For too long in Texas and in our country we’ve been unwilling to talk about the elephant in the room. There has been a class war going on for 40+ years, the rich and corporations are overwhelmingly winning, and everyone else is losing. It mostly has to do with the disappearance of the left as a force in politics and policy in our country. It’s what Chris Hedges termed in the title of this most recent book the Death of the Liberal Class. (Here’s an excerpt and an interview he did about the book).
In a traditional democracy, the liberal class functions as a safety valve. It makes piecemeal and incremental reform possible. It offers hope for change and proposes gradual steps toward greater equality. It endows the state and the mechanisms of power with virtue. It also serves as an attack dog that discredits radical social movements, making the liberal class a useful component within the power elite.
But the assault by the corporate state on the democratic state has claimed the liberal class as one of its victims. Corporate power forgot that the liberal class, when it functions, gives legitimacy to the power elite. And reducing the liberal class to courtiers or mandarins, who have nothing to offer but empty rhetoric, shuts off this safety valve and forces discontent to find other outlets that often end in violence. The inability of the liberal class to acknowledge that corporations have wrested power from the hands of citizens, that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty have become irrelevant, and that the phrase consent of the governed is meaningless, has left it speaking and acting in ways that no longer correspond to reality. It has lent its voice to hollow acts of political theater, and the pretense that democratic debate and choice continue to exist.
Further deterioration is coming unless more Texans and Americans come to understand this. Without a strong left there is no force left to moderate or even reverse the policies of the extreme right. Without it we wind up where we are now with the rich and corporations running wild and without a check on their power.
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GOP attacking non-partisan experts, Texas First Foundation Responds To Attacks On Non-Partisan Legislative Board.
The budget experts at the LBB staff have a proven track record of reliability in their work over the years. For example, in 2006, the tax reform measures were accompanied by LBB reports which projected that those five bills would leave Texas with a budget shortfall of nearly $25 billion over the following years. Just like today, back in 2006 some politicians criticized the LBB’s analysis, indeed using some of the same arguments and rhetoric they are using now. But today, the facts show that the LBB staff reports and projections about the fiscal impact of 2006 tax reform bills were highly accurate.
Texas faces a $27 billion deficit, caused in part by the same tax bills the LBB warned about in 2006. If the Governor and Legislature had heeded LBB’s reports in 2006, part of the problems we face today might have been avoided. Today, instead of playing partisan politics and denying the facts once again, politicians in Austin should accept the truth and facts as reported by LBB staff — that Texas stands to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs if the Legislature passes a budget containing billions in cuts to public education, nursing home care, and other state programs — and use this information to make better policy. Texans cannot afford policy based on politicians burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the advice and guidance of their own experts.”
Texas has an extremely unfair tax system, in favor of the rich, Who Pays Texas Taxes.
The Comptroller’s newly released biennial study of the fairness of the Texas state and local tax system, Tax Exemptions and Tax Incidence, demonstrates conclusively that low-and moderate-income Texas families bear a disproportionate share of state and local taxes. We need a fairer system to fund public structures so we can improve and maintain Texas families’ quality of life.
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.
Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
This will not change until the left joins in the class war, we’ve been on the sidelines for far too long.