Inquiry: The Politics of Money (Everything Is Never Quite Enough*)

fine sandy dunes in dry desert Photo by Jonathan Borba on

by LJ Frank

A query: How many Congressional finance Bills are written by corporate lobbyists? Who stands to benefit the most?

The most recent sweeping tax reform:

“To provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018” (or as Senator Bernie Sanders points out: 13% Middle Class Tax Hike, 29% Cash for Corporations, 47% Trillions for Billionaires, 11% Medicare Cuts.) The bill’s title was shortened to – The Tax Cuts and Jobs act. Interesting.

The value of tax cuts?  Doesn’t evidence demonstrate that corporate tax cuts do nothing for shared growth? Where is the empirical evidence to show a correlation between tax rates and economic growth? The economic drip philosophy?

“U.S. corporations have been raking in the profits since the Great Recession ended just over eight years ago. After-tax profits hit a record seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.86 trillion in the third quarter of 2017. And totaled more than $13 trillion since 2009. As a share of gross domestic product, after-tax profits have averaged 9.6% over the past eight years, by far the highest in the 70 years on record. See the work of Rex Nutting, Market Watch.

Is the reason that corporations don’t need capital any more because “profits are based on intangibles, such as computerized information, IP, network monopolies, and other forms of monopolization? Tangible investment like property isn’t where the primary action is.” (see: Capitalism without Capital, The Rise of the Intangible Economy Jonathan Haskel & Stian Westlake)

Or as suggested by a number of economists, when corporations go public, the purpose is not to raise capital for investment. Rather, it’s to – reward the founders with immeasurable personal wealth. The large tech companies are piling up mountains of cash because they have no place to invest it.  Similarly, the most important use of profits these days is stock buybacks–a definite sign that corporations have no idea of how to profitably invest the money.

At what point does an individual of enormous wealth and power have enough wealth and power? (Remember, corporations are also flesh and blood individuals under the 2010 US Supreme Court ruling, in fact corporations have more rights than the ordinary individual – unlimited spending on political issues and lobbying benefiting them.)

Back to my first question of who were the writers of this Bill? The question more precisely is which players are benefiting the most?

*Wasis Diop song in the 1999 version of the Thomas Crown Affair, “Everything Is Never Quite Enough.