that both the US and UK are battling deficits of about 10 per cent of gross domestic product. The situation in the US is far graver. Total government (federal, state, and local) revenues as a share of GDP in the US are now 32 per cent, roughly 9 percentage points below the UK and 15-20 percentage points below countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which all have much lower budget deficits (or a surplus in the case of Norway) and highly effective public services.

Read the rest and really: can anyone tell me what the hell our elected officials are thinking as they dismantle our public services and hand billions and billions MORE of our children’s future income for massive personal and corporate tax cuts to those who already have so much more than they need?

Our priorities, it seems to me, are for shit.

The photo is Sudane Famine from cliff1066™. It was taken by Kevin Carter of The New York Times and won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. I don’t think it needs any explanation.

6 thoughts on “We are winning the race to the bottom

  1. jonolan says:

    And the “public services” as a whole and with a few exceptions such as roads and such benefit the nation as a whole how exactly?

    As for the photo – it needs one bit of explanation: that child was less the kilometer from an aid station and Carter left her to die after getting his precious picture which later got him his Pulitzer.

    Is that why you want these “public services?” Is it because, as individuals, you Liberals won’t get your hands dirty helping people on your own?

    At least Carter finally had the grace and decency to kill himself out of shame.

  2. farlane says:

    I’m tired of assholes like you who wander in and nitpick, then crow about your “victory”.

    The child in the photo is one of millions who have died because we have a grievously flawed economic system and I’m well aware of the story behind it.

    I’m not a liberal. I am a person who believes that God/The Universe didn’t make this world or the people on it so that rich assholes could drive Hummers and suck the marrow from the bones of kids like this through their insane selfishness.

    Kindly fuck off and take your gumball machine “politics” with you.

  3. jonolan says:

    You could try to answer the question. How do the services you want the government to hand out benefit those not receiving them? Or is the government solely for the benefit of those seeking some form of hand-out?

    Frankly, in the case of many of recipients, how does their continued subsidence benefit society? It’s not like these programs or the cultures they’ve created provide the opportunity or incentive to move beyond mere subsistence.

    It may be good animal husbandry for the Democrats but it’s a poor philosophy for running a nation of people.

  4. farlane says:

    You don’t get it.

    This isn’t Republican/Democrat and it’s not about hand outs.

    We have a system that has been tilted by bribes, greed and the unholy alliance of intelligent and selfish “haves” with largely unintelligent and easily manageable social conservatives to become a wealth-concentrating machine the likes of which the world has never seen.

    But to your question: What would I like to see “government” deliver? I’d like to start with basic nutrition to every human being on the planet and (if it’s not too much trouble) a way of dealing with asshats who somehow believe that it’s OK to inflict massive environmental and economic damage of their surroundings without having to pay for it.

    What was the cost of the financial bailout to the US economy? A shit-ton more than the $700 billion for TARP, that’s for sure.

    • jonolan says:

      I think it’s you who don’t get it. Either that or you just don’t want to answer that question.

      Let’s look at this idea of feeding the world. Why? How do we factually benefit from keeping people alive who can’t feed themselves?

  5. farlane says:

    I don’t see any reason to waste any more time on a soulless troll who can’t see either the benefit of human life or the profound injustice of giving tax breaks to people with vast riches.

    I’d tell you “have a nice life” but I actually hope that somehow life gives you a little wake up call.

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