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Tilting at Windmills

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March 5, 2009

GOING GALT.... Remember, this isn't some random member of the College Republicans after he's had a few too many; this is an elected member of the United States Congress.

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), who gives his departing interns copies of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," told me today that the response to President Obama's economic policies reminded him of what happened in the 51-year-old novel.

"People are starting to feel like we're living through the scenario that happened in 'Atlas Shrugged,'" said Campbell. "The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit rest of us, are going on strike. I'm seeing, at a small level, a kind of protest from the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth, who are pulling back from their ambitions because they see how they'll be punished for them."

In Rand's novel, creative people (the "Atlases" of the title) are hounded and punished for their labor by an oppressive, socialistic state. In response, they retreat from society to a hidden enclave where they watch civilization's slow collapse.

Right, the character John Galt, the hero of the novel, is the wealthy, white, blond-haired guy who convinces corporate leaders to give up their jobs in order to spite society. As the story goes, these captains of industry were repressed by heavy-handed government, so they walked away and, when society crumbled, taught everyone a valuable lesson about making sure wealthy, white, blond-haired guys don't feel unduly put upon.

Some very strange conservatives, faced with the prospect of a modest increase in the marginal top rate, see us creating real-life John Galts. We're supposed to find that terrifying, of course, since the same Wall Street titans who destroyed our economy might be tempted to leave their jobs and take up menial labor.

No, please don't throw us in that briar patch....

Now would be a very good time to point out how truly insane all of this is. Obama is talking about a 39.6% top rate. In Reagan's first term, it was 50%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. When FDR pulled us out of the Great Depression, it was around 80%.

And yet, there's Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), arguing with a straight face, that "the achievers" -- before any tax increase has even been voted on for the wealthy -- are "going on strike"? They're deliberately trying to screw the country because of a 39.6% top rate that hasn't been imposed yet?

The line between Republican satire and Republican reality is blurred a little too often.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (96)

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Comments

Isn't the goddamn top marginal rate not supposed to increase for another year or two, as was scheduled?

Posted by: Brian J on March 5, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad all the financial "wizards" didn't quit a decade ago.

Perhaps this is a new topic for a Ph.D dissertation in economics- how increasing tax rates on the higher brackets can help economy by causing some of its greediest, most destructive actors to "go on strike".

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on March 5, 2009 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

of course it would help if they were a little more literate and/or considerably less selective. Randian hero Howard Roark turns down good money and good ol capitalist material advancement rather than compromise his integrity. There are no Roark's among the old white guys at Merrill and AIG who took millions in bonuses and perks while their companies were tanking. Nor among the kleptocratic crony-enriching (heckuva job, Brownie!)culture of the modern Republican party.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 5, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, the people who royally effed up but nonetheless got 8 or 9 figure bonuses with federal bailout money want to take that stolen loot & pull a Galt.

I'm not prone to talk of revolution, but were that to happen - with OUR money in their mattresses - eff em, it's Most Dangerous Game-Running Man time.

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 5, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

John Galt was not wealthy.When he started his crusade he was working as a company electrical engineer. Whatever happened to actually reading a book before describing it.

Posted by: jack o'connor on March 5, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Considering what we ended up with thanks in large part to the, uh, achievers:

1) Credit bomb
2) Subprime bond mess
3) 60 Fucking TRILLION in derivatives
4) Collapse of global financial system
5) Collapse of real global economy
6) Looming ecological disaster
7) Unnecessary war in Iraq

I hope they do go on strike. It's not just bad enough that they're stupid, but also deluded.

Indispensable? My ass they are.

Posted by: Former Dan on March 5, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

As it was explained to me at a conservative blog last night, God made us farmers, and lawyers, and doctors, and that's just how it's supposed to be. And farmers shouldn't do brain surgery and assembly line workers can't be entrepreneurs, and to suggest that someone can replace important people with the lazy people who liberals have made dependent upon the government would be "playing God," which apparently, we're not supposed to do.

And as a similar commenter mentioned, the reason we should Go Galt is because there are no assurances that Obama won't eventually do what these Galt wannabes pretend is happening already. So we need to protest now, just in case there will be something we really need to protest later on.

And while I couldn't figure out what the hell these people imagined they were saying, I figure it's always a good thing to be opposed by people like this. At least they're not on our side.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on March 5, 2009 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I will live my life for no man, and ask no man to live his life for me.

Posted by: Al on March 5, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

I once saw Atlas shrug. In 1967 Tanzania's president Julius Nyerere nationalized the banks (all foreign owned). The banks immediately pulled out all their expatriate managers in an effort to remind Tanzania of just how dependent the banks were on them. It turned out, however, that the banks were able to do just fine without the giants. The expected catastrophe did not follow.

Posted by: ebbolles on March 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

The line between Republican satire and Republican reality is blurred a little too often.

And then there's your Republican insanity, of which this is a case study.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on March 5, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

I was reading the Mark Sanford (SC R governor) profile in AmCon when I hit this line:

He draws lessons from Ayn Rand’s work (“She doesn’t believe in the social compact really”),

Quite.

I will live my life for no man, and ask no man to live his life for me.

In practice of course, this means 'I will demand everything and give nothing.'

max
['Rand would've been just fine at the top of the heap in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Mouth the words and take the checks.']

Posted by: max on March 5, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Since we're coddling the bad guys with kajillions in uncontrolled taxpayer money, I think we should call the situation:

"Rat's Ass Hugged"

Posted by: richard greenslade on March 5, 2009 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

It never ceases to amaze me how the GOP bases policy on fiction. First it was the war on terror based on the tv program 24, now it is economic policy based on novels from 50 years ago. Somehow none of them seem to have read other fiction like 1984.

Posted by: terry on March 5, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

terry - don't forget environmental policy based on Michael Crichton.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 5, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Let us not forget that their moral leader, Ayn Rand, also wrote "The Virtue of Selfishness". I think that pretty much sums up the Republican Party.

