Cruel and Obscene Outcome

Garen Yegparian

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

Are you inclined to be compassionate to someone who you know is cruel, or at least lacks compassion for others?

I’m guessing most people will answer “no” to my question, even though many will often still be kind and compassionate to those who are “undeserving” of such treatment just because it’s the right thing to do.

On Monday, at Burbank’s Memorial Day gathering, Cong. Adam Schiff cited a truly sad statistic. Currently, more American military personnel are dying AFTER their tours of duty through suicide than on the battlefield. This is occurring, at least in part, because the medical facilities available for veterans are underfunded by Congress.

So what would you think of those who are forcing such underfunding? They are the same people who are serving up to us bad economic policy in general, and tax policy in particular (see my previous piece “Taxes and Trends”).

What’s worse is this underfunding is avoidable. Most of those who advocate using a cleaver on government budgets seem genuinely convinced that “we have no money,” therefore they advocate that the government should “live within its means,” and obviously, miss the point of having a government. They think taxes are too high (again see “Taxes and Trends”). But if this is the case, how is it that as of June 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal, large corporations had $1.84 trillion in cash parked mostly overseas. How did they accumulate such a wad if, indeed, taxes are too high? This money would be much better used hiring people, investing in their businesses, or being paid out to their investors who might better utilize it.

The people running these corporations seem to number among those who have no heart. Instead of using the money wisely, they’re keeping it “out of the government’s reach” (while of course benefiting from the perks of being a U.S. corporation). If some of this money had been collected in taxes, fewer suicides might occur and better investment in infrastructure might be in place.

We have such heartless people in our community, too. They seem to have no compassion. They are the ones who are critical of my writings on economic issues. Usually, they are quick to argue that these topics are not “Armenian issues” and shouldn’t appear in Armenian publications.

I ask those people, if they are bereft of compassion for those around us who are in bad shape, how do they expect others to take our Genocide, reparations, and lands related efforts seriously? Are we not asking, in addition to the implementation of the law, for compassion? Is not compassion the starting point for engaging non-Armenians?
Please, I ask all my compatriots to heed their hearts. No suicide that’s preventable should occur because of a lack of compassion and its attendant miserliness in budget policy. If nothing else, look upon it as enlightened self interest.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

7 Comments

  1. Razmik Rashidyan said:

    Mr. yegparian

    I’ve read few of your articles and I get the sense that you are a compasionate person who wants to help his fellow man. However it seems like your approach to help is just like a good tax hungry democrat is by raising more taxes and if that is not enough raise more taxes, and if needed more, well raise it again. Government was not meant to be my father, brother, doctor , teacher and neighbor. we have churches and other organizations that do the job much more efficient and better than a government agency would come close of dreaming of doing good.
    I suggest the government to get out of the way of the church, red cross , salvation army and other nonprofit organizations and enable compasionate citizens at work. When the government takes our money and does”GOOD” , it robs the citizen and takes the credit for helping our neighbor. I honestly believe I can spend my money much better and wiser than a government agent can, because I worked hard to earn it. Private Armenian or church sponserd schools do much better job educating our children for much less than we are being charged in taxes for public schools failing scores. How about you give our community or the parents a voucher or tax credit to “give” our money to school of our choice, church of our choice, soup kitchen of our choice and let the government tax only for the legitimate functions of the government.The results are in, more taxes does not bring better public education, county hospital, DMV or other over charged services.I do agree that our vetrans are not getting the best treatment or pay from the government. but well…that is , government.Taking a lot and giving, shall we say, peanuts.

    Best regards.
    Razmik Rashidyan

    • Mikael said:

      I’d just like to point out that nowhere in this article did Mr. Yegparian suggest raising anyone’s taxes and his previous article merely suggested bringing the tax rate for the wealthiest among us back to reasonable levels.

      If you do just a small amount of research, you will see that US citizens are actually among the most undertaxed. The US tax rate is among the lowest in the world. Now, neither I nor Mr. Yegparian is telling the ordinary citizen that taxes have to be raised on everyone again and again just because we are “undertaxed.” That is absolute nonsense and I have a hard time understanding how people get these things into their heads. The issue here is the tax rates and laws concerning only the top few percent of earners and large corporations.

      In the past 10 years, the tax rates for the wealthiest among us have dropped significantly. For example, the company GE paid a very low tax this past year… so low in fact that if you paid a single red cent in taxes, you have officially paid more than GE did. GE, and a few other profitable companies did not pay their taxes this year. In fact, they got a taxpayer subsidy instead. Does that make sense to you? Other large earners have paid a far lesser proportion of their income tax than in the past. Taxes on large ultraprofitable companies and top earners are what keeps our country solvent, not the measley tax on you or me.

