27 October 2008

Spreading the wealth.

What the hell is wrong with spreading the wealth? If you're a functionally illiterate moron with no sense of history, then everything. However, if you have any sort of awareness of your responsibility to this nation and to the world, you might take the trouble to acquaint yourself with the way that the United States government and most governments work.

If you pay taxes of any sort, if you drive on government-paid-for roads, if you enjoy the security of the police and fire departments, like streetlights, enjoy national parks, or go to sports events in any one of a number of new ballparks and stadiums financed by local or state governments, then you are actively involved in the time-worn government strategy of spreading the wealth.

What Obama proposes as a tax plan is hardly revolutionary. It's simply a return to a more progressive tax system than we currently have (we currently have a progressive tax system -- but the Bush tax cuts, with their failed trickle-down ideology, put more of the burden on the middle class).

Progressive tax policy is not socialism. I swear, the older I get the more I lack patience for idiots who throw around big words but have no goddamn clue what they're talking about. If you don't know what the hell socialism is, then shut up. It's as ridiculous as if Obama were to come out tomorrow and label McCain a fascist. It would be ludicrous -- unless of course McCain started taking tips from Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales.

Of course, when you're dealing with the moron mentality -- the type of people who with 8 days to go before the election still believe that Obama isn't an American citizen -- then you've got no chance to expect they actually understand the political system they currently live under, let alone have any sort of knowledge of comparative political systems.

Does that sound elitist? If so, then we need some more elitism in this country. As a culture we need to stop giving credence to every asshole that coughs out a turd on Fox News or squirts into a microphone on talk radio. Rush Limbaugh amazingly still has a large listening audience even though he's been squatting over his microphone since October trying to wring something useful out of the thoroughly discredited Obama birth certificate tin foil alien abduction plot.

We need to stop claiming ignorance as a birthright.


Michael said...

There's a big, bright-line difference between that basic function of government - providing public goods - and "spreading the wealth around." I disagree that roads, schools, and police and fire protection are the result of "spreading the wealth." They're public goods provided by the government because there's no easy way to exclude "free riders."

This is in direct contrast to what the Obama tax plan proposes: to redistribute *more* money (through refundable tax credits) to the roughly 33% of Americans who pay no income tax. Or to put it more bluntly, the check these households receive from the IRS each year will get bigger. That doesn't make the tax code more "progressive."

A progressive tax code is one in which the wealthy pay a larger percentage of their income, under the theory that they have more, so they can pay more. Makes perfect sense. But when up to a third of taxpaying households don't pay *any* income tax, cutting them larger checks each April doesn't seem to be the logical next step.

cuff said...

Michael: Thanks for the logical response. The government has provided tax credits in the past for all sorts of things -- home ownership for instance -- and I see Obama's plan as a logical extension of those sorts of programs. It also doesn't hurt that I'm interested in seeing very low income citizens getting more support from our government -- support that's been gutted by nearly thirty years (including the Clinton years) of mean-spirited nickel and diming of social programs.

Michael said...

Granted, it's not like Obama is proposing tax credits out of the blue; there's a long and honored history of the government using them to encourage pet causes. I'm just wondering how far many more tax credits we can sustain - that is, how much of the population not paying income taxes are we willing to tolerate? The marginal effect of Obama's new tax credits will be to increase that number. Everyone should pay *something* in income taxes, if for no other reason that universality and the unity that results. Isn't that why Democrats resisted Republican efforts to alter Social Security in 2005? Because it's a universal program, available for every American citizen, and that's one of the program's virtues?

Social programs are another issue entirely, especially because the tax code is a blunt instrument for offering incentives. Ask yourself why we have such huge subsidies for ethanol even though food prices are rising dramatically and you'll understand my point there.

If I haven't said this before, I'm enjoying your writing and the give-and-take. Nice to know that some of you Communists out there are reasonable. =)