letter to the editor The undivided pie: an argument against failed metaphors

By: Louis De Gruy – Columnist

Editors note: This piece is a response to an issue six article, “The corporate tax: an argument for reduced government.”

Very often the talk about pies is at the forefront of a conversation.

This should come as no surprise, as pies are very important when making up a contradictory metaphor about taxation and collective wealth.

Despite the refreshing lecture on how a business is able to offset higher expenses and the profound insight that a house, despite its best attempts, is prohibited from making its own mortgage payments, I take offense to some claims made in a previous issue’s argument against corporate taxes.

No one is surprised to learn that businesses pass their expenses to their customers. In fact, nobody should really need to be taught this at the college level. That’s how a market economy works.

There seemed to be a major misconception, or maybe an outright avoidance of the truth, in issue six’s argument. Actually, you know what: I’m not going to compliment it by calling it an argument. From here on out, I’ll call it the Piece of Whit, as it is my vain hope that the article was satirical.

That Piece of Whit seemed to say that a large-scale corporation is more capable than the federal government to provide for the general well-being of the people. To an extent, I agree.

I’ve been to the cafeteria in the White House and can confirm the chicken salad is awful.

Reducing the federal government’s tax base (making it “smaller”) diminishes its ability to enforce regulations and laws that protect its constituents.

The basic assumption that a large bureaucracy with the purpose of sucking up as much money as possible (i.e., a corporation) serves the public better when it is unregulated defies everything we know about human nature. Many businesses will try to improve their bottom line no matter what the outcome may be. We saw this in the second half of the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century, when lack of regulation caused booms and busts that culminated in the Great Depression.

We don’t even need to look that far back in history to see what decreased corporate regulation can do to an economy. The world is still dealing with the aftershocks of the recession that began in 2007, which most economists attribute to decreased regulation of financial institutions.

So I ask, who is going to be the watchdog when the Piece of Whit’s dreams come true and the federal government no longer has the ability to keep powerful institutions in check?

No one can stand against such an entity, so we need a strong government to help protect the American people. The American people can keep the government in line through civic action, while the government keeps the public protected through legal action.