In 2001, the US government cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans to the lowest level in a decade, on the promise that the recipients of those big tax cuts would invest in America--rebuilding faltering industries and creating jobs, lifting up small towns and big cities alike. And, more than that, the government funneled a great deal of tax dollars into the hands of certain especially successful corporate entities in the form of 'no-bid contracts' and deals purporting to support various economic zones and sectors.

But those wealthy Americans who were given big tax cuts and big government investments to spur their investing in America have repaid the country by instead investing everywhere else but America. They took that money and sent the factories and the jobs to China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Central America -- anywhere they could to save a buck or a few cents by not paying US dollars. Even middle management jobs and technical support jobs have now been exported, outsourced, sent away, possibly never to return until things get so bad here that Americans are willing to do those jobs for a few dollars a day.

And when they absolutely had to hire someone to work on US soil, those wealthy tax cut and tax doleout recipients tried as hard as they can to hire undocumented immigrants willing to work for pennies on the dollar just to be in this country. But that money doesn't stay in the US either, it gets piped back to the worker's family back in their home country. In drips and drabs, these workers are sending upwards of $30 billion per year to their home countries (that figure was current as of one 2004 study). I don't hold anything against those undocumented immigrants -- they're just trying to get by in tough times, and they are being exploited as harshly as most any US laborer could bem at lower pay and with the constant threat of deportation hanging over them. But it is the wealthiest Americans who are creating and fulfilling that demand for immigrant labor. -*{Indeed, a reader has pointed out to me that "those same laws that allow the Rich to build factories in Mexico have put Mexico in such a state of poverty that many have no choice but to come here looking for work" -- an unintended consequence? Or an intended one?}*-

And when these wealthiest Americans spend the profits of their foreign investments, they don't buy American, oh no. They buy BMWs and Saabs and Jaguars; they wear Armani suits and Pierre Cardin shirts, French or Italian shoes, drink Absolut, Grey Goose, and Russian Smirnoff vodkas, wines from France and Italy, bottles of Heineken and Becks and Guinness and tins of caviar, beef from Argentina, their entertainment centers come from Japan, Sony Playstations and Super Nintendo systems. They vacation in Paris and Geneva and Bavaria -- some so much that they've practically given up living in the US altogether -- and, of course, they get everything else they can buy made in China.

There is no political party that gets to pat itself on the back for being "right" on this. It has been going on for over twenty years, and the last eight have only seen an unprecedented and unbraked acceleration in the trend. Conservatives can secretly chortle over having finally gutted the power of the American worker. Liberals can secretly chortle because the US has become the welfare dole of the world, funding the rise of third world countries. The worlds poorest people are benefiting from our policies, if only in scraps. Unfortunately for the poorest Americans, they are completely out of this commercial loop.

But the last word is: So much for tax cuts for the rich and government investment in the hands of the rich helping out anyone but the rich and other countries. Looking back to the last most prosperous period in American history, the 1950's and early 1960's (when the top tax rate was between 70 and 92 percent for the whole decade and a half), it's pretty easy to say that we might a well tax the hell out of them now, since it seems the only way that money will stay on US soil is if it is dispensed to government employees. After all, they have already betrayed us.

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