Posted by: CJ on March 5, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

This marks the death of any pretense of intellectual conservatism.

Back when there was a half-credible case for it, National Review dismissed Rand as a hack writer whose unstated message was "to a gas chamber - go!".

And now, "conservatives" are piling on top of it. Truly puke-worth.

Posted by: slaney black on March 5, 2009 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see, the true giants of industry and innovation, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Reed Hastings (founder of Netflix), are on record as saying they're taxed too little. The founders and CEOs of Google took a $1 salary.Eric Schmidt backed Obama and he knew what his position was on taxes.

Yeah, uh huh. Who am I more impressed with, Schmidt or Campbell?

Posted by: lou on March 5, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

"Atlas Shrugged" was far more about corruption and propaganda than actual economics, though Rand clearly intended to make an economic point. Daphne's brother was in charge of the railroad because he was the son, and because he had gov't connections. Gender politics seemed to be Daphne's biggest problem. And Reardon wasn't acting out of greed either. The main theme for the Galt group was revenge. And I would suggest that's what makes the novel appeal to Republicans.

Posted by: Danp on March 5, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the catch.

As we've been reporting at Orange County Progressive , Campbell looks to be picking up a formidable challenger in Irvine Council Member Beth Krom, part of a progressive team that has been kicking Republican ass in Orange County for decades.

Obama carried this district by 2,469 votes.

Posted by: OC Progressive on March 5, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be honest -- it would be horrible for millionaires if it went back to the tax rates under Clinton. Their portfolios would grow, their houses would increase in value -- the horror!

Don't let the door hit you on the ass, Masters of the Universe that brought us this great economy!

Posted by: Obama -- Not as Tough as the Steelers on March 5, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is that these self-glorified 'Atlas' types are largely a bunch of crooks who have had a major political party running cover for them for years. Now that their license to steal is being examined, they're throwing a hissy fit.
Stanford? Madeoff? Who are we mere mortals to hold these titans accountable?
Who are we, we dirty commoners, to question bonus payments of $18b to exalted captains of an industry that lost $38b and is seeking relief from the pittance of our taxes?

Posted by: JoeW on March 5, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh man, I forgot this immortal McSweeney's piece: Atlas Shrugged updated for the financial crisis.

Oh, and let's not forget the WSJ opinion page was as usual way out in front of this wingnut trend.

Posted by: slaney black on March 5, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

It makes you wonder about all these right wing "think tanks." One visualizes a load of geeks drawing salaries in the millions to sit in luxurious offices reading Ayn Rand.

Posted by: davidp on March 5, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

to have even a "pretense" of an intellect, my friends, ya gotta be a lot smarter than these idiots.

the selfish galts of ayn rand were some kinda myth geniuses.

nowadays, bags of gilded hammers...

Posted by: neill on March 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

The theory behind rethugnican economic philosophy for the last 30 years has been 'The Laffer Curve'. It is an economic theory that describes a continuum where increased marginal tax rates decrease government revenues & decreased marginal tax rates increase government revenues.

The beautiful part of this theory is that it cannot be proven or disproved. When you combine this theory with the belief held by most rethugs (& DLC types) that jobs are created by the wealthy, it is natural to believe that cutting taxes on the wealthy is the answer to economic difficulties.

John McCain declared that the wealthy are those making more than $5 Million a year. Therefore, using this formula, the obvious answer to our economic woes is to eliminate income taxes on those making more than $5M a year & raise the crap out of the taxes on the rest of us. Let's try that & see what happens to jobs in our country!

If you believe that jobs are created by demand and not by rich people looking to become richer (and having to create jobs to do it) AND if you refuse to disbelieve your lying eyes about the last 30 years of a failed economic experiment; the whole rethug argument falls apart!

Obviously, this rethug clown is only one part of the rethug circus that continues to push their failed experiment upon the amerikan public. It is only a logical step to believe that the rich should punish the rest of us by buying a cave, converting their money into gold, and live in their gold filled caves on gold filled mattresses. I can't wait to see them NOT be able to feed themselves!


Posted by: SadOldVet on March 5, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't the irony that the economy would have been better off if all the John Galts had actually left?

Posted by: crack on March 5, 2009 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Another point worth mentioning:

When John Galt's merry band of "achievers" go on strike and retire to a hidden valley, all the power for the valley is supplied by a machine that Galt invented which pulls electricity out of thin air (literally).

What a perfect metaphor for Supply-side economics.


Posted by: SteveT on March 5, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

You know, I loved that book. I read it for the first time when I was 12 years old, and I must have read it 10 times since. I must have given away a hundred copies in my life.

That said, the message is about a society very different from our own; from a time very different from the one we live in now. Rand, who was brilliant but flawed, did not believe in corporate welfare; neither did her heroes.

She did believe in the inherent goodness of industry and capitalism; and based upon that axiom, believed in limited government intrusion on same.

Remember, Hank Rearden, creator of what is essentially Titanium, had an internalized union of his employees which were paid above-average wages, benefits, etc. This was the model for corporate self-governance that she believed in.

Two things to remember, though: 1)she fled soviet russia at the bolshevik revolution after watching her family fortunes decimated. OF COURSE she had extreme views about 'socialism.' And 2) when she wrote the book, a smokestack spewing from a coal-fired power plant might be considered inspiring rather than destructive. Times have changed. (though one of the central elements of Atlas Shrugged was Galt's development of a clean, cheap energy source).

I have grown in my thinking, as well as aging. I see the value of the safety-net, as society as a whole is better off if people are educated and fed. I recognize that there is a strong, unrealistic idealism that floats through her work. But still, were we to live in my perfect world it would be one where everyone that wanted to work, could; where art could be pursued freely and profitably; where companies cared about the welfare of their employees, and acted as responsible stewards of the economy and the environment.

