Friday, September 10, 2010

Of Robin Hood, Toto, and Scarlett

Soubriquet is all in favor of taxing the rich. Stephanie couldn't agree more, I'm sure, since a major plank in her platform has always been to tax the rich to fund social programs. That's fine and dandy. Everyone is entitled to his opinion, and no socialist progressive worth his salt would be against income redistribution.

The question remains, though, just how much should we be taxing these rich bastards who've spent their lives building their businesses and investments? I say take it all. Take every cent from the rich and give it to the poor, Robin Hood style, and then the progressives (and the poor) will be happy. Well, maybe not the progressive politicians who would want to remain wealthy. Like Algore and Hillary.


That would only mean the poor would then be rich and the rich would be poor. What would we have gained? Obama has just appointed a "diversity czar" to go with his 100 or so other czars, whose job it is to make sure the spoils go to a diverse lot. This czar told us a few days ago that a huge lot of important positions of authority are held by a lot of smart competent white people, but, nevertheless, and notwithstanding they are doing a competent job, it is time they should give some thought to stepping down and giving "someone else" a chance at power. I'm guessing the "someone else" he has in in mind isn't white. But then, neither is he. That probably colors his thinking. No pun intended.

So in the spirit of diversity, let's give the poor a chance at being rich, wot? Except there is a hell of a lot more poor than rich, so they aren't going to end up with as much money per head after the redistribution. That sucks. And somehow you just KNOW these new rich aren't going to be any more charitably-minded than the newly ex-rich were, so who is going to feed and clothe these new poor people who used to drive fancy cars and live in mansions? Screw them, I say. (It's ok to say that about ex-rich bastards, whereas it would be politically incorrect to say that about the current non-producers poor.


Here's a better idea: let's just take all the money from EVERYBODY, rich and poor, and put it in a big pile somewhere, maybe in a mall parking lot, and then just divvy it up equally amongst us all. Now there's a Karl Marx progressive dream if ever there was one. So we take all the money from the banks and the stock markets and sell off all the real property and personal property and we would have (in the U.S.) a mound of cash amounting to some 3 trillion dollars. Whoa. (At this point, try not to think of the fact that Obama just popped us 9 trillion into the hole recently, if you count the Bush dumbassedness as well. Keep your mind on the prize here.)

So we divide all this wealth up by 300 million drooling souls and each will get... what?...$10,000 or so? And if that's not bad enough, you just KNOW the old former rich would soon have the money back in their hands again anyway; the poor are not that good at making money with money, else they wouldn't have been poor in the first place. Ummmm.... some of them.


Something is wrong with this picture, no?

Hie ye back to The Wizard of Oz where Toto runs behind the curtain and unmasks the "wizard" manipulating all the fake controls. Now substitute "Federal Reserve" in place of "wizard."

It should be abundantly clear to anyone with half a brain that there is no real money in the USA or anywhere else anymore. Take out a piece of that boring green paper and look at it. "Federal Reserve Note" it says. It doesn't say "Silver Certificate" anymore, and it DAMN sure isn't backed by gold - not for a VERY long time.

Your money - your wealth - is only a promise. Backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States of America." What exactly does that mean? It means you are going down with the ship just like me, that's what it means. Let's hope the poor are good swimmers. We want no poor flotsam.

So, in a very real sense, we are only arguing semantics here, and "rich" and "poor" are relative terms. Actually the poor have more certainty as to what they will be tomorrow; the rich may be poor tomorrow.

Are you going to be the first to tell the rich that the "faith" has been broken? Sounds like you are eager to do that.

There is only one way to keep the magic balloon floating, and that is to kick Toto out of the way and close the curtain back up. It is too late, by far, to do it right - there just aren't enough assets in the US of A to back up THIS kind of debt. Put your hands over your ears and sing "DA DA DA DA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Everything will be ok.

Like Scarlett O'Hara, we will think of these things tomorrow and be at peace tonight.

I do understand that my definition of rich differs from Soubriquet's. The rich I'm talking about were hard-working and made sacrifices and used the extra money their sacrifices provided to invest in starting businesses and putting people to work; eventually they found themselves in nice houses and driving nice cars. They paid by deferring their gratification, unlike the poor in many cases. My friend Soubriquet sees the rich differently. He sees the CEOs and robber baron money movers and cheats making ridiculous salaries and bonuses that they could NEVER deserve, and he's right. Those people I would, as always, shoot behind the ear. I just want you to know who I am talking about when I defend the right of the self-made wealthy to keep their gains. I won't comment on ball players and other entertainers except to say it is we, the masses of hungry poor, who are the ones who drive that kind of worship and income.

