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Subject: Tax warfare

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 09/12/11 at 8:47 am

Another debate on C-SPAN this morning on how we should reform the tax code brought forth the usual class resentments.

There is the delusion among middle class people that they are rich or will become rich.  Upward social mobility in America is at a low ebb.  Reaganomics did not facilitate more wealth among those struggling to get it.  Supply side economics, as was intended by its designers, helped those already financially privileged to get even richer.  The gap between the super rich minority and the struggling majority is greater than it has been since 1928.

I observed the age of Rush Limbaugh and FOX News emerge with a new theology.  I never coined a term for it, but it is worship of the rich.  It is a perversion of the Calvinist philosophy that prosperity in life indicates God's grace.  Enter Ayn Rand.  The new religion decreed the rich are themselves gods.  Under the tutelage of Milton Friedman, the Republican party with Ronald Reagan as its pope spoke of markets and wealth in mystical terms.  In the minds of millions today it is not merely class warfare to question the plutocracy, but it is sacrilege. 

Philosophers such as Ayn Rand (objectivist) and Herbert Spencer (positivist, classical liberal) acted as propagandists for the plutocracy in declaring the world's poor not merely to be out of reach of God's grace, but vile sinners undeserving of God's grace.  Rand was not an atheist, of course, she  pedaled capitalism as an infallible religious doctrine -- it cannot fail, it can only be failed.

Thus, I hear old folks on social security benefits declare their gratitude to the rich for giving them the job they lost five years ago while not being able to understand some rich people got rich by destroying what little wealth poor and middle class people had accumulated (via outsourcing, union-busting, and crooked financial instruments). 

I hear professionals living comfortably boast of their 80 hour work weeks and their six figure salaries under the meme that the poor are surly leeches who just don't want to work as hard as they.  Millions of people do not have brains wired to become software designers, public accountants, executive managers, or neurosurgeons.  The narcissistic professionals speak here of the lumpen middle class who have been rendered working poor by destructive economic policies our culture has come to revere over the past 30 years.

The greatest misconception is the belief that people on relief do not want to work.  There are anecdotes, many anecdotes, but anecdotes confound a more complex truth.  There are a handful of people who would choose a $700 per month disability claim over a secure living wage job with benefits...but not many.  From my experience, people on disability or transitional assistance have been drummed out of the workforce because businesses have a surplus of labor and no patience for accommodating people whose minds don't conform to the intolerant rigors of business, or who require care for their children while they are on the job, or who lack the educational credentials to meet the stringent demands of our pathologically competitive economy.

The kicker is the longer you are out of the work force, the longer you are on unemployment, disability, or transitional assistance, the more businesses discriminate against you.  The double kicker is the paucity of affordable training programs that will lead to a secure living wage job.  I hear people say the unemployed and the poor should go back to school.  I also hear from the unemployed and the poor that they need more education.  Try getting a student loan as a 40-year-old with a bad credit rating.  Try carrying 15 credits in school with a job at Wal-Mart and four kids to feed.  You might get help through the state to get a certificate as a welder or a truck driver, but then you must enter a workforce with 9.2% unemployment competing with welders and truck drivers with 30 years experience who are now damn glad to work for $12 an hour.

One gentleman this morning cited a statistic that the top 5% of taxpayers pay 58% of all the income taxes.  What should they pay 5%?  It doesn't make sense.  However, the pathological thinking fed to us by the right-wing assumes the playing field is even and everybody starts the race at the same gun.  Obviously, we don't.  I don't say the rich should "pay their fair share."  I say they must pay what is necessary to maintain a safe and prosperous nation.  The plutocratic propagandist keep telling us taxation is confiscation.  Taxation punishes success.  Taxation takes from the deserving and gives to the undeserving.  As long as we allow this to be the dominant meme in discussion of taxes, we will never be able to implement any tax code using realistic, mature, or constructive thought.


Subject: Re: Tax warfare

Written By: Don Carlos on 09/12/11 at 10:44 am

Thanks Max, and karma

Subject: Re: Tax warfare

Written By: MrCleveland on 09/12/11 at 3:06 pm

I blame Woody Wilson for this...he formed The Income Tax almost 100 years ago...and NEVER Repealed it!

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