I understand that Rand is something of a villain to the left. It is unfortunate, because the left really has more in common with Objectivist philosophy than they recognize.

I used to tell people that I was a centrist, believing in the free-market ideology of the right and the civil liberties of the left. Today, thanks largely to what I consider to be a successful Clinton presidency, and the disaster that was G.W. Bush, I am unabashedly liberal in much more of my thinking. But there was value in much of Rand's work, even if it was stark and cold.

Posted by: Shantyhag on March 5, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have conspired to ensure that the "Atlas Shrugged" scenario could never work. We have too many smart, talented, hard working people in America but not enough high-value jobs for them. Instead, the American economy has focused on service jobs and sales positions and other sorts of middle management jobs that all of these people are supposed to fill, with only a small sliver becoming the "captains of industry." So as a consequence, if these "captains of industry" and other supposed "achievers" decided to "go John Galt," there are millions of smart talented people willing to take their place.

That's actually the funny thing about constructing a highly unequal society that the Republicans are so obsessed with: the people at the top aren't there by dint of their merits-- there are people whose background is just as meritorious but just didn't manage to get one of the coveted positions at the top because so few were available.

So, yeah, let some hedge fund managers, I-Banking partners, and Neil Bushes drop out. We could use some new blood.

Posted by: Tyro on March 5, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I understand that Rand is something of a villain to the left.

I would recommend everyone look up Ayn Rand's appearance on the Phil Donahue show on youtube. She's not a villain so much as your lovable but crazy grandma. Objectivists, however, are a villain of the left, and for good reason. You don't see a lot of liberals attacking Ayn Rand for anything other than sucky prose (yes, English wasn't her first language, but neither was it Tom Stoppard's). Rand's followers, including Gov. Sanford and Rep. Campbell are condemned for very good reason.

Posted by: Tyro on March 5, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I don't want to start a big fight but the top EFFECTIVE marginal rate will not be 39.6%. It will be significantly higher.

There are all sorts of phase outs on itemized deductions and personal exemptions that already make the effective marginal tax rate well above 40% for many taxpayers.

I always find it amazingly stupid that we complicate the tax code with stupid tricks that waste a lot of people's time to raise a little money.

I think we would be far better off to get rid of all the stupid phase outs and make the top rate 43% instead of having all the stupid phaseouts and having a PUBLISHED top rate of 39.6% but an EFFECTIVE top rate of 45%+.

But don't forget, I am a wingnut troll who makes his living trying to legally reduce the taxes that rich people and rich corporations pay. I would be out of a job if Congress actually followed my suggestions.

Posted by: neil wilson on March 5, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

John Galt, the hero of the novel, is the wealthy, white, blond-haired guy who convinces corporate leaders to give up their jobs in order to spite society. As the story goes, these captains of industry were repressed by heavy-handed government, so they walked away and, when society crumbled, taught everyone a valuable lesson about making sure wealthy, white, blond-haired guys don't feel unduly put upon.

I think of another great work of literature when I hear about this devilish plan: "Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy":

"After offering Arthur and Ford gin and tonics the Captain tells them that they are from the planet Golgafrincham; the people of their world learnt of an impending cataclysm, and so made the decision to evacuate the population in three huge space-arks, which would be sent off into space in search of a new world to colonise. There are reportedly three ‘Arks’: the ‘A’ Ark, which contains all the brilliant thinkers; the ‘C’ Ark, which contains the workers; and the ‘B’ Ark - theirs - which contains all the middle-men. Oddly, neither the Captain or any of his officers can agree on what the impending disaster was, as they all heard differing reports; Ford and Arthur immediately realise that the whole thing was merely a ploy by the Golgafrinchams to rid themselves of the useless third of their population (although the ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ tells us that the Golgafrinchams all died out from a virulent disease, ironically contracted from a dirty telephone handset). The ‘B’ Ark has now reached its destination, and it promptly crash-lands on the remote planet that is to become its occupants’ new home. Two years later, Ford and Arthur return from exploring the new world, bringing with them some important news; unfortunately they find that the Golgafrincham colonists are more concerned with making documentaries about themselves than with starting up a new civilisation, and are now all ‘rich’ after adopting the leaf as a form of currency."


Can I make a suggestion for one of the Stimulus projects?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 5, 2009 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

neil wilson, I have nothing against simplified tax codes with "truth in advertising" rates, but the fact is that I am cognizant of the fact that political realities conspire to make this almost impossible (plus, really, if you're wealthy, don't take out a large mortgage so you can deduct the interest. That's something that's caused us all this trouble to begin with).

Posted by: Tyro on March 5, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit rest of us" and "the people who create jobs, the people who create wealth" are not the same people.

I know, I know, he's a Republican, and so creating wealth is his only concern. But still, isn't this ridiculous on its face?

Posted by: Tree on March 5, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

They're deliberately trying to screw the country because of a 39.6% top rate that hasn't been imposed yet?

No, because a few anecdotal idiot lawyers aside, they aren't really going on strike -- they're just complaining that no one appreciates what Ubermenschen they are.

Good Ford, how juvenile -- the equivalent of sullen teenagers retreating to their rooms and muttering about how no one appreciates them, but they'd miss them if they were gone. But from supposed grownups -- more than that, supposed rugged individualists.

Yeah, right. If they want to go on strike, be my guest. I can't wait for them to find out in stark terms the real balance between their value to society and vice versa.

Posted by: Gregory on March 5, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

When righties start referencing Rand I always feel like asking "You do know that's fiction, right? It's a made-up story? Like a fairy tale?" OK, actually, I feel like shouting that, but anyway, the point is that making economic decisions based on Atlas Shrugged is like designing highways based on Wind in the Willows. We don't have madcap Toads careening about in stolen motorcars, and we aren't faced with noble John Galts retreating from society, either. Both are entertaining characters, but live only in a childlike fantasy world.