Hit me with your best shot. Even if you have to flout logic to argue.

But Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man
That he didn't, didn't already have...


  1. Sigh.

    No one twists a notion like you do, RM.

    Would Warren Buffet count? He's a professional investor, self-made, who helps provide capital to businesses but has as small staff and doesn't manufacturer anything himself. (Ironically, he's a huge advocate for a higher tax on the rich, upping the estate tax and is currently going around to other multi-billionaires trying to convince them to leave over half their money to charities. Fairly successfully, too.)

    Why isn't a sports hero just as entitled to his salary as an executive VP? I'm just curious.

    No one thinks everyone can be made rich. But putting money in the hands of the poor and middle class (which, I'm afraid, your definition qualifies as) keeps is circulating buying food and goods and services and thence feeding employment.

    Giving great gobs to rich people gets more services per capita, but far less per dollar because much of their money sits in banks (many offshore) or floats back and forth pretending to be worth more than it is in financial services (hence "bubbles").

    The problem with your scenario and the moaning and groaning about how taxing hurts jobs is that we're talking about personal income here, not corporate. If people want to hire people, they keep the excess in the company to hire people and invest in new business - they don't take it home in multi-million dollar bonuses.

    If you make 12 million dollars a year, and currently pay 4 mill in taxes (hahaha! As if they really do!), is your lifestyle going to change appreciably if you pay 6 million instead? Probably not. Certainly, no one's going hungry.

    If you're making $100,000 and your taxes go up 50%, though, that's going to change things for your family, cause you not to buy things you might otherwise.

    Here's the real kicker, though. If personal income is taxed higher, do you know what rich people will do - they'll keep more in businesses so they don't have to have it taxed (because, even if you don't *need* it, many hate to have the gov't "steal" it) - which probably means more jobs and more investing in the people that do the real buying of selling of goods in this country.

    Which is one reason it worked (the tax rate for the rich was sky high) post-depression.

    I have never been an advocate for making every equal. I've been an advocate for children, even poor children, not to go hungry, for good hard-working families not to end up in bankruptcy because someone got cancer.

    To be honest, I'd rather spend the money on government jobs, even in the short term, because people with a little money in their pocket, spend it making more jobs for the longer term. Which is why the concentration of wealth in the very few always leads to messes like this. Always, from the Roman Empire until now.

  2. You comment thing is weird. It says it's too long (and it is), and I slap my head for not cutting and pasting.

    Then it posts it.

  3. I'm in favor even of their paying social security on all of their income. Instead of paying only on the first $101,000 they earn (which is the law now), why not allow us to NOT pay SS on the first $20,000 we earn? I've seen the numbers, and the government would draw in more SS money, yet the poorest would not have their pay docked.

    It is rules like this one (stopping the tax once a person reaches a higher pay bracket) that indicate to me that the system drastically favors the rich. But then, why would it not? The rich are the ones in power, the ones running the government, the ones running everything. I have no influence over these decisions.

    I also have no confidence that allowing the rich to keep their wealth will result in a better economy. So they hire a few more servants at their seventh mansion. Big deal.

  4. We have a Prime Minister worth £30 million orso. With the recent death of his father he will inherit more, his wife also drips in cash.

    His government (unelected by the people) has three million unemployed, claims 2.5 million on incapacity benefit ought to be working, and is throwing thousands of civil servants on the street.
    This leaves around ten million unemployed, not counting pensioners, while he allows big business to avoid paying Billions in taxes!

    Something wrong somewhere?

    Why dos he not tax the businesses (who support his party), why not create jobs, why not show some heart for the people (most who suffer do not vote for him.

    Socialism does not rob the rich, but it does object to 'fat cats' making the rest suffer!

