Our nation is at its most stable and prosperous when all of its citizens are supported and able to actively benefit from the fruits of a healthy economy. But too many pieces of our economy and the business world rely on human misery and contribute to growing inequality. This is both bad for society and bad for business. In contrast, an economy that is good for its workers and citizens is good for everyone. Shared prosperity will fuel our economy more than concentrated wealth at the top, and will end up leaving all Americans, including rich ones, better off.
The news this week highlights both the things our country needs to embrace and the things we need to avoid to create an economy that works for everyone in America – we need to ensure that corporations pay their fair share in taxes and that billionaires are audited by the IRS at the same rate as everyone else, while we also have to stop paying CEOs hundreds of times more than their median employees and attacking the unions who fight for a more equal society
Atlantic City Casinos Pled Poverty to Get a Huge Tax Break by Alison Burdo
If you’re looking for an example of how tax cuts for big businesses can hurt communities, look no further than Atlantic City. During the pandemic, the city’s casinos petitioned for the city to lower their taxes in order to help them weather lost profits. While an argument may be made that doing so could protect the local economy at that time, what has transpired since is anything but beneficial to New Jerseyans. Since the tax cuts for these businesses were passed, the casinos have acquired online gaming platforms and more than bounced back from the pandemic slump. In fact, they’ve reported their highest profits in over a decade while still taking advantage of significant tax cuts. This decision has taken a toll on the people of Atlantic City, as the money these businesses used to pay was used to fund schools and local infrastructure is now going toward lining the pockets of the people who profit from the tax cuts.
Whither the Wealth Squad? by Kalena Thomhave
Over the last several years, as the number of billionaires AND the amount of wealth they hold has skyrocketed, the rate at which they are audited by the IRS has plummeted. The richer you are, the more complicated your finances become, and the more difficult it is for the IRS to tell if you’re skipping out on paying your fair share. The U.S. government’s inability to stop tax evasion has been a growing problem for decades, but in its current state, the IRS is almost fully incapable of properly identifying and punishing criminal tax evaders. Because the IRS doesn’t have enough investigators with the necessary expertise to go after rich people with complicated finances, they audit poor people at a higher rate – not because it’s more important to go after them, but because it’s easier. The system we have very clearly isn’t working – it’s beyond time to fix this problem and put a stop to criminal tax evasion and ensure our system is taxing the rich.
During the pandemic, more and more people started to become aware of the obscene compensation given to the highest-paid executives of corporations. There was public outrage at the system that allowed CEOs to multiply their wealth to ridiculous levels while millions of employees were laid off or saw their wages drop. In response, the executive pay dropped slightly (to a still shockingly high level of 34 times that of their median worker). Since then, however, that ratio has risen yet again, with the ratio of compensation of corporate executives to their median worker estimated to be 63:1 over the next year.
While politicians and business leaders may work hard to make it seem otherwise, Americans on both sides of the aisle support unions. When 59% of workers, including nearly half of Republicans, say that they support more unionization in the workplace, it’s easy to wonder why the United States has relatively low unionization rates when compared to other developed countries. The answer can be found in an anti-union business culture cultivated in America over the last 4 decades as a result of intense propaganda coming from business owners and far-right conservative politicians. The ones who are trying to make the American people believe that there is deep division on this issue are the same ones who benefit from low unionization rates. But despite their efforts, the American people clearly know that worker empowerment is a good thing for everyone.