Socialism for the Rich Illustrated
This is the former site of Black Oak Books, a once thriving book store in North Berkeley. To say it was an anchor store in the neighbourhood would be an understatement, it as an important part of the community and a serious business draw for its local little business district. It thrived till the mid nineties, then business slowed because of competition from the Internet, Amazon.com in particular. Who can blame people, local sales taxes are at 10% now, on Amazon in California they are 0%. It got to the point where they couldn’t make their $16,000 monthly rent, they were unable to renegotiate a lower rent with the landlord, who insisted on getting “market” rates, and it folded about a year ago.
And since then the store has sat there, empty. And I wondered how it could be that the property owner could afford to have the store sitting empty for a year instead of collecting some rent. I mean, that’s nearly $200k a year in lost rent, wouldn’t it make sense for the landlord to agree to a lower than “market rate” rent just to keep some income coming in? How can even a well off person just piss away $200k a year? Easy … he gets to write off the “loss” on his taxes.
This is … insane. And a wonderful example of how the rich in America have perverted the legal and tax codes to benefit themselves at the expense of the rest of us. By allowing the landlord to simply write off his losses because he can’t get a “market rate” renter, society as a whole is screwed. Jobs are lost, commerce is lost, and taxpayers pick up the tab to allow someone who is already very wealthy to pursue a business “strategy” that in anything resembling an actual capitalist free market would be insanely unprofitable.
And this is just one example of how the rich have perverted the laws and tax code of the land to benefit them at the expense of society at large. Very few Americans really understand how serious and terrible this situation is. I mean it’s so serious that the rich have been able to convince most Americans that there is something terribly wrong with taxing the rich and giving the money to the poor, but it’s perfectly OK to tax the poor and give the money to the rich, because of course the rich will invest the money in ways that will “trickle down” to the poor.
Let’s think about this, what happens if one gives money to poor people? Do they squirrel it away in their mattress or deposit it in an offshore bank account? Of course not, they promptly run out and spend it. Creating commerce, jobs, and the whole shebang that makes an economy work. And what happens if one gives money to the rich? They promptly stick in in an offshore account or otherwise do what they can to make sure they keep the money, they most certainly don’t run out and spend it. People get to be rich and continue to be rich by not spending money. I mean, d’oh.
Yet in America we’ve allowed the rich to so control the laws and even the public discourse to the point where millions of Americans think that redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor is somehow evil. Excuse me? For a civilization to have any long term prospects, everyone has to benefit. A civilization where only the rich benefit has no long term prospects, or at least no long term prospects that benefit anyone but the rich. If the upwards transfer of wealth is a sacrament, eventually the wealthy own everything, and the rest of us are slaves.
And sadly this appears to be where America is headed. One giant company town, or worse, one giant plantation where most of us are effectively slaves. In other words, there isn’t going to be any recovery from the current depression, because all the government is doing is bailing out the rich at public expense. Well, unless one regards a job at MacDonald’s and overpriced rental housing as a good thing. The disparity between rich and poor has never been greater in the USA, and legions of Americans are not only defending the status quo, they are clamouring for more of the same. The rich are laughing all the way to the bank.
Sigh. Have a great week everyone.
(The above image as taken by me. Credit and Copyright © Doug Stych. It stretches the imagination that anyone would want to use the image, but they are free to do so for non-commercial purposes if properly attributed and linked to Doug’s Darkworld.)
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