By Michael Monasky
In today's YouTube video budget presentation, an exhausted and defeated Darrell Steinberg got his title wrong, as he announced that he is the President of the California State Senate. Actually, Gavin Newsom, the Lieutenant Governor, is the President of the California State Senate. The difference is not minor. In the case of a tie, or the will of the Lieutenant Governor, Steinberg is just another senator in a political leadership role.
Mr. Steinberg stated: “The newly unemployed” have “suffered most during this global recession.” First, the USA has not been in a technical financial recession for nearly two years. Second, the long-term unemployed seem to have lost a whole lot more than the “newly” unemployed. I'd rather have lost my job last week than to have lost it two years ago, and then, in the interim, my car, my home, and other possessions.
I saw Mr. Steinberg at the Capitol this week. When he said we are all on the same team, I commented to him that we are only in the same boat. The terrible cuts to human services have taken place over the last 4 years during his administration, and these cuts seem to be continuing. Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic does not change the fact that the ship is still going down. I don't see a pleasant tomorrow, but a collapsing labor economy over which no political leader has exerted control.
That control requires political cojones to assess taxes on large corporations. Disney, Exxon, Mobil, Chevron, Amazon, MicroSoft, and so many others pay NO California taxes at all. In fact, these corporations receive large government subsidies which means they are the biggest welfare queens of all. Just ask General Electric.
If corporations in California paid only half of what people pay in taxes, the corporate collection rate would have to be expanded by 500%. Of the roughly $90B collected in state revenues, only about $9B came from corporations. The remainder, $81B, came from you and me. Residual, uninvested capital profits approach $1T. So increasing tax collections from well-heeled corporations means more money for human services in California. It's as simple as that.