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Queens Chronicle

For the worker

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Now that the New Year’s Eve parties are over, here are some sobering statistics for garden-variety wage slaves, many Chronicle readers included. They’ll dry out fast:

1) Fifty-seven of America’s largest companies on Standard and Poor’s 500 index, almost one in nine, paid an effective tax rate of zero percent or even lower, according to USA Today. Verizon, General Motors and News Corp. are among them.

2) “The typical corporation pays a lower effective tax rate that most middle-class families, and a far lower one than the statutory corporate tax rates ...”

3) “Getting to a zero percent tax rate despite turning a profit requires creative accounting, but not lawbreaking.”

4) “The U.S. tech giant (‘Apple Inc.’) not only avoided the American tax system, but manages to shelter about $100 billion in revenues from any taxes at all.”

5) “At its peak in 1968, the income from the minimum wage lifted a family of three out of poverty ... If it had kept pace with gains in productivity, [today] it would be more than $20 an hour.”

Republican members of Congress not only oppose any increase in the minimum wage, but would actually vote to abolish any minimum wage whatsoever! One of these Dark Ages sentimentalists is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination. By the way, the after-taxes hourly minimum wage is just about enough to buy a Starbucks Grande (forget the blueberry scone).

6) “Newly hired federal employees would not be eligible for traditional pensions under a bill re-introduced by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and two colleagues.”

And who’s behind the above scheme and related plans to cut jobs, pay and collective bargaining rights? Why, it’s the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Darrell Issa — whose personal net worth is estimated at $450 million.

These medieval views, unthinkable just decades ago, are now mainstream.

Even more disturbing than the repudiation of the “social contract” and the mockery of the “American Dream” is that millions of people are not the slightest bit embarrassed about it, as though gross economic injustice were an expression of the rule of natural law and sanctioned by the Constitution.

Note: All the direct quotations are from The Union Bulletin, Queens Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO, as are the paraphrased facts. The opinions are mine alone and have not been submitted for approval.

Ron Isaac
Fresh Meadows

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