Meritocracy, "exploitocracy" and fiscal deficits

For America , meritocracy has been an indelible part of its societal makeup, its psyche. Any challenge to its virtuosity has been directed only to the approach taken at times when dispensing rewards. However, the decibels of criticism are significantly increasing to the point of converting a universally accepted concept into another with irreparable social consequences.

The current administration in Washington is quickly becoming the catalyst for that conversion, welcoming the replacement of meritocracy with “exploitocracy.”

The change in the amount and source of “revenue collection” legislated during this Bush reign is giving a bad name to meritocracy. The re-cutting of the economic pie is now creating an economic class system that resembles more that of a developing nation than the leading economic superpower that we, presumably, are. After the tax cuts, our households in the highest 10% income bracket are likely to be making twenty, yes twenty, times the annual income as the households in the lowest 10%… that compares to five times for Japan and seven to ten times for most developed nations.

No, the Bush administration does not find this economic distancing between rich and poor alarming, or embarrassing. Their consensus appears to be that entrepreneurs, as they put it (in deeds if not in words), are the only contributors to wealth-creation, justly deserving all the rewards… the heck with the rest of the folks.

Unashamedly, the tentacles that the Extreme Right has available, from its media evangelists to the “think-and-lie” tanks, have propagated the notion that the growing deficits are a byproduct of the government’s inability to control domestic spending, often intermingling federal and state responsibilities. Simply, and to the point, their claim is that we have “too much” government, “too many” inefficient programs that should either be abolished or transferred to the private sector. Such simplistic, moronic to many of us, approach would be laughable if it were not for its exploitative overtones.

If economic logic is to prevail, one must assign each culprit its share of blame when arguing the causal variables which create these deficits. Yes, part of them have to do with additional spending, much of which is the result of a flawed foreign policy which brought an unnecessary war and another layer of government inefficiency in the creation of “homeland security.” Such spending may account for about one-third of the deficit (this time around) but what about the other $300+ billion?

Little guessing here, for it has nothing to do with spending. As Clinton would have said, “It’s the revenue, stupid!” The lack of it, that is. The tax cuts, and tax breaks, given to the “deservingly” rich can easily account for the rest. For it’s not only the comparatively low tax rates at the top, relative to those in other developed nations, that are brought to question, but the effectiveness of the controls which are in place to collect taxes due from wealthy individuals and corporations.

Bush’s team has masterminded picking the pockets of America ’s producing-class in a way which rivals a carny sharpie deflowering yokels. The great “give-back” took place with those whose pockets were being picked thanking their pickpockets. Never mind that for every dollar returned to the middle-class now, many will later be taken from them and their children.

Bush promoted a program of tax-cuts with the same forked tongue that he promoted the invasion of Iraq . At the end, there are no jobs to be found, and no WMD. Now he is promoting keeping the tax rates permanent!

A few weeks ago we asked in this column for the coinage of two words, “emporiocracy” and “autocratopia” which defined well our form of government influenced by big business, and those who run it, instead of the mythical democracy we claim to be. We wish to make it a trilogy this week, adding “exploitocracy,” which we might want to define as meritocracy for a chosen few.