      So let’s ask now what happens when taxes have been dropped significantly on the top contributors and we have to provide the same services such as clean water, education, police, etc… A MASSIVE DEFICIT!!!! Pile on a needless war and you’ve got the makings of another Great Depression. We have a deficit and are cutting needed programs in police, healthcare, research and education specifically because of economically unsustainable policies regarding taxation on only the wealthiest companies, not taxes on the average middle class or lower class (or even upper class) individual.

      Please put your feelings aside for just a moment while reading these types of articles and read the actual words before you’ve conjured up your response.

      • HebardHigh said:

        No one says GE should not pay any taxes. I am sure you know who is the CEO of GE, and who are his buddies. Below please find 2008 tax payer table. Sorry it is current year, but it gives you an idea who pays the taxes in the USA.

        Who Pays Income Taxes and how much?
        Tax Year 2008 – Sorry Don’t have Currennt Year
        Source: Internal Revenue Service

        Top 1% Earners Pay: 38.02 % of Federal Income Taxes
        Top 5% Earners Pay: 58.72 %
        Top 10% Earners Pay: 69.94 %
        Top 25% Earners Pay: 86.34 %
        Top 50% Earners Pay: 97.30 %
        Bottom 50% Earners Pay: 2.70 %

        • Ara said:

          On May 7, 2011, Paul Krugman, who received the Nobel Prize in economics, in his blog addressed the cruel injustice of the statistics that “HebardHigh” presents. I am just reproducing it here.

          May 7, 2011, 4:15 pm
          Federal Tax Chutzpah
          Chutzpah, according to the traditional definition, is when you murder your mother and father, then plead for mercy from the court on the grounds that you’re an orphan.
          Something like that is now happening in the tax debate.
          As the CBO has documented, what we’ve seen over the past 30 years is a dramatic shift of income toward the top, with the richest Americans sharply increasing their share of pre-tax income. It’s highly likely that government policies, from financial deregulation to union-busting, have played an important role in that growing income concentration.
          At the same time, tax rates on top income have fallen, and by more than tax rates on lower incomes. But the rise in the income of the rich has been so great that high-income Americans pay a larger share of total taxes than they used to despite tax policy that favors their interests.
          And the new cry from the hired hands of the rich is that it’s unfair that the wealthy should pay such a large share of taxes.
          Awesome.

  2. Berj said:

    I did not want to make it a personal attack, but! SHAME ON YOU for using the Armenian Genocide to scare and coax voters to vote for more taxes.
    Are you and your public employee union buddies (specially the union bosses) willing to take a 10% pay reduction (just for one or two years maximum) that will go directly to the families and members of the true public servants of this country that you are so “worried” about? I HIGHLY doubt it.
    Your half truths and scare tactics don’t work on informed voters. Unfortunately, there are more dumb voters in California than one can shake a stick at, which plays right into the hands of union/political apparatchiks/hacks like you.
    Again, SHAME ON YOU!

  3. Harb said:

    Mr. Yegparian,

    You reason from a rate of suicide that there is an underlying lack of compassion here in our country that is the source of all manor of evil including Americans not making the Armenian Genocide of nearly 100yrs ago a contemporary priority. You should not be surprised if many see your argument a bit extended. Actually it is a con–if you are a nice person you will keep supporting deficit spending until the government at all levels implode.

    BTW: We (Americans) are faced with a 14+ Trillion dollar deficit and 46+trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs. Only a socialist would believe our country and our people would be best served by continuing to heap more debt onto this mountain of debt.

    As for the 1.84 Trillion you cite as being parked by US corporations outside the country, you fail to mention that those cash reserves were earned outside the US and are the net after taxes by the jurisdictions where the earnings occurred. You can also see that if this money could/would be confiscated by the US that would hardly make a dent in the enormous debt.

    *Spending does have to be cut and cut substantially at all levels of government.
    *The Federal tax code of some 150000 pages needs to be simplified-potentially replaced with a VAT
    * Fiscal/tax/monetary policy has to encourage business and subsequent job creation.

  4. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    Garen,
    May I call you a Communist now? I hope your ideology dies here on the pages of Asbarez for lack of cohorts.
    Your ideology is a flaccid regurgitation of every policy that has been destroying this country during the past fifty years. Cheap accusations against the very best people that are holding up this country, class hatred and warfare, more regulations to take away everyone’s control of his own life, more power for the unions to take more from us and give us less, more hatred against fathers who work like slaves to provide for their families, more income for lawyers to suck the last drop of blood from every working man’s livelihood, more crippling bureaucracies to bring all economic activities in this country to a virtual halt.
    Is that what you wish for America? I sure hope it is not what you wish for Armenia.
    Go and offer your services to that communist dog who is destroying this country right this very moment. Mr. Obama deceived us into electing him lying about the economic policies he espoused and lying about his stand about the Armenian genocide. How is it that you are so still and silent on your co-ideologist’s deceptions?

*

Top