Sunday, January 18, 2009

So much stupidity, so little time, I

Last week, I started a long post in response to antediluvian flood (heh) of stupidity in the comments section of this Boston Globe story. on the "debate" (similar to the bullshit, trumped-up "debate" between evolutionary biologists and creationist PR flacks) about the effectiveness of the New Deal. I mean, Amity Schlaes! (And some of her proponents - yes, the ever weak-ass globeisatrocious - can't even spell her name right!)

But my post ran several hundred words and wasn't close to finished. After all, modern American discourse generates such copious quantities of bullshit that even Hercules couldn't clean it all up. (He was a horseshit specialist anyway.)

So, I'll try to shovel away the wingnut bullshit one cow patty at a time. Here's the talk radio talking point that one clearly evident moron called jkkite (January 15, 7:41 AM) has taken away from Rush or some other manipulating dipshit:
everyone knows the wealthiest people in this country pay about 90% of all the tax revenues. it's a fact. please keep your uneducated comments out of this, thx.
This an exaggeration of a Republican talking point, and it's a, well, outright lie that depends on the ignorance of those who want to believe it. Here's the Republican talking point, dressed up as best it can be, though still carefully ignoring the reality of the vast expansion of payroll taxes, which hit the working poor and the middle class, labelled "Percent of Federal Income Taxes Paid, 1980–2004" by the Hoover Institute (which couldn't have a more appropriate name):

The top 1% of incomes earn around $350,000 a year and up (2005 numbers here). If we match up these incomes with jkkite's "wealthiest people," we find in fact that they pay roughly 38% of income taxes (not all taxes by any stretch). In wingnut-world, that's totally close to 90%, right?

If 38% still seems like a lot, here's a funny thing: The top 1% of the wealthy own 40% of the private financial wealth in America (and 33% of the bigger pie that includes owner occupied housing). That tax rate doesn't seem so unfair now, does it? (Note: The top 1% of incomes and the top 1% of wealth are not exactly the same, but they overlap strongly.)

Furthermore, income tax receipts are a large part of Federal revenue, but they are just a little over 40% of the total, which makes the top 1%'s burden about 16% of the whole bundle.

The biggest other source? Payroll taxes - Social Security and Medicare - which are flat taxes up to their caps but then become completely regressive. The average rape and pillage CEO pays exactly the same amount on these as anyone earning over the cap of $102,000 (p. 61 of the 1040 booklet I received this year).

Soooo, if jkkite really cared about keeping uneducated comments out of the discussion, he'd have to SHUT UP!


Anonymous said...

sweet Christ, didnt the New Deal itself give those regressive taxes? I thought the Amity Shales dig at my dyslexia might wrap back around - and I am glad to extrivate you from another non sequitur


lovable liberal said...

Unlike paleocons, liberals always look for ways to improve on past progress, instead of rigidly adhering to some past imagined golden age that was also imperfect.

By the way, good that you've learned to use Google. Maybe you should try Google Alerts, as your well-deserved infamy spreads like grease in dishwater.

lovable liberal said...

One other point: Any sixth grader who can read a graph could tell that the New Deal passed small payroll taxes and their real growth began later, coincidentally when corporations started to find ways to avoid taxes in the 1950s. There was again a huge growth in the early 1980s, which "saved" Social Security. Of course, the Republicans refused to put that money in Al Gore's hokey lock box, so Social Security holds IOUs that fully fund it through 2041 (or maybe 2038).

Anonymous said...

Nice histerical-ography. Govt-run retirement, started for those who paid in, was too sweet a plum to not hand out to the votes that did not. Increases were inevitable. Obamas opt-in health care will begin and end the same way. Improving man? Rather, infamy.

lovable liberal said...

So, amid all the semi-literate rhetoric pretending to say something, I guess there's acknowledgement that the government services work better than what the so-called free market had previously provided.

Social Security has been a tremendous success reducing senior poverty. The "free" market? Not so much.

globeisatrocious said...

>Social Security has been a tremendous success reducing senior poverty

Social security was sold as a retirement plan for workers, not as a senior poverty reducer. It was meant to be an investment plan, not a govt service. If the people who paid in got an appropriate return and no more, you and I would hold hands and sing kumbaya.

You are again adept at holding two contradictory thoughts at once: the New Deal introduced a small payroll tax and can't be held responsible for the disaster that Soc Sec has become AND Soc Sec is the greatest thing since sliced bread. That's nuance I lack, I'll spot ya.

lovable liberal said...

Disaster? Assumes facts not in evidence - just because you ideologically don't like it.

The kumbaya "argument" tags you an idiot. Can you cons ever come up with new material?

Of course, you're fond of just making up more bullshit. In fact, Social Security was intended from the beginning to reduce poverty among the elderly. You need better sources than Rush and Hannity.

It's like Twain said (I'm paraphrasing): It's not what people don't know, it's what they're sure of that just ain't so.