  5. Hmmm. I never advocated taking all the money from the rich and giving it to the poor. I'm no Robin Hood. I'm all for people working hard and living within their means.
    In fact, I'm in favour of a completely level tax rate, though I'm no economist, so I'm sure someone else will explain why it wouldn't work.
    So in my world, everyone would be expected to pay a certain percentage of everything they earned into the common kitty. So the poor man would pay x percent of not very much, and the rich man would pay the same percentage of very much indeed. The rich could still become richer, the poor could still become poorer. shuffling money in and out of offshore banks in order to hide your real income would be advised against.
    I do object to sky-high salaries, I object to some executives taking remuneration in a year way above what some of those lower down the same company's food chain will earn in a lifetime.

    as for Adullamite's comment, has he forgotten that Mr Blair, the last but one "socialist" prime-minister was also a millionaire, whose government had three terms in which to make this country in their own image and signally failed to do so, that same Mr Blair who performed a sleight of hand trick to give us his successor prime-minister, a man he, in his own recently published memoirs, didn't think was up to the job? I seem to remember his party had its share of fat cats, its share of corruption, of corporate thieves.
    Quite frankly, I'm of the opinion that any person capable of the schmoozing, the backstabbing, the lying and the cheating, the promising of favours, that is necessary to get into a position of high office, should not be entrusted with the job.

    "e pluribus unum"? Don't make me laugh.

  6. I love reading your post and not to mention the responses left. As usual I am left without a response; both sides compel the same understanding.

    I happily stay in the middle.

  7. Wow Relax Max I concur with almost everything you've written in this post. I have to draw the line by shooting someone behind the ear for being wealthy though. When he's dead, it will not change your life in anyway. You won't get his money, you won't get his job, it will not effect you in any way unless of course you actually and not hypothetically shoot someone behind the ear. Then you're looking at some prison time.

    The general population needs to drop the jealousy trip and fend for themselves. We can all be making more money than we are now, it's just a matter of how much we want to work and sacrifice.

  8. Yes, money being rented out for others to use does just as good as money paid in wages. In fact it often IS used by the borrower to pay wages or start a business which employs people. Just out of curiosity, where do YOU think venture and expansion capital comes from?

    People lend their money to banks to rent out to people who use it to start or grow businesses. And other things.

    It is more convenient to lend your money to banks rather than find borrowers yourself. It just isn't as profitable as renting it to others directly. But that is riskier, though in return the return is greater if you win the gamble and you get paid back or you bet on the right company to do well.

    On the other hand, you may choose to lend your money to growing companies directly. This is riskier, as I say, so you would want to get more rent for your money since you run the risk of losing it altogether. This is done by buying shares in various companies you like. This is how people like Warren Buffet earn their livings. Other people, like Bill Gates, earned their money by being directly involved in making and selling things. The latter employed people and the former lends money to people who use it to create jobs.

    Incidentally, my cockles were warmed by the thought of you admiring old Warren. But I quickly wiped the tear from my cheek as I read your latest science fiction-like economic reasoning. Not calling you an idiot, though. No, Warren would not be shot (except for being boring) because he is lending his money out wisely and helpfully and is not ripping anyone off like the Wall Street brokerage criminals. Warren is a good example of how one can get SO VERY WEALTHY that he wouldn't miss huge amounts of money were he taxed at a higher rate. This is not true for most people who you consider rich, whether he talks to them or not. Martha Stewart is a billionaire but it'll be a cold day in hell before she volunteers to pay higher taxes. Did you know she used to be poor? Not important to you, I suppose.

    The thing you and others keep missing in my posts, deliberately I think, is that I hate people who rip other people off and who get rich without being productive, and I HATE a government who WILL NOT regulate these racketeers and protect their victims from them. Only the government can do that, and they simply won't. It doesn't matter what political party is in power, they simply won't do their job of protecting the helpless. Take those damn bonuses away from them and give THAT MONEY to the poor. Then sell their mansions and give THAT money to the poor. Then sell their paintings and give THAT money to the poor. Then shoot them behind the ear. Or at least drag them off to dungeons publicly.

    This is to say "yes" I think money being loaned to others is honorable and more often than not goes to create jobs.

  9. Blogger is having a problem digesting comments lately. But this really isn't my doing, Stephanie. :)

    Always copy your long comments to your clipboard until you are sure blogger has crunched and posted it properly. Hard to remember to do that though. I would hate to miss anything you have to say because blogger ate it and you gave up doing it over. :)

  10. A sports hero or actor or rock singer is entitled to whatever he can get. Did I say I didn't think that was true? I only said we are the ones who drive their high salaries by making them popular. In a way, entertainers, movie stars and sports figures are the ultimate capitalists is you believe in the law of pure supply and demand. If huge numbers of people don't like them tomorrow, they're dead.

