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Tea Bag This

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Do you think they can do it? Can General Beck, Major Hannity, Captain Limbaugh, and Pfc. Boortz and their legions of radio underlings rouse their drooling listeners and get them to lurch and stumble to their county courthouses and federal buildings for another round of last month's hysterical and hideously misleading tea bag rally bat squeeze?

They have the perfect opportunity to try. Today President Obama presented what the New York Times describes as "a far-reaching set of proposals . . . that are aimed at the tax benefits enjoyed by companies and wealthy individuals harboring cash in offshore accounts."

Simply stated it means that Obama is going to insist - through legislation - that the corporate tax cheats (which is nearly every U.S. Corporation that does business overseas) and the oh, so wealthy individual bloodsuckers who lie and steal and cheat and benefit from the predatory capitalism that is eating us alive, are finally going to have to pay their share of the cost of running the country. So, get ready for a tidal wave of pro-corporate lies and misinformation from the usual gang of puppeteers who find great sport and immense satisfaction in watching their listeners and viewers contribute yet again to their own poverty and despair, not to mention their rage and confusion.

Isn't it maddening? Working class Americans with no health coverage, no retirement plans, no money to educate their kids, no way to help their aging parents, and desperately needing jobs that are slowly disappearing, will somehow be convinced yet again that it is time to storm the village green and demand more anguish for their families so the ultra-rich and the greedy corporations who moved their jobs to China will have even more profit; more tax shelter; more of the "good things" in life while the sap with the sign depicting Obama as Castro has to cut short the demonstrating so he or she can get to the food pantry before it closes.

It is simply astonishing.

Obama's remarks "echoed the sentiment he voiced again and again during the presidential campaign, when he pledged to crack down on "illegal overseas tax evasion." According to CNN online, Obama "is targeting companies that use loopholes in the law that allow them to legally avoid paying billions in taxes. It also focuses on wealthy individuals who break the law by creating hidden overseas accounts." Now, that's certainly reason enough for unemployed or under-employed right wing radio fans to take to the streets and demand, "NO! NO TAXES FOR OUR GLORIOUS CORPORATIONS! NO MORE SOCIALIST BURDENS FOR OUR WEARY WEALTHY!" And, they will. Give the right wing media talkers a day or two to spread the word that all this is just another attempt by the Socialist President to destroy our country, make us vulnerable to scimitar-wielding Muslim terrorists in our streets, and destroy our God-given blessings of home and hearth by letting the queers get married, and they, the flat-lined evangelicals and mouth-breathing Limbots will turn out in droves.

Funny. Tragic. Horrifying, actually.

According to CNN, the White House, under the plan, would eliminate the "check-the-box" provision which allows corporations to designate overseas subsidiaries as branches of the company, not subjected to taxes. This tax loophole enables companies to avoid paying U.S. taxes. One senior administration official said it has cost the U.S. government $86.5 billion over 10 years and is "the most unjustified loophole in the international tax system which needs to close down." It is a legal practice, the officials said, involving "companies taking advantage of a very bad law." (That "very bad law," by the way, was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by that nasty ol' librul, Bill Clinton.)

Consider this: The cost of providing comprehensive, universal health insurance for our children would cost about $35 billion. Now, look at that number above one more time. $86 billion stolen by predatory corporations who care about this country about as much as Dick Cheney cares about the U.S. Constitution - which is to say zero, zip, nada.

The Obama administration expects these new laws to raise at least $210 billion over the next 10 years, "to cut taxes for American families, increase incentives for businesses to create jobs in America and reduce the deficit." Yeah. To "cut taxes" for American families, reduce the deficit, etc.; the stuff about which the right-wingers will scream and snort and wave their tea bags wildly in the air, and shriek no! no! no!

Obama officials also depict the new laws as a way to close unfair tax loopholes that encourage companies to send jobs overseas. They argue that if it costs the same amount to do business in, say, Ireland as in Iowa , why not do it entirely in Des Moines ? Further, this is a way to keep jobs in the United States and fight a system that is rigged by dishonest corporatists (but, I repeat myself) against U.S. companies who keep their entire business operation domestic. And, yep, the right-wing crazies will scream louder and snort more contemptuously and wave their tea bags wildly in the air and shriek no! no! no! We love you, Glenn, we love you Rush! Obama is a Kenyan! And he shook hands with that guy, you know, in Venezuela ! What's his name . . . the guy down there!

A spokesman for Obama said in 2004, multinational corporations enjoyed an effective tax rate of 2.3 per cent in the United States because of such allowances. 2.3 per cent!!!! The spokesman said that was the most recent year available for analysis. Officials said the situation was indefensible. Unless, of course, you represent the sort of predatory capitalism praised and promoted by the mega-wealthy right-wing radio and television talkers who get such a kick out of jerking around and otherwise abusing their deranged "fans." We love you Neal! We love you Sean! We want to kiss you and suck your fingers! Touch us, please! touch us! Aiiieeeeeeeeee . . .

When asked about the intense lobbying effort already underway against these reforms, including 200 opposition letters sent to Congress, a senior administration official said, "We expect (to see) many lobbying (efforts) against us ... "

Why, of course.

- MDM

Mike Malloy can be heard daily on his radio show 9pm - 12pm ET. Visit www.mikemalloy.com to stream live or find a station near you.