Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Class Warfare, Math, Macroeconomics and Fairness

OK, so  by now I'm sure we're all aware of President Obama's judgement that the [curiously named] "Buffett Rule" is NOT class warfare... It's MATH.

Bravo, Barry. It's about time you started calling out the Right on their bullshit.

I would like to give him (and everyone) one piece of advice though, when discussion taxation: Avoid the discussion of "fairness."  I know, I know! And I've made fairness-based arguments in the past, linking multiples of the median income in this country to various levels on Mazlow's hierarchy of needs, for example. And these arguments are very effective at convincing people who already agree with you that you're right. They are not very persuasive with anyone who's not already on board.  And I'm not conceding the fairness point - I do happen to be of the opinion that the rich in this country do not, in fact, pay their FAIR share of the tax burden.  BUT... that's my opinion.

And there's the rub:  One cannot objectively quantify "fairness." Whether or not something is "fair" relies entirely on the parties involve FEELING that it is fair.  If someone FEELS or is OF THE OPINION that they're being cheated?  Well guess what? That's one person who BELIEVES that "it" is not fair!

Fairness is an entirely subjective phenomenon.

Now... I will happily raise my hat and tip my glass to fellow working-class warrior, Elizabeth Warren.  SHE got it right.  And Conchobhar included some of the best parts of her speech a few posts back.  It's truly great stuff but, alas, I fear the "Social Contract" may yet be a little bit too high-brow for the Average American these days.  I heard a very well educated man trying to explain it the trainer in the Gym the other night - a black man, who definitely makes only a working-class wage, and yet was attacking the idea of taxing the rich! - and I could see that the argument was not the least bit persuasive.  In fact, it came sounding like the kind of namby-pamby Liberal whining that the Right has so effectively charactarized ALL of the higher moral aspects of civilization as over the past 30 years or so.

And besides, I think there's a much better way to put it, and it comes right from the comments section of this very blog...

In response to Tax/Deficit post back in July, Steeve put it absolutely perfectly:

Raise taxes on everyone until they feel the tiniest pinprick of pain.

So you raise taxes 0.001% on most people and they feel immediate pain. Raise taxes 60% on the rich and they feel no pain at all. That's not my problem. Hell, it isn't anyone's problem.

And there you go. 

The reason we tax the rich? Because we can do so without impacting their daily spending decisions.  And thus it cause no further economic pain, despite the Right's constant bed-wetting about it.

THIS is why you will inevitably end up taxing the rich.  Because doing anything else, including significantly reducing spending, is economic suicide.  The Right might want that, and Fox News might want that, but the American People do not.

So... STEEVE in 2012?

1 comment:

  1. There are several ways one can look at "fairness" when it comes to this matter. Maybe "fairness" isn't what we should be looking at.

    Wealth concentration, which was flat or declining since the Great Depression (the years in which the U.S. became the greatest economic power in the history of the world), began to rise in the mid-'70s and accelerated like mad from the '80s forward in reaction to various policy changes. Wealth in the U.S. is now three times more concentrated than was the case in the 1970s, and is, in fact, more concentrated than at any time since the Gilded Age. Various methods of measuring wealth differ slightly, but they all agree on that.

    Going by the figures developed by Edward Wolff at New York University (who has worked on this longer than anyone), the top 20% of Americans, as of 2007, own an incredible 85.1% of the wealth in the U.S. When it comes to total financial wealth, the top 20% has an even more incredible 94% of it. The richest 400 people in the U.S. now have as much wealth as half of the U.S. population. There's a number worth some thought. That trend, if it isn't arrested, is the end of the good ol' U.S. of A. I don't remember if I've mentioned it here before, but Joseph Stiglitz recently authored a piece for Vanity Fair touching on the incredibly destructive consequences of this:

    Heavy taxes on the rich, IOW, serve a social good in and of themselves, regardless of "fairness." As for fairness itself, those numbers speak pretty loudly to that, as well. Wealth has become so terribly concentrated because, since the '70s, a handful of people at the top have managed to siphon off nearly all of the economic gain of those years. That doesn't mean those at the top are necessarily bad people. It means we have a system that is badly broken, and in need of reform. Those who actually generate the wealth aren't getting their cut of it. No tax scheme can fix this, but a more thoughtful one would be a first step.