Friday, April 17, 2009

Also, the Idiot's Guide to Idiotic Tax Protesters

Sometimes J-Fav economic Bob Reich (a Clinton-era economic official who often says sensible things but seems to have -- essentially admitted in his own book -- lacked the courage to vigorously oppose idiocy and greed while he's within the political system rather than just a commentator) writes "A Short Citizen's Guide to Kooks, Demagogues, and Right-Wingers On Tax Day" over at his TPM Blog. The thing is really damned good, so here's a large non-consecutive sample to whet your appetite:

1. "Americans pay too much in taxes." Wrong: The United States has the lowest taxes of all developed nations.

2. "The rich pay too much! The top ten percent of income earners pay over 72 percent of all income taxes!" Misleading: The main reason the rich pay such a large percent is they've become so much richer than the bottom 90 percent in recent years. If you look at what they pay as individuals -- the percent of their incomes over and above the highest rate below them -- you'll see a steady decline over the years. When Republican Dwight Eisenhower was president, the marginal rate on the highest earners was 91 percent (after deductions and tax credits, closer to 50 percent)...


4. "Obama is raising your taxes!" Wrong. Obama is cutting taxes for 95 percent of Americans, by about $400 per person a year -- not a whopping tax cut, to be sure, but not a tax increase by any stretch.
6. "We have a patriotic duty to stand up against Washington taxes!" Just the opposite. We have a patriotic duty to pay taxes. As multi-billionaire Warrent Buffett put it, "If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you'll find out how much this talent is going to product in the wrong kind of soil. I will be struggling thirty years later." President Teddy Roosevelt made the case in 1906 when he argued in favor of continuing the inheritance tax. "The man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government."

Hmm... that last bit certainly doesn't sound much like certain self-proclaimed Teddy Roosevelt Republicans.

I swear... American memory has always been short (my favorite example was the Olympics some years ago in Greece, where Americans were surprised there was a not-insignificant amount of dislike for us among the Greek -- they were understandable still pissed we had supported a dictatorship in Greece in the 60s & 70s, i.e. well within living memory, which, darkly amusingly enough, we as an overall country had rather forgotten that and were perplexed by their "anti-Americanism"), but right now we're like a mad-high dude with our "linear memory" completely disrupted -- we can't even remember what happened five minutes ago, especially when that requires some level of cognitive dissonance. Cheeses cristers.

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