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April 26, 2006

And what was your tax refund, honey?


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I guess this is old news, but worth repeating for those of you who had to write a big check to the IRS last week. Dick did not. It seems that our sterling vice president has profited handsomely from a few of his investments. (One wonders if Halliburton is primary among them, though the press seems loathe to mention it.) Cheney's income last year was about 8.8 million, "which was largely the result of exercising stock options that had been set aside in 2001 for charity." Oh.

Dick's tax refund was almost two million dollars. That, of course, is because he had already paid two and a half million in estimated taxes, and deserved some money back because of his generous contributions to charity. And, what do you know, that clever bastard has made disaster work for him once again.

The fashion for extraordinarily high incomes is a general trend in the world of CEOs, and what, after all , are George and Dick? "According to Business Week, the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker's pay in 1980. By 1990 that had almost doubled to 85 times. In 2000, the average CEO salary reached an unbelievable 531 times that of the average hourly worker." Looks like we have a simiilar situation in our federal government. In the corporate world, poor performance is not a factor in the level of compensation either.

I know, the VP's salary isn't all that big, but the stock options he owns in the war in Iraq more than compensate.

In contrast to this wretched excess, I just listened to half of Barbara Ehrenreich's book ,"Bait and Switch" (it was so depressing, I couldn't bear to finish it) about long term white collar unemployment.. It doesn't look good folks. As CEO salaries have risen, middle managers have been eliminated, and cannot, in spite of diligent efforts, find their way back into the job market. Often, like Barbara, herself, they simply give up. Then, conveniently for the Bush Administration's statiistics, those who have given up are no longer counted among the ranks of the unemployed

The dichotomy between the filthy (and I refer, here, to their sociopathic ways) rich in this country, and the disenfranchised, both poor, newly poor, and hopelessly unemployed, is rapidly increasing. Erosion of the middle class is bad for everyone. When the majority of the population has absolutely nothing to lose, there is danger of anarchy. To date, gates and guards are not mandatory for the privileged, but that time is coming.

Neoconservatism and it's intention to create an uberclass at the expense of the rest of us, has set the scene for civil unrest. All we need are a few more hurricanes to water the fields they have plowed.

So do your part, tell your friends about Cheney's tax refund, and help to lower his poll numbers to 5%. We have to remember that dictators don't really care about their popularity.

Photo note: There is absolutely nothing pretty about this picture, thus qualifying it as a metaphorophoto. It's part of my Bastardization of the American Flag Series. The half hidden bald eagle with its powerful beak that's meant to tear, reminded me of you-know-who.

Addendum: Here's Bill Gates on the repeal of the estate tax, The Paris Hilton Tax, or as he calls it, "The Grateful Heirs Tax". Warms a girl's heart.

Addendum # 2: (They're pouring in) "The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences" by New York Times reporter, Louis Uchitelle. From Publisher's Weekly: "Devoting a book to the necessity of preserving jobs is perhaps a futile endeavor in this age of deregulation and outsourcing, but veteran New York Times business reporter Uchitelle manages to make the case that corporate responsibility should entail more than good accounting and that six (going on seven) successive administrations have failed miserably in protecting the American people from greedy executives, manipulative pension fund managers, leveraged buyouts and plain old bad business practices."

Posted by Dakota at April 26, 2006 01:15 PM