Posted by: biggerbox on March 5, 2009 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The glibertards and conservative fellow travelers ironically celebrate the making of money through financial manipulation and not real productive work (which can be at the top, sure, like Steve Jobs.) If you sign up for rightwing newsletters, you'll get plenty of advice about how to make money "in the markets" but very little on how to actually improve the world and provide literal value from yourself.

Posted by: Neil B ♠ on March 5, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

There are all sorts of phase outs on itemized deductions and personal exemptions that already make the effective marginal tax rate well above 40% for many taxpayers.
- neil wilson

Can you give an example, please?

Posted by: Danp on March 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't the goddamn top marginal rate not supposed to increase for another year or two, as was scheduled?

Why, yes. All of these "horrific tax increases" that have the Rugged Individualists of the right clutching their pearls were approved by Republican Congresscritters and signed into law by President Bush.

If the GOP wants to frame letting the tax cuts sunset as a tax increase, fine -- then it's the Bush tax increase.

What's funny is that all our intelelctually dishonest Republican apologists don't realize that Bush screwed them -- they sold out their honor for those sweet, sweet tax cuts, and now they'll have neither tax cuts nor honor.

Posted by: Gregory on March 5, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Problem - conflated terms.

Creative was conflated with predatory.

Achiever was conflated with predator.

Now it all becomes clear.

Posted by: shunned on March 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

John Galt is a fictional character in Ayn Rand's work of fiction "Atlas Shrugged" which describes fictional people and fictional events in a fictional world, through which work of fiction Rand sets forth her fictional philosophy which she calls "Objectivism".

Libertarians, whose philosophy resembles Ayn Rand's fictional "Objectivism" in that it bears no relationship to actual events or actual persons living or dead, like to pretend that Ayn Rand's fictional world is real.

They remind me of folks who like to dress up in pointy plastic ears, green makeup and space suits, get together and say things like "Live long and prosper" or "That is illogical" and pretend that Star Trek is real.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 5, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going Galt.

Not pouring any more money down the hole. O's already ensured that my retirement fund won't come back and that the small business I work for will have to lay one of us off.

*Raising bunnies for the table and for trade.
*Tutoring for cash - and not reporting ($80/hour)
*Dialing back overtime (while I have a job)
*Not spending / Stockpiling money
*No idea what to do with my retirement money...put it in gold?

Posted by: David on March 5, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I will live my life for no man, and ask no man to live his life for me.
Posted by: Al [the bizarre and mysterious, holographic archetype from the Platonic multiverse ] on March 5, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Heh, Aynal-retentive glibertarians forget that each person's very ability to speak, use numbers, etc. comes from the entire work of civilization before us. Each of us owes the equivalent of "intellectual property rights" dues to the rest of the world, for the rest of our lives - that means serving the common good. I don't know why this argument doesn't get around more, since it's subtle but good.

Nevertheless, I appreciate and somewhat concur with the clarifications and depth offered by Shantyhag. Indeed, the modern ReRushlickin' party's active help to the corporate complex and the wealth is far worse IMHO than simple Spartan governance with a genuine level playing field. Also, SadOldVet is wrong about the Laffer Curve, giving a common misperception. The LC says basically, that there's an optimum tax rate (and applicable logic to other issues) so raising taxes even higher is counterproductive. Optimum means a hump, and that makes sense - but dittotards often converted that into a simplistic "less is more" trope.

Posted by: Neil B ☼ on March 5, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

I will live my life for no man, and ask no man to live his life for me.

The first line in the beatitudes of Republican Jesus, CEO ™.

C'mon guys, I know you can recite the rest!

Posted by: lobbygow on March 5, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Hon. Rep. Campbell offers a pretty good explication of the nonsense which is "Atlas Shrugged:" they believe that, if all the CEO's of the world left for their private islands there would be a dearth of amoral individuals willing to be paid millions of dollars to take take advantage of the weak (and commit economic and social rapine as a freebie). I only wish it were so, then we could employ a kind of final solution.

Posted by: jhm on March 5, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I never read Atlas Shrugged, but I was very taken with The Fountainhead and read it twice. Then I grew up. It's good entertainment for adolescents, but eventually selfishness and narcissism can only take you so far.

And besides, everything you need to know about life can be discovered by watching The Godfather I and II.

Posted by: treebeard on March 5, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

The science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard once spoke at a convention of science fiction writers, and said "Writing stories for the pulp magazines at three cents a word is all very well, but if a man wanted to become rich, he would start his own religion."

Hubbard went on to write the best selling book "Dianetics" and to found the religion of Scientology -- which was, in essence, a science-fiction religion. And it did indeed make L. Ron Hubbard a very, very rich man.

Many people are unaware that Ayn Rand also started out as a science-fiction writer, with her novella "Anthem". And even her later, better-known novels, such as "Atlas Shrugged", contain elements of science fiction.

And Rand clearly took Hubbard's advice to heart when she created her fictional religion which she called "Objectivism".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 5, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Neil Wilson thank Christ you don't have anything to do with my taxes. I'd be paying a whole lot more with your expert help.

Posted by: Gandalf on March 5, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, marginal rate is going up in 2011 under the budget. Yesterday, Grassley was arguing that the true marginal rate is not 39.6 but something closer to 42% or higher. How does he get that number, or is he just pulling it out of his ass. Anybody know?

Posted by: Scott F. on March 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

The author of this piece should be ignored or ridiculed. Obviously, the author has not read the book and has, at best, second hand knowledge of "Atlas Shrugged."

Most of you here also know very little about "Atlas Shrugged" yet feel free to comment on that which you don't know.

Typical.

What none of you people understand is that Ayn Rand took a very dim view of business and government getting into bed together.

All of you claiming that allowing the unfettered capitalism of Ayn Rand is what brought us to the brink of economic collapse are fools or worse.

