In my local paper there was a letter to the editor yesterday. I found it interesting. It said, mostly:
For all those who think we could solve our deficit problem if only the "rich" would pay their "fair share," here are some cold, hard numbers for you.
In 2009, 235,413 people filed tax returns reporting $1 million or more in income. In aggregate, those people earned $726.9 billion. If they had been taxed at 100 percent, it would only have covered about half of that year's $1.4 trillion deficit.
So let's just be honest about this: If you want to punish the wealthy for being too successful by taking more of their money away -- if that would somehow make you feel better -- just say so. But stop pretending that we can solve our massive deficit problem by "taxing the rich," because all of the rich people put together don't earn enough money for that, even if we took all of it. The math just doesn't work.
Don't buy into the Big Lie.
Don't buy into the Big Lie, says he, hitting all the disingenuous talking points. Lies, some would call them. Because who the hell has proposed taxing the rich at that rate? More importantly, who has claimed that balancing the budget can be done only by raising taxes on the wealthy? Anyone? But it's an "argument" the right wingers like to make, thinking they've discovered the concept of debate (it's shown up in comments here, too). It's like infants discovering the rhythm of conversation, producing gibberish in delight.
"Punish the wealthy," he sneers, using the fabrication du jour. Yes, there's talk of returning to the tax rates of ten years ago, before Bush blew up a balanced budget. But by what definition is that "punishment?" The economy was soaring, the rich were flourishing, and their tax rates were only about three points higher than now. To take a position that the Bush cuts were reckless and damaging is simply to be factual. To suggest eliminating them is to promote a return to the good times; times when few had anything about which to complain; a time when we were paying down our debt. Someone show me the punishment part. Someone make the case that it's in any way about resenting the successful. What it's about is balance.
The letter precisely reflects (regurgitates) the nonsense that's nonstop on Fox "news" and the rest of the ubiquitous right-wing propaganda network. That it's patently, demonstrably wrong on every level has no bearing on the extent to which it's swallowed whole, and passed on, undigested, in the manner by which most other undigested matter re-enters the world.