Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 15, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 15, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It


This week I’d like to pose a question to the liberal readers of this paper. 
Conservatives may read along – there’s no need to turn the page – but I really 
want those who profess a liberal political ideology, or even a “progressive” 
one, to seriously consider a question: what would you do in the following 

Let’s say that you earned $100,000 and I taxed you at 35%. That would mean 
I take $35,000 and you get to keep $65,000. But when you want to spend that 
money, I tax you another 15%. That means I’d take approximately another 

So, in my little example, you would earn $100,000 but you’d only get to 
actually spend $55,000. Your total tax rate would be 45%. 

Now suppose, I told you that I didn’t feel this was enough and I want to take the same 35% with the 
first tax above, but then I want to take 43% as the second tax. That would mean I would tax you 
$35,000 the first time and about $28,000 the second time. You would be left with only 37% of what 
you earned and would have paid a total tax of 63%.

The final part of my example is to tell you that all this can be avoided by simply doing whatever 
business you do overseas instead of in the U.S., and it would all be perfectly legal – no tricks, shams 
or slights of hand. It’s all written in plain English in the U.S. tax code, as it is in almost every other 
country’s tax code, by the way.

So, would you voluntarily pay $45,000 if you could legally avoid it? Or if I’m trying to increase the 
rates, as I described above, would you voluntarily pay $63,000 if you could legally avoid it? Perhaps 
there are a few of you out there who would voluntarily surrender your hard earned money, but I 
doubt there’s more of you than could fit into a phone booth.

What I’ve described is the situation that American corporations face today. That’s why Google, 
Starbucks and Amazon, to name just a few, have all routed much of their profits through Bermuda. 
That’s also why it is estimated that $1.7 trillion of profits for U.S. companies are kept offshore. 
America is not the only country on this planet, nor are our tax rates the only ones on this planet. 
Companies have the flexibility to put their profits where they want, and corporate management, just 
like the liberal progressive readers whom I addressed in the beginning, will take every legal means to 
reduce their taxes.

The United States today has among the highest corporate income tax rates of the industrial countries 
(35%). Corporate profits are taxed at this 35% level, but then if the corporation gives those profits 
back to the company’s owners in the form of dividends, those dividends are taxed at 15%. When/
if we go off the fiscal cliff, those dividends will be taxed at up to 43%. This is nothing but double 
taxation – once at the corporate level and then again at the individual level. By the way, these 
corporations we’re discussing are owned by you and me – regular Joes. The smaller corporations are 
owned by individual businessmen and women – plumbers, carpenters, or flower shop owners in our 
communities. The larger corporations are typically owned by all of us regular Joes through mutual 
funds. One way or the other the double taxation lands right at your door and mine.

What’s amazing is the level of hypocrisy being demonstrated by the left. The very same rational, 
common sense move that any sane person would take (trying to save money) is somehow condemned 
as evil and immoral simply because a big-name corporation does it in Bermuda. The screaming 
became so loud and angry that Starbucks “voluntarily” donated about $16 million to the government 
in order to look better in the court of public opinion.

Pathetically, the same people who were calling Starbucks nasty names would do the very same thing 
if they had the chance. Now that they’ve read this article, I’m sure they will. Taking steps to save 
money, or to reduce your taxes, is a very natural, legitimate, and moral thing to do. Nobody – and 
no corporation – is under an ethical obligation to pay more in taxes than is required.

Lastly, let’s consider the practical economic affects of this in our country. Approximately $1.7 trillion 
that could otherwise be put to use employing people, expanding businesses, starting new product 
lines, etc., is sitting is some foreign bank account because U.S. tax law is over burdensome and our 
current President wants to raise those rates even more.

If you thought the last 4 years were great, be prepared for more of the same – 8% unemployment (or 
higher), 1.5% annual economic growth (or less) and lots of unused money sitting in Bermuda. Just 
spare us the hypocrisy; we all try to save our own money.

About the author: Gregory J. Welborn is a freelance writer and has spoken to several civic and religious 
organizations on cultural and moral issues. He lives in the Pasadena area with his wife and 3 children 
and is active in the community. He can be reached at

“. . . we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is 
a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions 
and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and 
working conditions of everyone . . . Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are 
lower, job opportunities are fewer . . . We do not intend to let them do this to us. We 
demand this fraud be stopped.” 

- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1961)

 I framed my column last week with references to the subject of history; how 
knowledge of it is vital to understanding the present, and making sound decisions 
for the future. I opened with a quote from Howard Zinn, which made the point that 
if you don’t have such knowledge, you’ll fall for anything – over and over again.

 Last week in Michigan, the conflict was over legislation referred to as “right to work”. For those 
wondering what the fuss was about, one only had to recall the history as spoken by the Rev. King 
over fifty years ago. If one wondered what was wrong with affording workers the freedom not to join 
a union if they didn’t want to, not to pay union dues if they didn’t want to – anyone familiar with 
history knew this argument is bogus; that workers have had this freedom since 1947, when the Taft-
Hartley act banned the “closed shop”.

 History teaches that whenever legislation is rushed through behind closed doors, with no 
opportunity for debate or public input, there’s an unpleasant odor to it. This was how the Michigan 
legislation was rammed through; legislation which had nothing to do with union membership or 
dues payments, but which banned the nominal “agency fee” charged employees to cover the cost of 
negotiations on their behalf. Everyone could share in better pay, benefits and working conditions 
resulting from collective bargaining, but there’d be a “right to freeload”; workers could opt to let 
others pick up the tab for negotiations everyone benefited from. 

 Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) claimed this would be good for workers and good for the economy, 
but one could look at the history of where it had been tried before. Moses Harris of the Detroit Free 
Press looked at the 23 states which already had similar “right to work” laws on the books and saw 
how they stacked up with those that didn’t. Of the ten states with highest per capita incomes, only 
one was a right to work state, while seven of the ten with the lowest per capita incomes were. Only 
three of the ten states with the fastest-growing economies were right to work states, while six of the 
ten states with the lowest percentages of residents with health coverage were right to work.

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the major victim of union-busting is the middle class. In 
1968, when 28% of U.S. workers were union members, 53% of our national income went to the 
middle class (the middle 60% of income earners). By 2010, when union membership dropped to 
12%, the middle class share of our income dropped to 46%. As to where that middle class share went, 
over the past thirty years the share of our nation’s income going to the top 1% grew from less than 
10% to almost 25%. For the richest one/thousandth of our population, their share grew from less 
than 3% of our national income to over 12%.

 In dollar terms, the Economic Policy Institute figures the average union worker earns $1,500 more 
per year than a non-union worker – not to mention health insurance and other benefits. Comparing 
right to work states with those that aren’t, the Congressional Research Service finds the average 
wage-earner in a state that isn’t right to work earns $7,000 more per year than a worker in a state that 
is – whether union member or not. 

 The origin of the Michigan right to work law matches the history of similar legislation in other 
states. It has nothing to do with homegrown efforts to improve the economy, but everything to 
do with payback for the nation-wide corporate front groups that purchase Republican seats in 
statehouses throughout the country. In the case of this Michigan legislation, it was copied nearly 
verbatim from “model legislation” offered by the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”), 
a group funded by the Koch brothers and other corporate interests, dedicated to voter suppression 
and gutting environmental and gun control laws in addition to union-busting.

 The history of such groups shows a marked change in efficacy coming with the “Citizen’s United” 
Supreme Court ruling in 2010, which made it easier for corporations to buy legislators who’d work 
to ensure there being a dirt-cheap labor force available here at home, alleviating the need to relocate 
to a third-world country to find one.

 That history goes back to 2010. The Rev. King remarked on “right to work” legislation over fifty 
years ago. In his column last week, Greg Welborn traveled back in history for over a century to evoke 
a Victorian (and decidedly un-American) sentiment, that “our betters” must be relieved of common 
taxation, and those of us less worthy must consign ourselves to rely upon their benevolence.

 If lower taxes on the wealthy meant job creation, then the Bush years would’ve seen the greatest 
economic expansion in our history. Greg sounds the alarm that raising taxes would hurt small 
business, while history (and the S.B.A.) shows small business job growth averaging 1% a year with 
low taxes under President Bush, but more than twice that, at 2.3% a year, with higher taxes under 
President Clinton.

 Over the past year, Americans who know their history heard arguments from the Republican 
presidential nominee advocating low tax rates on the wealthy and entrusting power to corporations 
rather than the American people. And we know what happened to that nominee, Mitt Romney: He’s 


by Nick Thomas


If you’re waiting until December 22 to start 
Christmas shopping – just in case the Mayan 
end of the world December 21 prediction comes 
true – this is a reality check. Think about it. If the 
Mayans were that good at predicting the future, 
why didn’t they foresee the Spanish Conquistador 
invasion of the 16th century?

