Sunday, January 04, 2009

Poster boy politics

Today we see the first tangible results of chuckling on-line magazine’s crusade to tax the wealthy back to reality. Two-thirds of Britons, it seems, want the rich to face high tax rates not seen since the 1980s. Of course we’re advocating a progressive tax more like the 1950’s than 1980’s, but we’ll take whatever progress we can get.

How many Americans think we should tax the rich back to reality? Hmmmm. That’s not something likely to come up for discussion round here, is it? When it comes to what our rulers quaintly refer to as “class war,” the anti-war movement is strong indeed. In that sense, big business, media, and both (nominal) political parties are all rabid peaceniks. And they agree that the only way to keep the peace is by a policy of I got mine, Jack, fuck you and your’n.

Nevertheless, receptive minds are out there. As the economy settles into each stage of its collapse, the results of our pro out-of-control looting by the rich policy are becoming clear. It’s not only the ridiculous unfairness of using public policy to enrich a miniscule minority of pathological greedheads at the expense of the great majority; or the economic ruin to which those policies inevitably lead: the fuck you and your’n policy is a terminal threat to democracy as well(unless by democracy we mean that every dollar gets an equal vote). Our slide into aristocracy and corrupt oligarchy is a far bigger problem than executive pay.

The current travails of the world’s wealthiest assholes give us a window into this insanity of which we must not speak. They have recently lost billions and billions of dollars, yet remain rich beyond any reasonable dream.The American who lost the most - $24 billion - was casino operator Sheldon Adelson, reputed to be worth $28 billion in March. So he’s still got $4 billion. Do you know how much $4 billion is? If you put it in a savings account earning 1 percent per annum, you’d make $40 million a year. What can you do with $40 million a year? Anything you fucking want. That’s what. And you'll still have a lot left over to give to your worthless kids who would never have to earn a single fucking thing in their entire lives.

What possible good does it do anyone to put all of that wealth in the hands of sociopaths? Little good at all and a whole helluva lot of bad. I realize that it is not exactly a zero sum game, but at some point the pathological greedheads really are taking money away from people who work hard and play by the rules. We are way past that point. It’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

Granted, a little bit of progress is on the table. Obama would restore the top two income tax rates to their pre-2001 levels. But that still leaves them at under 40 percent and does almost nothing to address the most egregious forms of excessive wealth: capital gains and inheritance. Obama’s tax plan is symbolic, at best.

What we need is for someone to make the argument, which shouldn’t be that difficult. In essence, it’s about freedom and fairness. Almost all Americans agree that a person should be able to profit from hard work, whether that profit be realized in excess wealth or security. Most people want to live in a meritocracy, not an aristocracy or corrupt oligarchy. We need to demonstrate that our fuck you and your’n regressive tax policies are anathema to meritocracy as well as democracy. And we have to look no further than George W. Bush to find our poster boy.

It may not be quite as simple as this, but it could be a place to start. We should examine George W’s life and figure out what could have been done to keep such a total loser rich fuck from being in a position to become president without earning a single fucking thing even once in his ridiculously privileged life. Once we have identified the necessary policies to keep a total loser rich fuck loser like George W. from being showered with every possible advantage in this life, we need to implement those policies.

Start with the inheritance tax. Check. College legacies. Check. Progressive tax code, capital gains. Check. Strengthened democracy. Check.

And there are plenty of other poster boys out there. Fuck’em, is chucking on-line magazine's editorial position. Before they fuck us (even more).