We’ve watched repeatedly as the conservative right sheds concern for the “least of these” to improve the lives of wealthy Americans. Like any other financial bill making its way through Congress, there are a few items that we should take note of in the “fiscal cliff bill” that reveal the true powers of our society. Spoiler alert: It’s not the people.
Given the GOP’s close ties to conservative evangelicalism and the overall religious bent of those in political offices, financial decisions that impact our community are closely tied to our religious ethics.
As you work your way through the fiscal cliff bill, it is not difficult to see the compromises made by each side of the senate, but you’d be surprised by some of the winners of the bill that result from these partisan compromises.
You’re probably already aware of the extension of the Bush tax cuts for household incomes under $450,000, but how about the $9 billion in tax breaks to multinational companies to compete overseas? According to a report from Dan Eggen, companies like JP Morgan and GE receive breaks for certain types of overseas business (read job creating overseas). It’s not a coincidence that they also spend a great deal of time and money lobbying for this lucrative tax incentive.
We’ve come to expect big business and Wall Street to insert itself in financial policy and to receive special treatment, so that one probably didn’t catch you off guard. But how about NASCAR?
The fiscal cliff bill extends tax breaks for NASCAR to build new racetracks to compete with theme parks. This inclusion is expected to cost more than $40 million this year.
Another $75 million will subsidize Hollywood film industry when they film %75 of a movie on US soil.
Almost $550 million will be taxed on rum this year, and then the money will be returned to the rum industry in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Seriously.
All of this money looks suspicious when conservative congress members fight to keep tax breaks for the wealthy, NASCAR and JP Morgan. Then, to cover for the big business, they toss under the bus those who really need it: those in poverty, seniors, unemployed, underemployed, etc.
Our Christian call is to care for these people in need that Jesus calls “the least of these,” so why do so many support the policies and political figures working to do them harm?