Thursday, April 24, 2014

A recent discussion at the court house...

The other day at the Courthouse, I was discussing the upcoming governor’s race with two of my female associates of the bar. I expressed some surprise at the fact that they were, as lawyers, supporting Greg Abbott who has been in the forefront of the Republican war on lawyers and on women

Both explained to me that while they didn’t particularly appreciate Abbott’s anti-woman position they were concerned about their tax dollars being given to well coiffed manicured ladies they see regularly at Walmart and grocery stores using food stamps. I asked both if they had taken a look at the bigger give-away going to people who didn’t need it. It seemed neither had any idea what I was talking about.

While I, too, am concerned--and have been for a long time—about giving taxpayer dollars to able-bodied people, while in the Texas Legislature I fretted over this but could never figure out a way to deny assistance to families having able-bodied members without punishing children or the elderly. 

A close examination of what or who is getting the larger give-away of our tax dollars once again reveals the hypocrisy of conservatives’ concern about the “welfare Cadillac.” They should be concerned about the welfare yacht, jet airplane and million dollar beach house.

One thing held in common by Teddy Roosevelt and Karl Marx was concern about the continuing concentration of wealth in the very few. Statistical studies have shown the top 1% of the top 1% have doubled their wealth since the 1980's. Even worse, conservatives who claim to revere hard work apparently have completely lost sight of the fact that the majority of the most wealthy in America did not hit a tap for their great wealth, but simply were lucky enough to have inherited it. They don’t create jobs, they just clip coupons or live on interest of the money and/or property they inherited.

Anyone who believes our current system does not give away more to the wealthy than to the poor needs only to review the Internal Revenue Code. While the working man gets little assistance from the government for his pickup truck he drives to work, the very wealthy get to write off as a necessary business expense their $40,000,000 jet airplane. Most folks receiving food stamps generally do not own their own homes. The Revenue Code, however, gives a generous deduction for those lucky enough to get bank financing on their $1,000,000 lake house. Go read the advantage the super-rich get when they seek to buy a multi-million dollar yacht with which to cruise the Mediterranean while they are sipping champagne and lamenting government give-aways to out-of-work construction workers.

This brief glimpse of whose getting what and what kind of free ride some are getting on our tax dollar makes me wonder how hard-working, union guys and gals or those enjoying their retirement that union contracts brought them can continue to ignore the give away to people like our Governor, Rick Perry, who has riddenthe taxpayer dollar to the tune of $2.9 million dollars for assistance in histravels seeking the Republican nomination for president.

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