Without government coercion, regulation and businesses being allowed to lobby for special favors, none of the current mess would have happened.

Posted by: Blake on March 5, 2009 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Not pouring any more money down the hole. O's already ensured that my retirement fund won't come back and that the small business I work for will have to lay one of us off.

Great -- send us a postcard. And don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 5, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

All of you claiming that allowing the unfettered capitalism of Ayn Rand is what brought us to the brink of economic collapse are fools or worse.

Actually, I don't really blame Ayn Rand herself, any more than I blame Jesus for the Inquisition. She came up with a philosophy that people cherry-picked from and used to rob others. As I've said before in these threads, the people who pulled these kinds of financial shenanigans in Rand's books were the villains, not the heroes. And yet all of these idiots like Thune and Mozilo have convinced weak-minded people that they're modern-day John Galts who can't be allowed to withdraw their precious financial wizardry from the marketplace.

Alan Greenspan was an Objectivist and a disciple of Rand in his youth. Now look where we are.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 5, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, Grassley was arguing that the true marginal rate is ...42% or higher. How does he get that number...? - Scott F

What he is doing is mathematical slight of hand. You take the amount of income in the 39.6% bracket (A) and calculate that tax (B). Then you calculate the extra money you have to pay because charity, mortgage interest and state/local taxes will only be deductible at 28% instead of the whole 39.6% (C). Add C to B and divide by A, thus attributing your whole tax increase to the top marginal income. I'm guessing this is what neil wilson is doing as well.

Posted by: Danp on March 5, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

"The achievers, the people who create all the things that benefit rest of us?"

I think he meant "the parasite class that has grown fat on their multimillion dollar golf courses while the rest of us toil for them." Typo corrected.

No wealthy person has even achieved jack shit without employees. So fuck that stupid classism.

Rand was a NOVELIST not a fucking economist or social anthropologist. She wrote FICTION not a goddamn tome for all time.

Posted by: getaclue on March 5, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Let me tell you about one Ayn Rand worshipper -- my late dad. He railed throughout my teen years and young adulthood about Democrats "punishing" the achievers with higher taxes, etc. Cut to twenty years later -- through a lot of luck, hard work and good timing my brother and I became millionaires. Dad was very proud of us. My three step-siblings, not so much. Two are comfortable because they married hard-working spouses, one is a lazy blowhard who never liked to work and is now, in his sixties, pretty much destitute and living on public assistance. Before my dad died, at the urging of my stepmom, he changed his will to effectively disinherit my brother and me in favor of our step siblings. His estate wasn't huge and he did ask us if we'd mind (since we were "set for life") and of course we said go ahead. And neither of us brought up the fact that Dad, the big Ayn Rand fan, was now a prime example of "punishing the achievers." Republicans are all for letting people sink or swim on their own -- unless, of course, they're the ones who are sinking!

Posted by: dalloway on March 5, 2009 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Neil Wilson @10:06: "I don't want to start a big fight but the top EFFECTIVE marginal rate will not be 39.6%. It will be significantly higher."

What Neil is trying to say is that when you lose deductions at the same time that your rate goes up, then you're paying a higher tax on the next dollar that you earn than just the increase in the marginal rate.

For example, if you're making over $250,000 a year and you now pay an extra $4 in taxes on the next $100 you earn because of the increase in the top rate while also paying an extra dollar because of the loss of a deduction, then it's the same as raising the marginal rate by 5 percent instead of 4 percent. He's right.

But by cherry-picking the EMTR, Wilson, Grassley and others are failing to point out that the effective tax rate (i.e. total taxes/total income) for most of such households is likely to go up very little (less than one percent). They're trying to make the tax increase sound bigger than it is. Since most Americans don't know about this stuff, they're trying to make us believe that people will have to pay more than 40 percent of their total income in income taxes when, in actuality, their effective rate will be significantly lower (e.g. My marginal rate is 25 percent and my effective rate is 12 percent).

Clear as mud?

Posted by: CJ on March 5, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, let's take two couples each with 8 children.
A little extreme but not totally nuts

One couple makes $290,000 and the other makes $300,000. Neither itemize.

Both couples have to calculate the limitation on their personal exemptions. See page 36 of the 1040 instructions. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf

The couple that makes $10,000 more gets $2,800 less in personal exemptions.

In other words, their marginal tax rate on that $10,000 is 28% above their stated marginal rate.

That means their marginal rate is well over 60%

SIXTY PERCENT

Now, I used $10,000 because I don't want to play games where if one family earned $1 more they would have to pay an additional $700 in taxes. That would also mean that they wouldn't have any tax increase on the next $2,499 in taxes. The tax code uses $2,500 increments so I didn't want to play games. I used an even $10,000.

Do you still think I am nuts?

Posted by: neil wilson on March 5, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Blake wrote: "Most of you here also know very little about 'Atlas Shrugged' yet feel free to comment on that which you don't know."

I read "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and "Anthem" and several of Ayn Rand's books of non-fiction essays. It was all pretentious rubbish dressed up with the trappings of potboiler romance fiction to distract readers from the inanity of her so-called "philosophy".

And Ayn Rand was one of the worst writers in the history of English literature.

Posted by: SecularAnimism on March 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I will live my life for no man, and ask no man to live his life for me. -Al

I try to live my life for the greater good of all mankind, and ask that all mankind do the same.

And besides, everything you need to know about life can be discovered by watching The Godfather I and II. -treebeard

I feel the same way, only about Wayne's World I and II.

Posted by: doubtful on March 5, 2009 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Dear God, I am so sick and tired of people like this whining self-righteously about how put-upon they are.

Go ahead, go on strike. And keep going until you're all the way out of the country. Good damn riddance.

Posted by: David Bailey on March 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Do you still think I am nuts? -neil wilson

I think you're nuts if you think most of us will give a damn if the effective marginal tax rate for income over $250,000 is 43%, 45%, or 60%, no matter what kind of voodoo math you use to justify it.

