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Friday, October 21, 2016

Paying Taxes To Your Boss: Another Step Toward 21st Century Feudalism

Employers are already treating their workers like their subjects. Now some of them get to collect taxes, too.

Though a lot of Americans really (really, really) hate paying taxes, most of us can at least justify it as our contribution to some greater good, whether it’s the broad range of social programs favored by progressives or a libertarian night watchman state. But what if the government instead told us, “We don’t want your money, but we would like to make friends with some rich guys, so just give it to them and let them have fun with it”? That could soon be the law of the land in Pennsylvania, where the state legislature has passed a bill that would, asPhiladelphia City Paper blogger Daniel Denvir describes it, “allow companies that hire at least 250 new workers in the state to keep 95 percent of the workers’ withheld income tax.” These workers will essentially be paying their employers for the privilege of having a job. Some have called this “corporate socialism,” but it also calls to mind an even older economic model that was once popular in Europe—except back then, the bosses were called lords. It’s a more modern innovation in the U.S., but combined with increased political pressure from employers and a crackdown on workers’ rights, it all adds up to feudalism, American-style.

The Pennsylvania bill is just the most recent example of state income taxes being turned into employer subsidies. It’s already the law of the land in one form or another in 19 states, and according to Good Jobs First, it’s taking $684 million a year out of the public coffers. The theory is that this will boost job creation. But the authors of the Good Jobs First report note, “payments often go to firms that simply move existing jobs from one state to another, or to ones that threaten to move unless they get paid to stay put.” In other words, it’s more like extortion than stimulus. With state governments facing a projected $4 trillion budget shortfall and continuing to cut social services and public sector jobs, they can hardly afford to be wasting money on companies that already have plenty and have no intention of putting it to good use. And the more governments turn over their privileges to businesses, the more the distinction between the two becomes blurred.

But if corporations have state governments over a barrel, they have their employees stuffed inside the barrel and ready to plunge down the waterfall. As I’ve noted before, some conservatives view all taxation as theft, but there’s surely no better term for what happens when employers promise their workers a certain wage or salary and then pocket some of the money for themselves. When you pay taxes to the government, you get something in return, whether it’s a school for your kids or a road to drive on or a firefighter to rescue you from a burning building. When you pay taxes to your boss, you… well, you give your boss your money. Your only reward is that you get to continue to “work the land,” so to speak. The lords didn’t consult with the peasants on which tapestries they should buy with the money they collected from them.

Did I forget to mention that these employers aren’t even required to tell their workers that this is how their “income taxes” are being used? Journalist David Cay Johnston, who covers this issue in his new bookThe Fine Print: How Big Companies Use ‘Plain English’ to Rob You Blindwrites that this bait-and-switch is “stealthy by design.” Of course it is; if these workers were important enough to know where their money is going, it wouldn’t be legal to steal it.

Employers may be able to exert pressure, but they can’t actually control who you support, right? Well, they might not be able to accompany you to the voting booth (yet), but if you work in a state that allows your employer to confiscate your tax withholdings and donate them to a pro-Romney Super PAC, they can turn you into a Romney supporter whether you like it or not. It’s not enough that our current campaign finance system gives wealthy executives nearly unchecked power to support the candidate of their choice; subsidizing them with income taxes allows them to choose for everyone in their fiefdom.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • carl09

    unions already do this!!

    • nobsartist

      bull crap. you are too stupid to even comprehend what unions do so shut your pie hole.

  • nobsartist

    The Indian owned contract engineering companies are refusing to hire whites and creating artificial shortages of qualified personnel so they can bring more indians over on H1 B1 visa’s.

    This warrants a government investigation.

  • stoher9

    Yeah, the peasants may hold the pitchforks but the “lords of the manor” hold the tanks, nuclear weapons and fully automatic weapons, as well as the food supply system.

    • As in past eras when the Lords owned the armies but a funny thing happened, something called rebellion and overthrow led to the armies standing down instead of attacking the serfs. Guess who lost? The rich Lords. Guess who were beheaded?

      If everything in history repeats then I see a time coming when this will play out again as the only way to right a listing ship. The common day Lords can’t right the ship because of their self serving interests called GREED. It will be up to a champion of the people to again rise up and challenge the Lords and restore the balance required in Nature.

      • Did you see what happened when the rich tried to kill the police union? The rich lost.

  • a80a

    if not for unions this country would still be a land of slaves and tenant farmers. you really should look into the back ground and history of the labor force before unions came along.

    • jstsyn

      It is insane to think many Americans can be turned against unions. Along the same lines as voting against your best interest, and plenty of that is going on.

      • Ed

        Yep. The repubs convinced americans they don’t need to join together to protect their interests.

    • Because of the unions this country will have all citizens as slaves.
      Unions are a cancer on mankind and must be cut out.

      • Walter did you ever work for a living?

        • Walter just thinks he is descended from royalty!

      • jarheadgene

        Unions negotiate for their salaries and benefits. As Union wages go up so does the pay scale of the non-union. The continued Corporate Welfare system the lobbyists and our govt. has created is shameful.

      • Ed

        Walter, the National Labor relations board is a toothless senile agency. The unions are shrinking as american workers work longer hours at lower pay with fewer benfits. More and more states are adopting “Right to work”laws; more properly called Right to work for almost nothing. Actually you sound like an employer.

