Friday, January 9, 2009
Where It Is
Just a thought: in this economy, as millions are losing their jobs and millions more are taking pay cuts or working reduced hours, those who continue to retain large incomes are, by comparison, even more flush (not to mention fortunate) than a year ago. Money is scarce, prices are down. Bargains are out there, for them as has.
So. One could argue (and, by golly, I am) that getting rid of the bushian tax cuts for the wealthy makes even more sense now, urgently. De facto, the rich are even richer than they were. How much feeding at the trough of ill fortune do they need?
As he promised, Barack Obama is playing it down the middle, trying to get broad consensus even at the expense of some supporters. He still plans significant tax cuts to most people, an idea my warmth for which is luke, depending on the final details. (In that, it would appear, I'm not alone.) But he's also, evidently, planning to hold off on re-establishing pre-disaster tax rates for those making over 250K. To me, the only argument in his favor is gaining a few Republican votes. I don't discount that; and Obama's commitment to reaching out is something that drew me to him (even as most detractors failed to see it, or willfully ignored it.) Still, the deficit handed to him by Bush is already 1.2 trillion -- a number that would scare the shit out of me, except that it's beyond comprehension. And that's BEFORE any Obama plan.
There are indications that Obama will be looking at Social Security and Medicare as areas for savings. It's ballsy. And, as I've said many times, necessary. Probably doomed, too. Yet, given future projections, it's the responsible thing to do, and will likely alarm the left more than the right (until, perhaps, it comes down to indexing benefits for the wealthy! Also the right thing.)
But there's an obvious need for balance. The unneeded and overly generous tax cuts of Bush are a large part of why we're where we are. There's only so far one ought to go to gain favor with those whose ideas torpedoed the boat in the first place, and then threw an anchor to those in the water. People who continue to make a quarter million bucks a year are doing very well indeed: better than ever. (Might that have been the whole point?) Take away a little of it (and, really, it IS comparatively little), and they'll STILL be way better off than they were. And most assuredly better than everyone else. (Okay, yeah, like the rest of us lots of them must have lost money in the market. But having a big income makes it a hell of a lot easier to take. I was never at the 250K mark, but I was working during the last three recessions and the pay check eased a lot of worry.)
Hey, Rush? Sean? Bill? Mitch? Newt? Patriots of the first order?