Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why You Should Boycott Snickers

And Campbell's Soup, and Wal-Mart (heck, you do that anyway, don't you?), and all the other companies whose heirs have lobbied the Republican leadership for repeal of the inheritance tax. Because Saturday's shameless one a.m. session really did make a mockery of the term "compassionate conservative."

The Republican Congress is so opposed to raising the minimum wage, stuck at $5.15 for nine years, that the only way they will back a raise for the working poor is to couple it with legislation to raise the cap on the estate tax. Even as they were passing the bill, the Republican leadership acknowledged that its chances for passage were slim, but that's not the point. Elections are just around the corner, and Republicans think they can have their cake and eat it, too.
Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Republican leaders knew that the tax provisions would surely be killed in the Senate. He accused them of giving their moderate members a chance to go on record in favor of boosting the minimum wage without having to deliver results.
We're covered the Paris Hilton tax cut before, and the reasons why it isn't just unfair and unprogressive, but a disastrous fiscal policy as well. Republicans have been rying unsuccessfully for years to eliminate the tax altogether, but they would settle for raising the cap high enough and lowering the tax rates to the point where it almost never applies. But just in case this legislation doesn't pass, the administration is preparing to try the back door and eliminate the auditors.

Meanwhile eighteen millionaire families and their Republican handmaidens think that a two-dollar-an-hour raise every decade for the lowest rung of the working class must be balanced by a $91 billion dollar inheritance tax cut for some of the wealthiest families on the planet, dynasties who already control $185 billion dollars in assets. Who are these families? The Blethens who own the Seattle Times, the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, The Mars family of Mars, Inc., the Dorrances of Campbell Soup fame, the Gallos of E&J Gallo Winery, the Nordstroms, and a few other less familiar names.

Not every wealthy heir thinks more tax cuts on inheritance are a good idea.
.... Elizabeth Letzler, an investment manager from New York who will be subject to the estate tax and who spoke at the press conference, “The current estate tax structure should permit any wealthy household to pass on a legacy of financial security, education and family heirlooms to the next generations.” She challenged the families showcased in the report: “Do something spectacular during your life-time investing in the social welfare and well-being of the children and grandchildren at the bottom of the pyramid.” Her daughter Stephanie, also in attendance, said, “If keeping the estate tax means a step closer to a debt-free treasury, a step closer to improved health care, Social Security, education, and every other program that makes me proud to be an American, show me where to sign the check.”
Warren Buffet, who doesn't believe in "dynastic wealth," set the bar for noblesse oblige when he decided to pass along the majority of his estate through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And a famous blue-eyed actor recently voiced these sentiments:
Paul Newman, actor and founder of Newman’s Own food company, agreed in a separate statement: “For those of us lucky enough to be born in this country and to have flourished here, the estate tax is a reasonable and appropriate way to return something to the common good. I’m proud to be among those supporting preservation of this tax, which is one of the fairest taxes we have.”
So put back that Snickers bar and pass the Newman O's.


Urban Docent said...

And, Snickers taste bad in addition to being bad for you.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm a Reese's Cup fan myself!

Bradley said...

I'm very rarely in a chocolate mood... when I am, I also go for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. My personal candy of choice is Sourpatch Kids.

Bradley said...

On a relevant note, I saw on the news last night that the Republican leadership plans to send pork and catered bills to certain senators to entice them and make them vote in favor of this.

I don't know... sure, the estate tax thing is bad, and the way they did it was slimy... but the bright side is that we'll finally get the minimum wage increased.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former employee of Mars, Inc. - now Masterfoods, Inc. When I was in college, I worked there, packing Snickers into shipping boxes. 50 to 100 bars per second come off the line.

It was a good paying job at the time: $8 per hour as a temp employee with no benefits, which was good for a college student in 1992. They paid time and a half for anything over 8 hours in a day, and double-time on Sundays.

My Dad and step-Mom worked there until retirement and are currently on pension from Masterfoods. I'm told by people who still work there, including a woman I met at the Ethel-M's chocolate factory near Las Vegas, that things have all gone down hill since the company has changed control.

I'm not sure whether boycotting Snickers will have any affect or not, but I'll say they're not so good for you, so ANY candy should be eaten only in moderation.

I should also mention that for many years Nestle' was boycotted for their "baby-formula" scandal in Africa. I'm not sure whether they're yet forgiven.

Please don't take this as a defense of the Mars family. As I understand it, the current generation are spoiled, self-centered, uncaring rich folks who are so greedy they want to bribe Congress to repeal the estate tax so they can make more generations of Mars that don't have to work for a living.

Gitmo or Bust said...

Is there anything left that we can buy? Liberals will have the US savings rate back to positive numbers in no time.