You're example of two families with eight children each is so far out of the realm of normalcy, it's laughable in it's inadequacy. Very few families have eight children to begin with and that number only decreases as income and wealth increase.

Posted by: doubtful on March 5, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ayn Rand was not a brilliant but flawed genius or whatever. Her basic premise was simply unsubstantiated by anthropological and likely a lot of other data from a variety of fields. We are social first and foremost. Read Helen Keller's description of what it was like to be blind, deaf and mute before she acquired language from Annie Sullivan. If that doesn't repudiate Ayn Rand, I don't know what would.

Posted by: Varecia on March 5, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Yes Neil, you are nuts.

The couple in your example wouldn't pay $2,800 extra in taxes. A loss of a $2,800 personal exemption just means that they would deduct $2,800 less when calculating their taxes.

In addition, the lowest marginal rate would be applied to that additional $2,800--not the highest. So, this couple's additional tax on that lost exemption would be $2800 x 10 percent or $280. Then, to calculate the effective marginal rate on that $10,000 in extra income, you get $280/$10000 = 2.8 percent.

In other words, their marginal tax rate on that $10,000 is 2.8% above their stated marginal rate, not 28%.

I suggest, find another line of work.

Posted by: CJ on March 5, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

neil wilson, yes, you're still nuts, because what you are doing is just taking a "hump case." If neither itemize, then the higher-paid person's income increases, the percentage effect of the loss of that exemption on your tax burden decreases. Most exemptions are phased out slowly in any case, so I could expect any "border cases" to get taken care of in this case, over time. So, no, I'm really not that worried, nor do I really care.

Posted by: Tyro on March 5, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Alan Greenspan was an Objectivist and a disciple of Rand in his youth. Now look where we are. Posted by: Mnemosyne

You beat me to it. When Greenspan - perhaps the highest profile Rand acolyte ever in our government - gave his deer-in-the-headlights testimony that his assumptions had been wrong, that should have been the final fork in any policymakers treating Rand as a serious source of thought for governing.

I have read Atlas (didn't like it), and The Fountainhead (liked it a lot, but disagree with Rand's forward as to what it means - she reduced it to political-economic terms, I saw it as much more about individual integrity than about unbridled capitalism), and Anthem (although I'd much rather just listen to Rush's "2112" cranked up really loud). But i always had the critical thinking skills to realize it was a vast oversimplification of the world and while provacative was hardly the stuff of real-world operating philosophy.

We need a better class of Republicans.

Posted by: zeitgeist on March 5, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Do you still think I am nuts? neil wilson

Not so much nuts as overdramatic, since that SIXTY PERCENT sounds a lot more extreme when only applied to the $10,000 as opposed to the $300,000 total income. It's kind of like saying I had to pay twice the parking rate as someone else, because I stayed an hour and one minute vs one hour only.

Posted by: Danp on March 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, you are right. I am nuts.

I am so used to relying on the computer that I didn't bother to check my calculations when I did things manually.

The rate isn't as high as I said. It would take a little longer to find an example of very high tax rates.

They do exist. Now, of course, there are not that many rich families with a lot of kids or specific kinds of deductions but they do exist.

My point remains that rather than going through all sorts of stupid calculations, it would be better if we got rid of all the phase outs and just raised the marginal rate in an honest fashion.

But then, we all agree. I am nuts.

Posted by: neil wilson on March 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

zeitgeist wrote: "... that should have been the final fork in any policymakers treating Rand as a serious source of thought for governing."

The very idea that any policymaker would use Ayn Rand as "a serious source of thought for governing" is appalling. It's on the same level of absurdity as using L. Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth" novels as a source of thought for governing.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 5, 2009 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Do you still think I am nuts?

Since you keep spouting percentages instead of telling us what the final tax payment of each family would be, you're either nuts or dishonest, which means I'll be sticking with TurboTax rather than risk having someone like you do my taxes.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 5, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
. . . the message is about a society very different from our own

Worse, it's about a species very different from our own.

Posted by: noncarborundum on March 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else commented on the overwhelming hypocrisy of wingnuts who would deny workers the right to strike but glorify striking if it's by the "elites." Dishonesty and hypocrisy are two commodities that the right wing will never exhaust.

Posted by: digitusmediusj on March 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

you know, I actually was just facing this problem, but at a much larger scale. Last year due to unemployment, school and general economic malaise, I made just under $33,000. down from about 60 the previous year. As we all know, the 15% tax bracket extends to roughly $34k this year. I was just offered a job making more, almost $40k. but you know what? that would mean I was taxed on that extra money at 25%, fully 70% higher than my previous bracket. So I turned it down (believing, as I do, that extra taxation is a disincentive for work and production) I have shared my tale of woe with the GOP, and I fully expect to be the next Joe the Plumber, punished for my success with higher tax rates. what do you think?


Posted by: northzax on March 5, 2009 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Rand tried to build a philosophy based solely on reason, but, being a novelist and not a logician, screwed up royally. Her epistimology is an interesting hypothesis, but she treats it as axiomatic, which is not valid. It needs experimental support. Her economy in Atlas Shrugged is based, as noted above, on magic. Her band in the mountains, no matter how intelligent, would probably have been reduced to subsistance agriculture because the small number wouldn't support an advanced economy. And one of her explicitly stated axioms is that natural resources are unlimited. Overall score is FAIL.

Posted by: Tim H on March 5, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne:

I think you are missing the difference between total tax rate and marginal tax rate.

As for TurboTax, I think it is great. Unless you have some really complicated situation, TurboTax is better than going to a professional. For virtually everyone reading this blog who works as an employee, TurboTax or one of its competitors is the best way to do taxes.

If you want to lead a complicated financial life to safe a couple of bucks in taxes then go ahead a waste a ton of time trying.