  • The unions abused their being. Now we see the use of them to control the `Lords` of today. The CEOs and multi billionairs who are determined th RUN THEIR COUNTRY the way they want to run it!!(ANY THIHG GOES FOR A
    PROFIT) to ruin demoracy, our demoracy.!!
    Back to our roots and get them outof office and the running of our firms. Or ther will be an overthrow like in 1917, Russia, and the American public is far more armed than the peasants of Russia. America, a Domoracy is very delicate and very difficult to keep a democracay! I believe many leaders and leaders have said that loooog before me !

  • jebediah123

    Giving tax money to employers to “create more jobs” without requiring an accounting of where the money actually goes?? What is this world coming to?? And who are the completely stupid legislators that went for this??

    Reminds me of a situation in 1982. I worked for a company in West Allis, WI. The city officials told the owner of the company they would give him a subsidy for every NEW worker he hired during the recession. So what did he do? He laid off a number of old, loyal employees—–hired new ones (for which he got a subsidy) and pocketed the savings. The city of West Allis never checked this out.

    The company owner used the money to support his alcoholic addiction. Hoo-ray!!

    • Lucius_Junius_Brutus

      “Giving tax money to employers to “create more jobs” without requiring an accounting of where the money actually goes?? What is this world coming to?? And who are the completely stupid legislators that went for this?? ”

      Replace the word “employers” above with “government.”

      The question is just as relevant.

      • Who would pay for your wars?

      • Ed

        Alright, I will agree with you on that! Just note that it was A STATE GOVERNMENT that has proposed this. Run by Repubs; the same state where an official bragged that their voter ID law would assure that Romney carried the state.

    • jarheadgene

      Why don’t you post that on every stupid GOP rhetoric site you can find…..they are constantly, moronically, decieving the public into believing that kind of cheating only occurs in black ghetto neighborhoods.

  • adriancrutch

    A company I worked for from 1987 to 1997 received state help to upgrade their building then the corp.owners pulled the plug when the union got too expensive for their tastes. It moved the company to another company it owned and asked union members to take $5. an hr pay cuts to even the playing field with the pay at the new location. It stiffed the state for about $30 grand. Bottom line is all these jokers care about. Coltec Industries was the multi-corporation.

  • latebloomingrandma

    By continuing to scream that our current President is a socialist and Marxist and stoking fear (many people don’t understand the difference between the 2), they can continue the methodical destruction of the labor unions and the building of the plutocracy.

    • iAintNoSculler


  • quasm

    Mr. Price;

    What if the company I own used the tax money I keep to support Pres. Obama’s campaign? Would that be OK?

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

    • MethMouthMary

      NO! It isn’t right if the Repubs get the tax money or the Dems get the tax money. It is tax money and needs to go into government coffers, not private coffers!!!

    • Justin Napolitano

      No, it would not. I don’t think a company should take workers tax money and use it for their own purposes, period. I don’t want a Plutocracy running this country, got it?

  • alumahead

    The power elites have a vested interest in making sure sub-groups bicker among themselves. It allows them to maintain or increase their power through money. Until the masses decide to throw their petty differences aside and join forces around a collective cause to battle this form of injustice, nothing will change.

    • iAintNoSculler

      It’s called divide and conquer concept. This will require new types of unions with new concepts.

  • onedonewong

    Socialism at its finest, I’m sure the unions will want their cut as well

    • Justin Napolitano

      Socialism? The is not socialism that is Plutocracy.Ii know you are less than intelligent onedone but every time you post something you prove it.

      • onedonewong

        Sorry the politburo always lives better than the workers that true for unions as well

  • iAintNoSculler

    This is just not fathomable! It’s crazy! What kind of unscrupulous animal would attempt to pass legislation like this?

  • Lucius_Junius_Brutus

    What is the big beef all of a sudden with feudalism?!?

    What are property taxes if not the height, depth, and breadth of feudalism?!! Having to pay a feud/fee/tax in order to maintain the “privilege” of staying on and controlling real property that one is supposed to OWN.

    So much for the allodium once held as sacred by a once free people!

    “Keep on rockin’ in the free world” delusion.

    • Justin Napolitano

      Lucius, that comment is so stupid I just can’t comment on it. If you don’t know what taxes do for you and your community then you are far to gone to help.

      • Lucius_Junius_Brutus

        OK. You like feudalism because of what you believe it does for you and your community. Got it.

        • You’re wearing Mickey Mouse ears! How can you take yourself seriously?

          • Lucius_Junius_Brutus

            That is not me wearing them. It is actually one of the silliest little mental dwarfs of the 20th century. Look closer.

    • This from a man who’s wearing mouse ears!

      The traitor Brutus (“Et tu, Brute.”) got his comeuppance from the triumvirate, a much worse government than Caesar represented.

      Becareful what you wish for, Mickey.

      • Lucius_Junius_Brutus

        You’ve got the wrong Brutus there Brian.


  • There should be no such thing as private companies being allowed to keep any of the tax money that comes out of an employee’s check and any state that allows needs to have their government heads investigated to see how much money they get in kickbacks from these companies. When these states start saying that they are going to have cut education, and all the rest that get cut when there is a budget deficit the people should raise up and tell them to get the state tax money they gave private companies to cover that deficit instead cutting anything besides their salaries. It is a well known fact that when private companies receive public tax money they don’t use it to make more jobs they put in their owners bank accounts so all it amounts to is free money for people that don’t need it.

  • Classic! Someone from the ” Roosevelt Institute ” commenting on mini-dictators! The first New Deal was devastating to individual liberties, one hates to think what the ” Next New Deal ” would bring!

    PS: Where I work, I am forced to hide my Tea Party and Libertarian bumper stickers!