Monday, August 18, 2008

Districted: def. 3a: forced to be political at inopportune times

A family member sent me this excerpt today, when I was at work:
During the primaries Obama often spoke about the inequities in the tax system, with wealthy individuals not paying their fair share. He is willing to double the capital gains tax rate just “for purposes of fairness.” President Bush’s tax reforms are a particularly favorite whipping boy for Obama.

Yet, one is hard-pressed to see the wealthy not paying their share of taxes or Bush’s reforms increasing inequality. In 2006, the top 50 percent of taxpayers made seven times the income of the bottom 50 percent, but they paid 32.4 times as much in taxes. Does anyone really believe that those in the top 50 percent got even seven times the benefits from government that those in the bottom 50 percent received?

When Bush became president in 2001, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid about 34 percent of all income taxes. By 2006, their share had risen to 40 percent. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent had declined from 4 to 3 percent.

I responded thus:
I don't follow the line of reasoning.

Is Fox News saying here that people who make 6 figures or more per year are in need of 32.4 times as much welfare, medicaid, federal assistance, and police protection?

It's kind of silly to think of taxes as services purchased. Taxes go towards government programs that most of us agree we need: defense, roads, education, citizen assistance, etc. Do you think that you pay taxes just for yourself? Do you think that you should? This seems to be what Fox is saying.

Taxes can be a way of enforcing philanthropy. Not ideal, but would you trust every billionaire to be as giving as Bill Gates?

Also, "seven times" sounds like a huge amount, but look at the link: the average rate of the highest percentile was 22%. 88% of 500,000 is still more than enough to live on as well as to continue to innovate in your business. I just don't see the big deal.
I honestly don't get it. That is, I understand why the article was written. Fox News thinks its job is to bash Obama. In case you didn't know, Obama's a Democrat, and Fox's viewers generally don't like Democrats, so Fox keeps ratings high as long as the bashing and nitpicking continues. I understand Fox News's rationale.

I don't get the tax thing, though. Maybe I'll feel differently after 20 years' worth of paychecks being 2/3 the size I expect. Or maybe if I were ultra-rich, I would understand why I would need all $500,000. I really don't know.

A friend of mine once said that his girlfriend didn't understand how people could be Republicans. He told her, "It's easy to understand when you realize that people can be selfish and greedy."

Oh, that's unfair! I love my family, and it's full of Republicans. They're not like that. I think that a lot of the Republican votership is full of people who care about their country, their family, their faith, their ideals, their individuality, and lastly their wallets. It's too bad the Republican party has hijacked these good people. Because I don't think a non-greedy, unselfish, genuine, moral, or accountable Republican politician exists.

And yeah, I do think Democratic politicians are generally better people. Because I think they actually give a damn about people below themselves.

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