I’ve noted time and time again that a change has occurred in America that is quite unsettling. The dynamic shift that concerns me is the alignment of big business and big government interests against those of small businesses and individuals. Now, maybe this has always existed, but I don’t think so – at least not to the level that is currently evident.
It used to be that government interests (tax collection and regulation) were contrary to the majority of business and individual interests, but this has now changed. What has emerged is a return to days of old (i.e. landed aristocracy and ruling monarchs indenturing the masses and suppressing entrepreneurship). Consider that “too big to fail” businesses are now encouraging increased taxation and regulation that will:
- stifle competition from upstarts with regulatory barriers to entry
- burden potential challengers with profit draining regulation
- create new revenue streams by artificially increasing costs of individuals (think cap and trade)
The latest evidence of this trend is the new compliance focus of the IRS:
A new study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows that despite a growing federal deficit, IRS audit efforts aimed at the nation’s largest corporations have precipitously declined in the last few years and now are at an all time low.
According to Dean Zerbe, alliantgroup National Managing Director and former Tax Counsel on the Senate Finance Committee, “As if April 15th isn’t frightening enough for small business owners, now comes news that the IRS has increased audit hours for small and medium businesses by 30% over the last five years, while at the same time decreasing the number of hours spent auditing large corporations by 33%.”
Keep in mind, that taxpayer bailouts went to the largest of corporations. Those same corporations are now reaping the rewards of free money:
For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that’s the second largest in the list’s 56-year history, approaching the increase in the robust recovery of 2003.
Yet, this taxpayer investment into corporate profits has nothing to do with creating jobs for Mr. and Mrs. Taxpaying America. In fact, the opposite has held true:
The number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped for the second week in a row, according to government data released Thursday.
There were 484,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 10, up 24,000 from an unrevised 460,000 the previous week, according to the Labor Department’s weekly report.
And, it’s not just jobs that continue to disappear. Those losing their homes also continues to increase:
In the first three months of 2010 foreclosure filings rose 7%, to more than 930,000, compared with the previous quarter, according to the online foreclosure marketing firm RealtyTrac. That is a 16% jump over the first three months of 2009.
Foreclosures started off the first quarter with modest gains but spiked in March to a record 367,000 filings. Plus, nearly 258,000 of those filings were for bank repossessions, the highest quarterly total RealtyTrac has ever reported.
This is not good for America.