There's always a moment in those movies when the bully pushes the bullied too far -- the bullied has to either give in or become something new. The recent tax bill, delivering permanent tax cuts to corporations at a time of record profits and strong economic growth, is the too far moment for me.
Corporations operating in a capitalist economy are built to maximize profits for their shareholders; that's what they're designed to do and giant monopolistic companies do it very well. The government is supposed to serve as a counter-weight to that economic power, using tax revenues to off-set the negative social side effects of short-sighted profit hoarding, like low wages, pollution, moving jobs overseas, job automation and benefit cutting. All contributing to the increasing misery of our people.
It's clear that the old economy-government model is broken. No taxes are good taxes is the constant mantra; no public investment is worth the loss of any private gain. And as the unrestricted flow of political money into our democracy means that corporate interests can get whatever they want, waiting on declining tax revenues to deal with increasing social inequality, environmental destruction and human unhappiness is not going to work.
We need to become something new. We need to move beyond thinking about democracy as a political term and start thinking about expanding democracy to our economic system.
In the coming posts, we'll be exploring some of these ideas: the development of a publicly owned renewable energy system that returns future profits to people and communities, employee owned businesses that give employees a slice of the pie, and changes to the DNA of corporations that ensure that they can play a positive role in building a more just, sustainable way-of life.
Biff, you pushed us too far.