Parties agree to wipe out ‘entitlement culture’

WASHINGTON (Rooters agency) – In a surprise breakthrough for bipartisan policies, leaders of the two major parties yesterday agreed to conduct a combined offensive that they hope will eventually “wipe out this country’s entitlement culture.”

At a joint media conference here, spokespeople for the Democratic and Republican National Committees announced that several months of secret negotiations between the two had achieved “unanimity on the goal of ending entitlement culture and broad agreement on specific measures to reach that goal.”

The first immediate measure agreed on by the two parties is “the immediate abolition of all tax subsidies for business.” DNC spokeswoman Matilda Purehart explained, “Citizens for Tax Justice has calculated the annual revenue lost via these subsidies at $365 billion – that is, $1 billion a day, every day, all year long. Ending these unjustified entitlements will create huge public benefits, quickly eliminating the federal budget deficit.”

“Yes,” agreed the RNC spokesman, Barton Goodfella, “and it will also help to restore something America has almost lost – a pride in relying on one’s own efforts, on not being a burden on others. Now American entrepreneurs will have the chance to stand on their own two feet instead of relying on what someone has told them they are owed by the rest of us.”

It’s not just business tax subsidies that create a culture of entitlement, the two spokespeople stressed, but also personal income tax rates. “By repeatedly lowering personal income taxes on the wealthiest members of society,” Goodfella said, “the government has created a notion that there is something illegitimate about taxing rich people. This has made many rich people begin to believe that they are entitled not to be taxed.”

“Because they have so much untaxed money,” Purehart added, “some entrepreneurs are content to lie around in hammocks all day instead of growing their businesses and gaining profits to make up for the taxes they pay. Our two parties agree to return income tax rates to what they were when Eisenhower was president.”

The two spokespeople said that tax breaks are only a small part of the entitlements handed out to corporations and businesses. The parties had agreed to start the rollback with taxes only because that seemed the easiest area to deal with.

“Businesses all over the country, including some of the biggest corporations, feel entitled to have the government buy any of their products that they can’t sell, or can’t sell at as high a price,” Purehart pointed out. “Or the government provides cheap credit to foreign businesses so that they can buy products of US corporations. Boeing shareholders seem to think that the company is entitled to these subsidies from the Export-Import Bank.”

“That’s no way to build self-reliance – for individuals or corporations,” Goodfella agreed. “It’s no wonder that we can’t compete like we used to when our corporations think that the world owes them customers.”

The two National Committees found it easy to identify military purchases as the most important instance of this form of corporate entitlement. Indeed, funding for the Department of Defense makes up more than half of all federal government discretionary spending. “From the amount we spend on high-tech weapons, you’d think we were facing an alien invasion,” Goodfella laughed. “And if there’s no alien invasion, then we must be buying this stuff only because the corporations think they’re entitled to sell it.”

“We aren’t necessarily against killing foreigners,” Purehart explained, “especially if they are religiously or ethnically different from us. But the expensive ways in which we do it clearly contribute to the corporate culture of entitlement.”

Reporters asked whether the historic agreement between the RNC and DNC would also extend to state and local government. “The United States is a federation,” Purehart replied, “and the DNC respects the prerogatives of state and local governments. But we believe that members of the Democratic Party at all levels will understand and act on the central importance of ending the culture of entitlement.”

“We support states’ rights too,” Goodfella said. “But you wouldn’t believe the billions in entitlements businesses get from local and state governments.” He quoted from a study conducted at Ohio State University (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1860285): “At the state level there are corporate income tax credits, enterprise zones, sales tax exemptions, cash grants, lost-cost financing and loan guarantees, and reimbursement for working training expenses. At the local level, often bundled with state grants, are property tax abatements, tax incremental financing, sales tax rebates, infrastructure improvements, land parceling and land write-downs.”

“We’re the richest country in the world,” the two spokespeople concluded, “and yet our people can’t afford things they used to be able to afford. We think that that contradiction will end when we abolish the business culture of entitlement.”

A reporter from a business journal demanded to know: “Don’t your National Committees realize that it’s the rich who create our wealth and who need to be encouraged by appropriate incentives?” The spokespeople were not able to answer the question because both dissolved in laughter.

(In a possibly related development, the US Supreme Court last night granted General Conglomerate and a number of other major corporations an emergency injunction suspending all local, state, Congressional and presidential elections and appointing court administrators for all the positions concerned.)

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