Most all EMPLOYEE tax returns are really simple and there is a right answer. Getting into strange situations where you make an "in kind exchange" on a business yacht is not the normal thing people think of when doing their own tax return. I doubt very many of us are every going to enter into a "467 loan" to reduce taxes.

Posted by: neil wilson on March 5, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this whole Ayn Rand/John Galt shebang, like, BLATANTLY "elitist"? As such, isn't it BLATANTLY at odds with Republicans' whole salt-of-the-earth self-styling tendencies?

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on March 5, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Tim H: "Rand tried to build a philosophy based solely on reason, but, being a novelist and not a logician, screwed up royally..."

I understand your point, but I'd say it was based solely on wishful thinking rather than reason. She was a Hollywood persona.

Posted by: Varecia on March 5, 2009 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK
That means their marginal rate is well over 60%

SIXTY PERCENT

--neil "got owned by C.J." wilson

So f***ing what?

It was NINETY PERCENT under that commie bastard Eisenhower, yet our nation managed to not only survive, but thrive.

You = Idiot.

What I find so amusing is that 90% of the people whining about a measly 3-4% increase in incomes more than $250K will never, ever get close to making that much money.

They also didn't say one f***ing word when Bush's policies caused the greatest transfer of wealth in this nation's history.

I guess they had no issue with redistribution from the middle- and lower-classes to the rich. But try to help those without health insurance and they lose what passes for their minds.

And to think some actually claim to be real Christians ...

Posted by: Mark D on March 5, 2009 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

@neil,


Actually, the effective rate is what people pay. The IRS recently reported that the top 400 wage earners paid roughly 17.2%, With all of the write-offs, deductions and even outright subsidies on the books, no wealthy person ever pays the top rate. No corporation ever, ever pays 35%. The GAO recently found that 2/3rds of American corporations paid zero taxes in the last decade.

Other key stats. In 1980, the top 1% took home roughly 8% of the total pie. By 2004, that percentage had climbed to 22%. The wealthy have such an incredibly sweet deal in America, they should thank their gods that the rest of us haven't stormed the Bastille and put them all away already. That they're complaining about a minuscule increase of 3% just tells us that they've been too powerful for too long, and they need to get real.

Obama isn't going far enough. He should raise taxes more on the rich, and, IMO, he shouldn't have started with 250K. He should have made the contrast starker. Raise rates up to 49% on anyone making more than a million. Take that money and invest in roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, health care, transportation and the environment.

Lift the ceiling on FICA and extend a revamped Medicare to every single America. If the rich don't like it, they can eat cake.

Posted by: Cuchulain on March 5, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Ayn Rand's getting off lightly. My generation (born in '68) was probably the last to have read her works. And they were already soundly discredited back then. I won't pile on Ms Rand too hard, she's already been pummeled into dust. But I will say that The Fountainhead was her best. Her philosophy was less developed then, so there's less of it in the book. With Ayn Rand, the less philosophy, the better. But the only reason to read her works is to laugh at them, so maybe you should read Atlas Shrugged.

Posted by: fostert on March 5, 2009 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
Wow, Ayn Rand's getting off lightly. My generation (born in '68) was probably the last to have read her works. And they were already soundly discredited back then. I won't pile on Ms Rand too hard, she's already been pummeled into dust. But I will say that The Fountainhead was her best. Her philosophy was less developed then, so there's less of it in the book. With Ayn Rand, the less philosophy, the better. But the only reason to read her works is to laugh at them, so maybe you should read Atlas Shrugged.

I read Fountainhead right out of college and thought it not bad.

I then picked up Atlas Shrugged and realized that she wasn't just a poor writer (though I'll give her a slight break since it's not her native language), but contained what was easily one of the dumbest, most idiotic, disgusting, immoral philosophies of all time. I made way through all 1000+ pages to see if maybe I had just missed something.

I hadn't. It's crap.

And those who champion it are either too greedy and self-centered to care, are too dumb to truly understand it, or have never actually read it.

Maybe even all three ...

Posted by: Mark D on March 5, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

For most of those saying they are "going Galt", they are actually losing their customers and businesses. It isn't a matter of their going on strike while being in demand--they are downsizing themselves as their business fails with the rest of the economy.

Posted by: Dave X on March 5, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

They're deliberately trying to screw the country because of a 39.6% top rate that hasn't been imposed yet?
-----------

What -- they're supposed to wait around for something to happen, not even knowing for sure whether it will, before trying to screw the country?

These are Republicans you're talking about here!

This world is awfully short of clues these days. Try and keep up at the back there, 'kay?

The Internet Said It
I Believe It
And That Settles It

Posted by: That Settles It on March 5, 2009 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

And yet, entrepreneurs are departing California for states with lower taxes and fewer restrictions on their expansion, and immigrant entrepreneurs are beginning to leave the U.S. in larger numbers to expand their businesses in their home countries (now that their home countries have liberalized), and investors are cashing out their investments and reducing "exposure" in the economy.

"Atlas" is indeed "shrugging".

If Obama is approximately as successful as FDR was, then this recession will last about 10 years and won't be over until a war forces a massive re-industrialization of the whole economy.

It isn't an absolute disaster: the stock market still has value above DJIA=$1,000, and the 4th quarter reduction in GDP, annualized, was only 6%. The economy might have bottomed out already (as it may have done about the time FDR was inaugurated.) But it isn't really a good time for government to be making life harder for entrepreneurs.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on March 5, 2009 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I love it that all of the rugged capitalists "going Galt" are, in effect, doing just what the dirty hippies did 40 years ago by going back to the land. Put 'em in a poncho and rub some patchouli oil on them and who can really tell the difference?

Posted by: Stefan on March 5, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

1. The US has the lowest taxes in the developed world.
2. It has the greatest wealth disparity in the world.
3. The Atlases don't have a very good track record lately. Please go on strike.

Posted by: steveb on March 5, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to above.

