Friday, November 26, 2010

Socialist Agenda

Well, now it's official. Glennnn Beck was right: President Obama, in his Nazi-socialist-communist-America-hating-Kenyomuslim way, is wrecking capitalism. As planned, no doubt, in Bill Ayers' basement fortress:

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms.

The government does not adjust the numbers for inflation, in part because these corporate profits can be affected by pricing changes from all over the world and because the government does not have a price index for individual companies. The next-highest annual corporate profits level on record was in the third quarter of 2006, when they were $1.655 trillion.

Since the obvious question has been answered, what with the above, General Motors, and all, here's my remaining one, and it's to the teabaggers and their favorite (aside from birtherism, Reaganovoodoo economics, and re-writing the Constitution) theme: what is a more glaring example of "income redistribution" than what's happened over the last decade?

WASHINGTON — The recession seems to be socking Americans in the heart as well as the wallet: Marriages have hit an all-time low while pleas for food stamps have reached a record high and the gap between rich and poor has grown to its widest ever....

....Marriages have been declining for years due to rising divorce, more unmarried couples living together and increased job prospects for women. But sociologists say younger people are also now increasingly choosing to delay marriage as they struggle to find work and resist making long-term commitments.

In dollar terms, the rich are still getting richer, and the poor are falling further behind them.

The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its largest margin ever, a stark divide as Democrats and Republicans spar over whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, the data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.

Seriously: this is income redistribution of the most perverse sort, of the sort that leads countries to collapse. By definition, ANY tax change leads to redistribution of income; and let's agree that there's no formula which would be considered fair by everyone. Nevertheless, the current situation, deriving in large part from the Bush tax cuts, seems untenable in anything but a non-democratic society, one in which the upper crust ignores the needs of everyone else, except to the extent necessary to keep them alive and productive enough to provide the labor force they require. It's the sort of imbalance that in past times led to tumbrels, knitting, and baskets of heads.

Not now. Today, the people most adversely affected, blinded by constant news distortion, astroturfing, and the baiting of fear and hatred, are demonstrating in favor of the very kind of economic unfairness that, even in the darkest of ages, has led such people to rise up in their own defense. Now, they threaten violence in order to preserve the system that is grinding them into dust.

I mean, yeah, okay: they don't like having a black guy in the white house; they hate immigration, they're convinced the black guy is coming for their guns. But the tax thing, the health care thing, regulating banks? Really? They'd rather destroy their own futures than acknowledge the lies that Fox "news" and the RWS™ are deliberately feeding them; they'd consider an end to Obama worth the price, even if the price is the end of America.

How strange are the times in which we live. How disconnected from reality and from their own interests are those enabling the destruction to continue. Really and truly, it's absolutely remarkable, and entirely incomprehensible.


  1. I think that part of the reason that the working class are so willing to buy into the "Tax Cuts for the Rich means for jobs for us" meme is that in the United States we have been pummeled from birth that in America everyone can be rich if we just work hard enough. So, if we support the rich now in their fight against taxes, then not only will they like us more now but then when we ourselves are rich we will be keeping more of our wealth.

    We "pre-class" ourselves with the wealthy as if an egalitarian society has already been achieved.

  2. I think you're right, Mike; that must be a significant part of it. The requirement to make sense has long since been eliminated from public thought.

  3. Well said. This worries me more than anything else in the US now. The more disenfranchised, religious and uneducated these people become, the more passionate they become about 'capitalism', 'Christianity', immigration, race and so on. At some point the trend might become irreversible, if it hasn't already.

    As in Orwell's Politics and Language, the words 'capitalism' and 'Christian' and so on are molded by the powerful. Adam Smith had no illusions about capitalism's ability to police itself: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." Yet we are to believe that any resistance to such things is 'socialist'.

    The more resistance we have to social mobility, the less often the cream will rise to the top, and we will continue to lose ground against other nations.

    (Sam Spade realizes that he sounds like a freshman in a women's studies class, and apologizes. Shut up, Frank.)

  4. Ok, lets assume for a moment that your income equality model is realized.

    What happens to the skilled labor force when many decide to skip the years of training and instead simply take unskilled jobs since the sacrifice is no longer worth the reward?

    What happens to the US when entrepreneurial spirit decreases secondary to increasing tax burden?

    What happens when wealthy corporations fill the voids left by the small businesses as their owners retire and people choose to take a government job rather than create a small business?

    If we pay our unskilled labor force at such high levels, how can our businesses be competitive with other growing countries that don't provide their labor forces with the same luxuries?

    How can a socialist healthcare system survive as our population becomes "top heavy" (i.e. more old people using funds than young people paying taxes into the system)?

    How can our social security system survive the same demographics?

    okay, thats enough for now.


