Growth of idle capital and this valley

It’s no secret that last year’s tax bill enabled corporations to enrich themselves by buying back their stock and returning their off-shore cash to the U.S. at a special repatriation tax rate while the rest of us made do with a few extra dollars in our paychecks. Apple, for example, agreed to return its $252 billion in off-shore cash but instead of investing in American workers, it used $100 billion to buy back stock and enrich shareholders.

Now, a report from the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation finds that the new deductions for pass-through businesses mostly benefits the top 1 percent of earners in the U.S. The report tells us that people making over $1 million will reap 52.4 percent of the pass-through deduction’s benefits, while those making $100,000 or less will get just 7.5 percent of the benefit.

It’s not news that the rich keep getting richer, and they’re not sharing much beyond a token bonus here and there while expecting us to grovel for the low-wage jobs that keep their companies afloat. Journalist David Cay Johnston illustrates their boundless greed, saying, “IRS data suggests that, globally, U.S. non-financial companies hold at least three times more cash and other liquid assets than the Federal Reserve reports, idle money that could be creating jobs, funding dividends or even paying a stiff federal penalty tax for hoarding corporate cash.”

In related non-news, Nevada continues to give away taxpayer money to the wealthiest of corporations like Apple and Tesla, while we suffer from soaring housing prices and gridlocked roads. And our politicians continue to merrily approve new development and are now considering trading away our public lands for the opportunity to attract even more growth.

A few candidates are sounding a bit of alarm about income inequality and growth. In a recent column in the Reno Gazette Journal, Democratic candidate for the Washoe County Commission Greg Smith argued that local leaders should focus “on building an economy that doesn’t bury working people.”

“ If elected officials are not careful, we could end up on the eve of the next recession in an economy of low wages and high costs, and the results could be disastrous,” he wrote.

On Facebook, Smith’s would-be constituents are way ahead of him, with many expressing their views about the disaster that’s already arrived.

One person wrote, “You say we need to attract even more businesses to our area but isn’t that what has caused the cost of living in the area to go up in the first place? How would attracting even more new businesses create ’an economy that works for everyone’ if that’s what got us into this position in the first place?” Another cited the plight of those on a fixed income who are falling down the ladder into homelessness, unable to pay their rising rents. Others lamented the lack of water, transportation infrastructure, and impact fees from developers to help the community support all of the new residents.

One person suggested we look at Salt Lake City, an area that has “seen the same amazing job growth without skyrocketing costs by being aggressive in infrastructure and housing investments. It does no good to have a good paying job if you have no home to live in and no way to easily get to and from work.”

By the way, have you tried to hire a plumber lately? I recently discovered my local plumber wasn’t available for weeks due to the demand from all the “new people” moving into old houses with delayed maintenance.

Voters are getting angry as the quality of life in the Truckee Meadows declines thanks to unbridled growth, when what we really want are good schools, affordable housing, uncrowded roads, and a plumber when you need one.