  11. "No one thinks everyone can be made rich. But putting money in the hands of the poor and middle class (which, I'm afraid, your definition qualifies as) keeps is circulating buying food and goods and services and thence feeding employment."

    You seem to still be laboring under the misconception that rich people hide their money under mattresses in order to keep it out of the hands of the poor. Rich people buy things and thereby help the poor be employed. When a rich person owns a business and employs the poor and middle class, his money ends up in the hands of the poor by way of wages. You seem to think only the poor and middle class' spending is meaningful. It's all meaningful. What goes around comes around. I don't get your point.

  12. (a) You have no idea what I consider "rich". So try not to tell me what I think. I feel safe in saying that we have established you have no idea what I think, based on the number of times you've told me. And been completely wrong.

    (b) A substantial portion of investment money and "savings" used for renting out is also used as part of the financial game of playing who has it - few jobs made. Some is used to start real businesses or continue them (and thence jobs) but only a percentage (that be actually quite small) of money in "savings" (unless directly invested) goes to jobs. The rest goes to making banks and bankers wealthy.

    (c)You don't see to be absorbing what I'm saying. If I pay on hundred people $25,000 each a year, how much of that is spent every year on goods and services? All of it? Probably pretty close. Now one person making $2.5 million? If you think the same amount of economic stimulus is performed with that salary, well, you are deluded.

    Call it science fiction if you like. History sides with me.

  13. a) It doesn't matter what you think is rich or poor. I am not trying to put words in you mouth. Your opinion or beliefs have no bearing on the real economy. Only the stats from the U.S. government and their cutoff points define what rich, poor, and middle class means. It isn't a whim or something that varies because of how YOU define rich. The rest of us KNOW what rich means if we can read. Obama says anyone who makes over $250K a year is wealthy and should be taxed most highly. Our government also defines what the poverty line is and those who are below it are considered "poor." Those above the poverty line but who are not rich are "middle class." This isn't something up for debate or personal interpretation.

    b) ALL money not "squirreled away" in mattresses or buried in the back yard is "in play" and is part of the economy. Good or bad money, rich or poor money, church or drug money. Get over it. It is a reality. All money is at work for some purpose day and night.

    c) You are the one who is deluded. Of COURSE the $2.5 million is totally at work. It is spent for goods and services, invested, used to improve assets. It ALL finds it's way to directly or indirectly create jobs somewhere down the road. How can it not? To deny that is to deny the very role of the working class in our society and our economy: some people are workers and get paid wages. Those wages come from somewhere. Even the U.S. government employs people with money borrowed from people who have money to invest.

    You are bouncing around like a progressive ping pong ball who has no connection to the real world. You live in theory and your arguments are borderline bizarre. The first thing you might want to do is to rid yourself of this Cayman Islands conspiracy theory whereby the "rich" have all their money stashed down there in vaults or something. Realize that the wealthy are, in fact, simply regular Americans for the most part, barring the thieves which our government allows to prey on the innocent.

  14. Well, that was kind of rude. I'm sorry. I like that you bother to comment. You just have a knack of setting me off.

  15. @Shakespeare - I don't know if it is a good idea to start changing Social Security. It has problems of its own that would make for a whole new debate. You may be right though. I think there is an upper limit cap because there is a limit to the top monthly amount that Social Security ever pays. Once a person reaches that entitlement amount it is unfair to charge them premiums on something they could never hope to draw out upon retirement. But I guess you could just lump SS in with income taxes if you wanted. A reminder: congress has their own retirement plan and they don't pay into Social Security at all. Aren't they special? :) Would I seem cynical if I said I thought their retirement plan is better than the rest of Americans?

    I respect your opinion about not letting wealthy people keep the money they make.

  16. @Adullamite - I also don't like "fat cats" who have come by their money dishonorably at the expense of others instead of earning it properly. In the case of your PM, I have a feeling that even if he were poor, he would still have the same political views. That may not be true, though, since one's political views are often shaped by their financial circumstances. So you are probably right.

  17. @Soubriquet - I know you never said you wanted to take all the money from the rich. You said you had no problem taxing the rich, and that's all I reported. I didn't mean to include you (drag you down with me) when I continued later and said let's take ALL their money. That was just me trying to shock people into thinking.