The truth is that historians are unanimous in their 
belief that the Mayans never did actually predict 
the world would end in 2012. But somewhere 
along the way, their ideas became entangled with 
Western nitwits who have been pushing end of 
the world prophesies for centuries. 

The most recent example was U.S. preacher 
Harold Camping who, twice in 2011 and once 
in 1994, predicted a world-destroying, cataclysmic 
event. But as far as most experts can tell, the 
Earth – such as it is – is still in existence. 

Over the centuries, 
nutty characters 
have predicted a 
fate for the Earth. 
Many of these 
had their origin 
in religious 
doctrine which, 
for some reason, 
attracts leaders 
who delight in 
making depressing 
of Armageddon. 

Consider the actual 
case of New 
Yorker William 
Miller who – 
modest man that 
he was – founded 
the Millerite 
Church back in 
the 1800s, and 
predicted the 
end of the world 
would come on April 3, 1843. When the world 
failed to disintegrate, the disgruntled preacher 
revised his predictions and foreshadowed earth’s 
demise on several more occasions over the next 
year. But, much to Rev. Miller’s continued annoyance, 
the Earth stubbornly held together each 

Oddly enough, despite his failures, Miller (like 
Camping) was revered by many in his Millerite 
gang, which is a bit hard to fathom. I mean, if 
you’re going to follow someone “to the ends of 
the Earth,” at least wait until the guy gets the date 
right before you begin worshiping him, right? 

As it turned out, some of the Millerites eventually 
became disenchanted with their doom and gloom 
leader. It’s just a pity they didn’t form a splinter 
group, the Miller Lites, which surely would have 
been a merrier, relaxed bunch. 

As for the Mayan apocalyptic predication now 
just a few days away, those clever, ancient, lads 
from South of the Border are making some folks 
a little nervous with their December 21 forecast 
of the Earth’s demise. 

There are even people claiming that if something 
does happen, science may play a role. That’s because 
scientists have now turned on the world’s 
most powerful atom-smasher, to study the building 
blocks of the universe. 

Known as the LHC, or Large Hadron Collider (as 
opposed to the Small Hadron Colliders available 
through mail-order from Lands End), this multi-
billion dollar contraption is designed to investigate 
dark matter, extra dimensions, string theory, 
subatomic particles, and search for the ever elusive 
Higgs boson. (If you’re curious what that is, 
it’s a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle 
– just wanted to clear that up for you).

Built 600 feet underground on the French-Swiss 
border, there is some concern that when the LHC 
is operating at full power, it could malfunction 
just a tad. Are we talking about fusing out a few 
villa toasters in the Alps? Blowing out the street 
lights in downtown Geneva? Melting down the 
European power grid? 

Nope. How about spawning a hungry, black hole 
that could swallow up the entire Earth, maybe on 
December 21? 

Fortunately, the physicists 
reassuringly swear 
there is nothing to fear. 
They’ve even calculated 
that the chances of the 
Earth being vaporized 
by the LHC are about 
the same odds as winning 

But I’m not sure how 
reassuring that is since, 
when it comes to planetary 
meltdowns, I 
personally find a probability 
of ZERO to be a 
little more comforting. 
But who knows, maybe 
the Mayans knew their 
particle physics long 
before Einstein realized 
that E = MC Hammer. 

Perhaps what is most 
amazing about all these 
predictions is the degree 
of accuracy that 
these End-of-Worlder 
wackos claim. Harry 
Camping, for instance, had calculated the exact 
time (6 pm) that the world would end on May 21 
in 2011. 

Along these lines, perhaps in future (assuming 
we have one), these end-of-worlders could channel 
their powers of prognostication for something 
much more practical for humanity –like 
predicting the exact time the Cable repairman 
will show up. 

So relax folks. Even the feds have spoken up on 
the Mayan prophesy, declaring in a formal announcement 
that the world will not end in 2012. 
And knowing how we all trust our leaders, isn’t 
that reassuring?

(Thomas' features and columns have appeared in 
more than 250 magazines and newspapers, including 
the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago 
Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, 
and Christian Science Monitor. He can be 
reached at