  5. "Income equality?????!!!!!!" Who said that? Not me. I'm talking about returning tax rates on the wealthiest 2% to the rates they were before Bush. It's actually a pretty modest increase. It was also, you might recall, a time when the entrepreneurial spirit was at an all-time high (I'd say.)

    So you're simply way off base in your presumption, as well as your dire view of the result. We're not talking about returning to the 50% rates of Reagan or the 90% rates of Eisenhower.

    What "such a high level" of pay have I discussed, ever, for unskilled labor?

    Really, PT, you're just making stuff up regarding my views, and making completely unsupportable claims about the results of the Obama tax plan (assuming he doesn't cave to the Rs, which he probably will.) We've had rates like that (except that they were also higher on the "middle class," which they won't be under the "plan," and things were fine. The rich still got richer.

    Get some sleep, man. Your eyes must be getting blurred. You're seeing things that aren't there.

  6. Okay, I'm more well rested today. Lets chalk up my last post to hyperbole and instead look at real numbers:

    Breakdown of expected tax revenue's created by Obama's tax hikes on those making >250K:

    US: 300,000,000 people

    Top 1.5% (>250K): 4,500,000 people

    Total Income Earned by Top 1.5% assuming average of 1 mil/year income: $4,500,000,000,000

    4,500,000,000,000 x 5% (capital gains tax increase) = $225,000,000,000 increased tax revenue

    $225,000,000,000 / 300,000,000 people = $750/person


    Will $750/person really be that beneficial? I'm surprised your not calling for even higher taxes on the top 1.5%, since the return is pretty meager.

    Will the benefit be nullified by less small business job creation (since their money is going to taxes rather than expanding their business or capital investment?

    Will the ultra rich simply employ expensive tax attorneys to utilize tax loopholes to hide their incomes/assets, thus decreasing the increased revenues?

    I'm not convinced that the soft costs of increased taxation are outweighed by the benefit of ~$750 being redistributed to everyone.

    I also would prefer tax increases to be placed mainly on capital gains rather than on earned income because the latter is often earned by mostly labor while the former (per my post in your blog a few days ago) is often "earned" through the labor of others via investments (i.e. legalized gambling on wall street).


    p.s. Here is a good tax calculating website that compares Dem vs Repub vs Bush vs Obama Tax Plans.

  7. $750. People are up in arms over that? What better example of selfishness could there be.

    You keep using loaded terms like "income redistribution," which, as we've seen, applies to any change in tax structure, up or down. I'd call it, oh, paying for roads, schools, military, meat inspections, maybe even health care. You know, stuff that keeps the roads smooth enough for a Beemer or a Mercedes; that provides workers for the masters of the universe to exploit, keeps them alive long enough to support the bosses yacht and homes (how many does John McPOW have, again?)

    You're right that I'd be for a little higher rates, and even maybe raising rates a little on more middling people, like me. (I assume you must be making more than $500 K to be as exercised about it as you are.)

    Either we're about "every man for himself" (I don't include women, because the theocrats believe they should stay home) or it's "we remain strong by providing some services and governance." Being a non-believer, I guess I'm a little more Jesus-like. And I mean that non-ironically. It seems to be a general truth.

    Your point about capital gains vs income is a good one, worthy of debate by people more knowledgeable than I am. Some say it has a chilling effect on investment which adversely affects, y'know, entrepreneurship. Once again, there's a balance point somewhere.

    Unfortunately, we've descended into political paralysis on such matters, where one side is absolutely unwilling to budge, for purely political reasons; and the other, while generally guilty of falling all over themselves to compromise, havent' the will to take a stand when things get too far out of whack.

    You decide which side is which. Either way, we're screwed.

  8. How is it "selfishness"? The top 2% of income earners have very little effect on electing our leaders. The bottom 98% pulled the lever for the guys that would leave the tax rates as they are. Those crazy Americans don't want other people's money.

    As for "masters of the universe" exploiting workers; if union benefits, pension, and guaranteed retirement age are "exploitation", then the working man's interests are well represented (as they should be).

    You hate the "F-you, I've got mine attitude", but where's the check-and-balance system for those receiving the benefits from progressive taxes? If there was a way to ensure that people were receiving benefits commensurate with the effort they've put forth, many Americans would be more amenable to wealth redistribution. As it is, social programs are too often abused and will continue to be if managed by the federal government. Perhaps state run or even county run social programs could be more fairly run? Probably not with our legal system, but it's a thought.

    As for your constant analogies to being "Jesus-like", Jesus has been known to have a bit of a surgeon-like wit. Take Matthew 25 for example. Jesus called the non-productive servant (i.e. surgical resident) "achreios", which is Greek for unprofitable/lazy/useless/shiftless because he didn't invest or work hard. Jesus also cured blindness and leprosy, which is a bit surgeon-ish. His complication rate may have even been close to as good as yours! Maybe you two would have gotten along?



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