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The Right Wing Denial of Community Responsibility

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An Analysis

By Lawrence Davidson

Part I
 
I live in a university town just west of the city of Philadelphia Pennsylvania (PA). Both the town and the university share the same name, hence West Chester University (WCU). WCU is a publicly owned institution and part of the PA System of Higher Education (PAASHE). In all, this system serves about120,000 students. Despite a heavy reliance on PASSHE to help educate the youth of PA and surrounding states, the entire system has recently come under mortal threat (as has all of public education of what ever level in the state). The threat comes from the PA government itself, which is now in the hands of Republican pseudo conservative extremists.

On March 8th PA s recently elected governor Tom Corbett delivered his budget addressto a like-minded state legislature. In it he called for a 50% reduction in PASSHE funding. If enacted, of course, this would decimate the state public higher education system. Governor Corbett said that such draconian cuts were necessary to close the state admittedly large deficit. We just dont have the money to carry on as we use to, he implied. But when the state Republicans are asked why we dont have the money, they just mumble something about a recession that they themselves created.
 
The fact is that, despite Governor Corbetts claims to the contrary, PA, and other states like Wisconsin as well, do have the money to eliminate their deficits, balance their budgets, and fund their social services such as education. All they need to do is utilize the time honored, traditional method of raising revenue known as taxes and particularly corporate taxes. The real problem is not lack of money, but rather the lack of will to collect it and direct it to community needs. It is an attitudinal problem, shared by a large number of Americans, that has become a political problem.
 
Here is how Governor Corbett expressed this attitude. "To the people of Pennsylvania, the taxpayers who sent us here…its your money."I am afraid that, in practice, this is not entirely true. For instance, I have a marked aversion to sharing my personal resources with a federal government that uses it to wage wars in the Middle East, often based on bald faced lies, that cost hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of innocent lives. But, what does Governor Corbett think would happen if I withheld those resources from the IRS accompanied because, after all, it is my money? The IRS would proceed to force me to pay up. In this sense the nation-state has declared that a citizen's personal wealth is not quite just his or her money. By tradition and law, by virtue of a social contract, if you will, part of it must be given back to the community of which we are apart.
 
Somehow the radical Republicans who now control the states of PA, Wisconsin, etc., as well as the plurality of voters who put them in office, have lost their sense of obligation to address the needs of the larger community in which they live. It is the old Maggie Thatcher, there is no such thing as society nonsense. We are now controlled by governors who never left the 1980s and thus just about the only thing they are willing to pay taxes for is police, the courts and waging war.
 
Part II
 
Let us now briefly pursue an aside. As Governor Corbett was espousing his version of economic selfishness in Harrisburg PA, his fellow Republican Party radical Congressman (R-LI NY) Peter King was holding hearingsin Washington DC. King is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and is presently using that perch in a McCarthyite fashion to assert the alleged disloyalty of Muslim American citizens. It appears that Representative King wants to bring those costly wars in the Middle East back to the home front and its vulnerable subgroup of Muslims. Where Corbett would have us believe that we are near destitute of funds when the problem is really greed and the gross misdirection of resources, King would have us believe that we are being destroyed from within and must spend yet more billions to protect us against ourselves.
 
Is there a way of connecting, in a way that promotes learning, the taxophobia of Corbett and Islamophobia of King? Yes, there is, and that connection comes through a consideration of the Muslim approach to economics. Peter Kings Islamophobia not only hides from us from our own countrys role in producing anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, but also prevents us from considering the positive things Islam might teach us right here at home–aspects of which can serve as a corrective for Tom Corbett s taxophobia.
 
At the core of Islam's teachings on economics is the notion that the wealth that an individual (or a business) possesses is not just his, her or its money. You possess those resources by the grace of God and so you are commanded to return a portion of it to the community. For a Muslim this is a religious obligation, but you do not have to be a believer in any religion to see its important implications. What wealth we possess is accumulated within the context of a societal existence. This is particularly true for business which cannot stand apart from its customer base. Indeed, apart from our communities none of us would have any material wealth, as we understand it. So it not just our money after all, and therefore we owe something back to the community (something other than the funds for waging war on false pretenses).
 
