Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why Obama Is Right - Part Two

The following debate began after I posted this comment on Facebook regarding the Bernie Sanders filibuster.

Bernie Sanders is absolutely right in denouncing all efforts to lower taxes on the rich as being based solely on greed (see video in the comment section). That said, Barack Obama got an economic stimulus package in return for his handout to the wealthy that will ultimately vindicate his decision.

The debate...

Matthew Rozsa

Kevin Reagan

Matthew Rozsa
The first article pulls off the impressive feat of fatally undermining its own assertions within its opening three paragraphs. Because its definition of the central tenets of liberal economic philosophy is woefully inaccurate, it's logically impossible for any critique it subsequently makes of that ideology to be valid.

1) I resent Rush Limbaugh's argument on the grounds of the class warfare in which he is engaged. After all, isn't it interesting that it's socially acceptable today to attack people who fall in the lower 50% of wage earners (as he does with his smug assumption that they're in that situation because they "don't want to continue improving their lives") but considered "class warfare" to speak even the slightest ill word of rich people who want to cut taxes on themselves?

2) Moral objections aside, his article makes a point of scrupulously avoiding the one point which blows its assertions to smithereens - i.e., the fact that the wealthy can afford to pay a higher percentage in taxes on their top earnings then can the poor. Indeed, back when Eisenhower was president, the wealthy paid a whopping 91% on top earnings; even during that dyed-in-the-wool pinko Richard Nixon, they still paid 70% on top earnings; it wasn't until Bill Clinton that the amount dipped below 40% (39.6% to be exact) until George W. Bush pushed it down to its current level of 35%.

All of this matters because, the incessant whining of plutocrats notwithstanding, it is possible to have tax rates imposed on them that are nearly TRIPLE what they are today and still (a) have a large class of wealthy Americans who are more than fairly compensated for their innovation and hard work (an assertion you can only disprove if you try to argue that the rich suffered immensely during the 1950s) and (b) adequately fund the government's needs, a fact proven by the manner in which the budget deficit exploded once tax rates on the people who could most afford to provide it with the revenue it needed (i.e., the people with the most money) began to be dropped under Ronald Reagan.

In short, liberals do not want to end a society in which people can reap the rewards of their hard work and innovation. All we want is... well, you can read what we want right here, in Franklin Roosevelt's Economic Bill of Rights ( Oh, and we also want the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, something that many of them are unwilling to do.

Kevin Reagan
The first article is not defining the central tenets of liberal economic philosophy. It's describing the class warfare attacks against American taxpayers in which Liberals engage routinely.

I don't see anywhere in the Limbaugh article where he says that the bottom half "don't want to continue improving their lives." Regardless, of course the wealthy can afford to pay a higher percentage on their earnings than the poor. And they do. By a LOT. So no, liberals do not want to end a society in which people can reap the rewards of their hard work and innovation. They just want to make doing so as hard and as painful as possible by taking away an increasingly ridiculous percentage of what people earn and indirectly and directly giving it to people who are less productive economically.

Matthew Rozsa
‎1) First, it's clearly intending to describe liberal economic philosophy, since the tenets it outlines involve policy goals, not political tactics.

2) "The top 50% were those individuals or couples filing jointly who earned $29,019 and up in 2003. (The top 1% earned $295,495-plus.) Americans who want to are continuing to improve their lives, and those who don't want to, aren't."

Forgive me for paraphrasing him.

3) Was it "as hard and as painful as possible" to reap the rewards of innovation and hard work in the 1950s? Do we recall the halcyon days of the 1960s economic boom as being one in which the rich were being ripped off on a regular basis?

4) How are people who aren't in the top 1% of wage earner "less productive" economically? Do you really think that millionaires could grow their own food, sew their own clothes, move their own garbage to dumps, pave their own roads, and in short provide all of the goods and services which they consume without the working class?

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