By Thom Hartmann
Last week, thousands of fast food workers from across the country walked off their jobs to demand a living wage of $15 an hour. Ever since, the Republican talking point machine has been running on all cylinders.
According to pundits on the right, giving fast food workers or any other workers, for that matter, a $7 or $8 bump to their hourly wages would cut so much into the bottom lines of “job-creators” that business owners would have to either pass the cost of a living-wage onto consumers or simply stop hiring new workers altogether.
But lost among all the noise on the right is one very, very important point: getting tax preferences and limitations on liability to do business in the United States is a privilege, not a right. It’s a privilege that we as a society offer to budding entrepreneurs and big business alike in exchange for goods, services, and jobs.
Look at it this way: when someone opens up a business, they’re entitled to all sorts of special tax breaks that most people can’t get. They can write off fancy meals; they can write off nights stayed at five-star hotels; they can write off airfare to anywhere in the world they do business, or even might do business; and they can even write off any legal expenses they incur when they get busted for breaking the law. Drug dealers who push pot can’t write off their lawyer’s fees, but drug dealers at Big Pharma, even when they lie and break the law in ways that kill people, can – all because they’re incorporated.