You do not have to be an advocate of Sharia law to learn useful things from the Muslim experience any more than you need to be an advocate of Cannon law to learn useful things from the Catholic experience. And one can repeat this assertion almost as many times as there are religious traditions. All you have to do is shed your phobias and approach the world in a open minded way. But it is obvious that some of us, perhaps due to our conditioning, cannot do this. And the rest of us have made the mistake of putting a number of such narrow minded people in power.



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  1. "Utilize the time honored, traditional method of raising revenue known as taxes?" What's so honorable about legalized theft?  Sounds like Mr Davidson gets his talking points from 'the Communist Manifesto."  If he wants to pay more taxes, good for him.  He can keep his hands away from my wallet. Until 1913 this country got along just fine without an income tax.

  2. Just like Wisconsin,  we get the government we elect.  As soon as we wake up from our deep slumber, and elect the right officals to represent us this all stops.  It's not about gun ownership.  It's not about abortion.  It's about supposed American Corporations, now  headquartered overseas, stealing from the hard working honest americans.

  3. p.a.travers says:

    Poor old Jack! I really don't want to comment on U.S.A. matters completely,but ,it is always up our noses.[I am Australian.Don't vote.They just simply don't bring something out in me]. If the States raise their own revenue,and you have sympathetic Federal Representatives in Both Houses,surely pay now get it back later could apply with a Ron Paul type in the Fed.area.Thus making dam sure that those monies that are the taxpayers return to the taxpayers on both State and Federal areas.Thus ,if honesty hounded the need for power,a double boost of value for the taxpayer ,plus programmes that meet the taxpayers needs across the spectrum of interests with a taxpayer right to veto either level of government decisions,by cheaper authentic computer generated referenda.Disputes about the environment could be reduced by simply noting it is no longer a power game,but honest minds and hearts being validly socially conscious and real. Er! Still a problem with the Real Climate Debate.Die by Asteroid or Volcano!

  4. Digital Gravy says:

    I believe the author was talking about TAXING Corporations, not indivigual human citizens. Corporations pay little or no taxes. In fact Martin Lockheed received a $300,000 refund check from the IRS.
    The tax codes where written so as to impose taxes on people or corporations who derive their incomes from foreign sources. 70% of all companies here in our country fall into that catagory.
    Another fact is the all oil and electrical energy companies not only pay no taxes but are given billions and billions of your dollars each and every year.
    And one more item of interest, BANKS PAY NO TAXES! You know those guys and gals who charge you 28% credit card interest fees and $29 dollar late fees, because they don't check their POB until after the due date! The very same outfit the charge your checking accounts $30 for each bounced check, even if your only 7 cents over your account balance! NSF cost American tax payers almost 35 billion dollars each year…. pure untaxed profits! So don't tell me we don't have the money in taxes to help our nation back on its feet…. we do!
    The government is too afraid or too crooked to collect it. Now you know why you pay over 50% of your income in taxes each and every year. Now the poorest and youngest are asked to cough up blood money for these crooks! I'm not even going to talk about the TRILLIONS spent in illegal wars!

  5. The only solution to every situation in the liberal mind is to increase taxing and spending. The concept of reducing spending has never entered their minds.
    The anti taxation revolution is not an easy sell, especiall to politicians who are simply in the game for the booty and the reward aquired through taxation, but it is the only true revolution because it takes a commitment from politicians  willing  to risk the loss of power and wealth  for justice!

  6. What part of the states and the federal government are broke, don't liberals understand.  You can't spend what you don't have.  Further, all our illegal aliens and Somali, Burundian , and other third worlders thatthe state Department continues to import are straining our welfare systems, thus our states and federal government to the nth degree.  It all boils down to stopping the mad spending.
     

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