    Your idea of a level tax rate (called a "fair" tax plan here) would never work. For one thing, it is fair. For another thing, the poor would have to pay "some" taxes. Those are fighting words here. Here, the poor pay no taxes. In fact, if they have enough children they get tax credits and get money back even though they paid no tax in to get back. Go figure. No, we are in love with our progressive tax where the poor don't reach the beginning threshold and the middle class pay a lower percentage of their income than the wealthy. I cannot even imagine the uproar that would erupt if congress ever changed our tax code to where the poor paid a small tax on their meager income. Best not to even think about that kind of thing. :)

    I too object to corporate salaries for the executives which bear no relationship to their actual work for the company, including bonuses. In fact I did a recent post about a Walmart executive who make more in an hour than some of the employees made in a year. Oddly, Walmart was defended by commenters to that post, so I mustn't just assume that everyone agrees with me that executive salaries and bonuses today are outrageously out of line many times.

    Mr. Blair was a staunch defender of the common man, a veritable shining god of Mother Theresa-like compassion for the down and out, second only to Lady Thatcher. I'm sure Adullamite would agree, and be thankful that Divine Providence smiled on that tireless public servant by showering him with a pound or two now and then. I guess I shouldn't put words into the mouth of the Scot who roars, though his admiration for the Iron Lady is well known.

    Now, as to the matter of E Pluribus Unum, surely you don't dispute that our federal government speaks to the outside world on behalf of the states as one voice, even though domestically the family does have internal squabbles. Or did I miss your point?

  18. @ Jeff King - Thank you for reading. Your self-control is admirable. I will warn you that you would be advised to wear some body armor if you decide to enter battle with the Stephanie one. Best you remain neutral. :)

  19. @Sue - Well, I'm not going to shoot anyone, for goodness sake. Sometimes you scare me by seeming to take some of the things I say seriously. But it is hard to tell with you.

    You say the general population ought to fend for themselves? As in take personal responsibility for their lives? Har. God, you've come to the right place. I am tired of fighting the entitlement crowd alone. Please come back. :)

  20. You're a good man, I think, RM, and I like you.

    Sometimes, however, I don't see how you can read the stuff you write and think it makes sense.

    But then you do watch Fox News.

  21. Using your logic, giving it to the government in taxes keeps it in play as well. It's not like they're sitting on it - it gets spent every year.

    So, if all that's so, where do economic downturns come from. Since all the historical evidence I've heard from economists is "science fiction"?

  22. Relax Max? You watch FOX News too? Some people think that's reason enough to shoot us behind the ear.
    I just had an exhausting comversation on FaceBook with a friend about Fox News last weekend, I'm spent. I couldn't do that everyday. That's why I have a humor blog. But yes I will return to help you fight the entitlement crowd.

    I must get back to work now, there are people on welfare counting on me.

  23. @Sue - I think it is opinion and analysis rather than news, but yes, I watch it a lot; it gives things the lower-rated "news" programs don't give. This way I can decide for myself. I wouldn't think of giving an opinion of CBS or MSNBC (except to scoff at their ratings) because I really don't watch them anymore and therefore am not entitled to an opinion. Not being a watcher, my opinion of what the do or their competency wouldn't be valid. Oddly, this criterion doesn't stop non-watchers of Fox from giving opinions of Fox News. Seems like sloppy science to do that.

    Thank you for threatening to come back and help me analyze the truth. Clarity is really all I am looking for. :)

  24. Odd, I distinctly remember you telling me you wouldn't read the New York Times and tacked several uncomplimentary comments on to that. Seems odd, in hindsight, to have such a strong opinion when you don't read it.

    Aside from calling you out, I don't blame you. I don't want Fox News because I have watched Fox News (at a relative's house) and found myself repelled. I didn't care for it and see no need to go back. Actually, I don't watch the news at all. I'm notified of news items and check them the ones that interest me using multiple sources.

    I wish news was objective, but, unfortunately, it's all about stirring people up to get attention/rating/etc. That kind of thing is too manipulative to appeal to me (and Fox is not the only one doing so).

  25. One thing I heard about a "flat tax" that appealed to me was the idea that any time the Government attempted to raise that tax, every taxpayer (i.e. every citizen) would be on his feet demanding to know why.

    What we have now is a classic case of "Divide and RULE" (not "conquer").

    We are being distracted by a class warfare being stirred up as a smokescreen. The real issue is to limit Government spending and power, not who should be required to finance it.



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