Meant to say the greatest wealth disparity in the developed world.

Posted by: steveb on March 5, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think you are missing the difference between total tax rate and marginal tax rate.

Nope. You're posting scary, scary percentages and somehow forgetting to tell us the dollar amounts those scary, scary percentages represent. It's almost like you're trying to panic people into making stupid mistakes like "going Galt" because you've convinced them that they'll have to pay an extra $3,000 in taxes if they make an extra $5,000 over last year and it puts them into the next tax bracket.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 5, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

And yet, entrepreneurs are departing California for states with lower taxes and fewer restrictions on their expansion ...

Really? Name a few, along with the states they've relocated to. After all, if it's constantly happening, you should have at least 5 or 6 names of companies that relocated last year because California's taxes and regulations are too high, right?

It's okay. We'll wait here while you go find some facts to back up your bullshit.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 5, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

We'll wait here while you go find some facts to back up your bullshit.

We always wait. And wait. And wait.

Bullshit like this is why no one mistakes Marler for an honest commentator.


Posted by: Gregory on March 5, 2009 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

MatthewRMarler wrote: "And yet, entrepreneurs are departing California for states with lower taxes and fewer restrictions on their expansion ... it isn't really a good time for government to be making life harder for entrepreneurs."

Bullshit.

California's renewable energy and conservation mandates are stimulating and encouraging entrepreneurship, of exactly the kind we most need right now. California's policies are driving the development of pluggable hybrid electric cars, to pick just one of many examples.

On the other hand, reactionary Republicans like John McCain -- who has consistently disparaged and discouraged investment in wind and solar energy -- want to crush any entrepreneurial challenges to the profits of their financial backers in the fossil fuel and nuclear power corporations.

Do you ever, ever, have anything to offer except bullshit scripted talking points with no basis in reality?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 5, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

We always wait. And wait. And wait.

Yep. I personally have been waiting since October 2006 for him to debunk the Lancet study on premature deaths in Iraq as a result of the war Bush just had to go and start.

Posted by: Blue Girl on March 5, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

...and this is (part of) why I donated to Steve Young, voted for Steve Young, and spoke with friends and neighbors about just how nuts Campbell is. Sadly, he didn't win, but he came closer than we have in a while.

OC Progressive: I'm in another city in Campbell's district, not Irvine. Do you think Krom would outperform Young next time around? (And thanks for the blog link, was unaware of it -- will be tracking it for local politics.)

Posted by: OC Mike on March 5, 2009 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

It's okay. We'll wait here while you go find some facts to back up your bullshit.

You'll be waiting a while. Marler is uncritically repeating (does that surprise anyone?) an article in the WSJ that made its way to all the usual suspects in the right-wing blogosphere (FreeRepublic!) that itself offered no facts to back up the claim that high taxes were driving away entrepreneurs.

Basically, the WSJ article said that California is seeing a trend of emigration - so it MUST be the high taxes! What the authors ignored are the raft of articles written about this subject that actually, you know, INTERVIEWED business owners and CEO's on this topic.

The number one and two reasons for businesses relocating? The outrageous home prices and the high cost of living that make it difficult to attract employees. Taxes figure in but down the list, along with mediocre school systems.

Nobody had any problem fleeing to California when times were good, despite the evil tax rates, but I know logical consistency is too much to ask.

Posted by: trex on March 5, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Dang. This clown, John Campbell, represents my congressional district. I've voted against this clown (and the previous clown Chris Cox) every 2 years, and he's still here. I hope Beth Krom (whom I like a lot) kicks his ass and send him back home to Newport Beach.

Posted by: True_Blue on March 5, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Randian philosophy is the origin of this new meme being inflicted on us by the right wing in ever growing stridency: The prosperous are being "punished" for their success. Every time I hear that phrase I want to throw up. I certainly do not feel rewarded for being a "loser" in this economy. Although an affordable health care system would be certainly be nice, and if I have to "punish" the prosperous so that I don't have to pay 20K a year as a small business owner to insure my four member family...so be it. Consider yourselves punished for your prosperity Galtians!

I also trace to Rand et al. the histronic equivalence of "slavery" with taxation. I guess it's not like being pregnant: You can be a little bit of a slave if you pay low taxes, but more like a slave if you pay higher taxes. There is a perverse logic to this: They "slave" away to make millions and contribute to society, and the wicked government reaches into their pockets and "gives" their hard earned money away (thus rendering their labor "slave labor") to the undeserving poor, against their will! My retort: Fine, stop making money so you don't have to pay taxes. Of course the fact that the lower classes provide vital services for the rich as well as the labor and consumers essential for their wealth...oh, never mind. "Losers" taking advantage of "winners" is much more exploitive than any other social intercourse, right?

Of course there's the age old "class warfare" theme playing out as well...Well, I think the majority of folks have finally realized that yes, the very wealthy have gamed the system and perpetrated an undercover war against the lower classes for decades.

The game is over. I mean, seriously, what can you even say about a grown human being, in a position of leadership, who cites to a piece of "literature" by a hack writer with no economic or sociological expertise as the foundation for policy decisions. In the words of Barack Obama, the real grown up in the room, ENOUGH.

Posted by: ajaye on March 5, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Achievers"? "Creators"? Shee-it.

The billionaires and CEOs, to a man, are James Taggarts: corporatist bureaucrats, looters, and moochers. If you took their eagerly sucking lips off the taxpayer tit and took away their government-enforced protections against competition (like, say, the DMCA), they'd all fucking DIE. Every one of them. They're the biggest freeloading, parasitic bunch of welfare queens in human history. If there were even a remote chance of a genuine free market, these people would bankroll a coup d'etat to prevent it. In the words of ADM's Dwayne Andreas, patron saint of corporate capitalism, "The customer's the enemy; the competitor's our friend."

Posted by: Kevin Carson on March 5, 2009 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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