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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Can’t Go Liquid

The new Republican tax bill has a provision that will allow companies to write off the full cost of new buildings and equipment. That’s a clear attempt to tie capital to land. And there are dozens of provisions like that, attempting to bring some solidity into the liquid. This is a big country, it’s not Estonia, it can’t get on going fully liquid right now.

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17 thoughts on “Can’t Go Liquid

  1. Demotrash on said:

    Would nice if they hadn’t thrown in dumb shit like tax cuts for the rich (trickle down!) and a repeal of the individual mandate for the ACA. I’m not against corporate tax cuts or what you’re describing, but this bill blows a hole in the budget that they’re planning on filling with cuts to to Medicare and social security. That seems to be Paul Ryan’s main motivation for passing this bill; he can finally achieve his dream of destroying the welfare state. As usual, the nation state and the American people are the losers.

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    • The main question is, if it’s not this, then what? It’s not a rhetorical question. The only two other options that are being advanced are “Liquid capitalism what? I’m not noticing it” and “liquid capitalism is cool. And if you don’t get it, you are racistsexist.”

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      • “if it’s not this, then what?”

        At this stage of socio-economic-political development people can’t say what they want, only what they don’t want (and that only in simple knee jerk reaction terms).

        One problem is that people that can possibly think of different options are either not doing so or only doing so in abtruse indirect ways that don’t mean anything to most people.

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        • I think people intuitively do know even if they’ve never heard the term “liquid capital.” I think they know something is not right and are angry that nobody names the source of the angst. This is why I’m annoyed with Obama who could easily use his position to talk to the people who like and trust him and not only go to Wall Street with his speeches. It doesn’t have to be an either or thing. He could do both things.

          It can be done. I don’t for a second believe that people are stupid and won’t understand.

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      • Demotrash on said:

        There are Democrats who are open to corporate tax cuts, even though they don’t approve of this bill. I know Tim Ryan and Doug Jones fall in this category. Beyond that though, you’re right, we have nothing except a commitment to the welfare state. That includes me, I don’t know what the hell we should do. Ohio Dems like Brown and Ryan are interested in this question, but I’m not seeing it much in other states.

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        • Welfare state is a feature of a strong nation-state. If the nation-state is weakened, the welfare state fades out of existence. This simple statement would be a good way to start this discussion, in my opinion.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    The problem with these favorable terms is there is no clawback mechanism and no standard of success these large corporations must meet to get or retain these benefits. It’s all carrot and no stick.

    The ostensible reason for giving these corporations massive benefits is that they provide good jobs for people and inject capital in somehow. In other words there’s a net gain to the state instead of a net loss. If there’s no net financial gain, then the corporation must provide significant psychological benefits by being there.

    By this rubric for example, UPMC and various sports teams fit and corporations such as Walmart do not. UPMC employs a lot of people full time. Various sports teams encourage attachment to the city they’re in and the nation. Walmart has <a href=’https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart-workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance/#63432edb720b”>a significant chunk of employees who are on welfare or who have some sort of state assistance. This is an expensive proposition for what amounts to adult daycare.

    Maybe I don’t read enough sources, but I do not see this addressed. It’s either “Give ALL tax breaks to corporations forever because it’s good” or “Giving money to corporations is evil!” Also when people talk about corporations and tax breaks they talk about certain very large prominent ones. Most people are employed by small businesses which employ less than 500 people. I do not see discussion of the effects of giving those particular businesses tax breaks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shakti on said:

    If Walmart were to fire all its employees, do you think they’d require more or less state assistance? And this is not even touching on the social and psychological aspects of permanent redundancy which is a lot worse than even a crappy job at Walmart.

    Management theory loves to tout the usefulness of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs in getting more productivity and less turnover out of human beings. The first rung of the ladder is survival. If you cannot say of a job “at least this pays my bills,” or “at least I don’t need welfare” what is the psychological benefit? Remember these jobs are “low skill”, promise no advancement or security and make it clear the worker is disposable. How are the social and psychological aspects of redundancy are avoided for the person who works at Walmart and then goes to buy groceries with food stamps? There is no respect for such a person. The vaunted coal mining jobs were dangerous, monotonous and sucked but they provided the psychological benefit of “At least I’m supporting myself and my family.”

    “At least it gets me out of the house and in contact with other human beings” is a function that can amply be filled by many other activities.

    For the time being robots do not buy Walmart or Amazon products.

    All I’m suggesting is that states should be really clear on what benefits they expect to see in exchange for these concessions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the difference between the working poor and the declasse. I highly recommend Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives that discusses the ways in which modernity has disposed of the “human waste” it abundantly produces. I once assigned it in class but the students couldn’t get over the supposed coldness of naming the problem and using the expression “human waste” to refer to people. I tried explaining that it was a rhetorical device aimed at calling attention to the cruelty of the situation but it didn’t work.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stringer Bell on said:

    In a shocking plot twist, most companies say they’ll use the tax savings for stock repurchases, rather than investing in the nation state.

    https://theintercept.com/2017/12/18/tax-bill-corporate-rate-stock-buyback/

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    • This is what they are intended for. The idea that people will reinvest in the nation-state is a fantasy, the way trickle-down theory was.

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      • Individuals can’t invest in the nation-state. It’s not a company. Although that’s what it will turn into at the end of the process.

        The goal of the tax plan is to incentivize companies and people to stick around and not move operations to Estonia or wherever. Yes, it’s sad and pathetic that it has to be done. But once again, what’s the alternative?

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        • Stringer Bell on said:

          “The goal of the tax plan is to incentivize companies and people to stick around and not move operations to Estonia or wherever.”

          I disagree. The goal of the tax plan is the upward distribution of wealth to the richest people in society. Note that both the obamacare repeal and the tax plan are massively unpopular even among republican voters, but that has not deterred the republican party. There are talks of republicans retiring after 2018 (Paul Ryan, most notably) because they know what they’ve done is indefensible, and they’d rather not stand for election to face their constituents. Which is not a problem for them, as they can easily live off from all the money they’ve made from this tax plan (and in their future professions as lobbyists).

          And they’re brazen enough to talk about deficits that’ll accrue from their own policies, which they’ll ‘solve’ in 2018 by cutting social programs.

          You can’t gut the machinery of the state and claim that it is in the service of protecting the nation state.

          Liked by 1 person

          • They are not claiming it. Which is why the plan is unpopular. Nobody is deigning to explain what is going on to people. Who knows, maybe it’s useless to try to explain anyway. And there’s no political capital to be won by bearing bad news.

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        • Stringer Bell on said:

          This is a party that doesn’t even deign to provide clean drinking water to its citizens. Yeah, they really care about preserving the nation state.

          Liked by 1 person

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