William Thien

Class Warfare or Death Math?

Posted on: September 21, 2011

I’m sifting this through the anti-politics filter and examining what remains. There are a few shiny pieces that appear to be something of value.

For example, the Republicans and Democrats are at odds over the administration’s desire to raise taxes on the very wealthy so that the “very wealthy” (I’m not sure how this is defined, by the way) pay “their fair share,” a phrase used by the administration, in correlation with something called “The Buffet Rule,” which has been bandied about as well and involves a discrepancy in tax rates for those who pay on a scale related to their income and those who earn their income from investments, which is taxed at a lower rate, generally fifteen percent of their income, much less than a person earning a paycheck pays in taxes.

The interesting facet of the administration’s desire to raise taxes on the very wealthy in order to achieve “tax fairness” is that there is currently no motivation on the part of “the very wealthy” to seek “tax fairness.”

In other words, as long as the very wealthy pay at a lower rate, there is no desire on their part to see that taxes go down for those who pay at a higher rate but who make substantially less. There is no motivation for the very wealthy to work to achieve “tax fairness” for those who make less but pay higher taxes. Yet, many who make less but pay higher taxes fend for the very wealthy merely by default when they chant the mantra “no new taxes.” That, ladies and gentlemen, could be called “dirty work” if it were not for the mere fact that the mantra “no new taxes” has universal appeal.

And if the very poor don’t pay any taxes, and the very wealthy pay fewer taxes, that leaves only the middle class to pay almost all of the taxes. So, without raising taxes on the very wealthy, the mentality in Washington that the middle class is an endless font for taxation will persist.

If the very wealthy are taxed at the same rate, then they will be motivated to see that their taxes are brought down, which if they pay at the same rate as the middle class, will then benefit the middle class since as a result if the very wealthy lobby to see lower taxes and it is directly related to the taxation of the middle class, then the middle classes will benefit from the efforts of the very wealthy to see their taxes lowered as well.

Warren Buffet may think it is unfair that he pays at a lower rate than his secretary, but I’d be willing to wager he is not in the majority when it comes to the generalized sentiments of the very wealthy. Maybe, maybe not. And perhaps rightfully so. Even though the very wealthy pay at a much lower rate, they often pay much more than anyone else per person. They pay, indeed.

So as a tool that may in the future leverage the interest of the “very wealthy” in seeing their taxes lowered, “tax fairness” is one of the more interesting aspects to come from the current administration’s proposal to tax the very wealthy at an equivalent rate to everyone else.

But, such ideas still involve the act of raising taxes. And I suspect any such move, and any such move should be considered with extreme caution.

Furthermore, even though as it has been said that the new proposal is “math” and “not class warfare,” history reveals that all class warfare is essentially that, math. Often, it is evil math. Genocidal math. Diabolical subtraction. Economic servitude. Role reversal. Death math.

Is that what this taxation program is, though, evil, death math? No, but it could perhaps be defined as “socialist math,” perhaps “marxist calculus,” and in the first few permutations of that equation, Stalin, for example, dealt with things rather harshly, most would say if they knew, in a rather diabolical fashion with the starvation of the Ukrainians and the systematic purges.

Nevertheless, I do not believe that is the current administration’s intent at all. And I see something favorable in some of what remains after being sifted through the politics filter, such as the fact that the administration has a solid understanding that education is also very important to this country and that teachers and educators, for example, have been amongst those to suffer the most in the current economic downturn. Funding education is clearly an indication that the administration does not have nefarious intent.

Yet, the mere fact that you can’t just take what’s good from the proposal and toss out everything else is to me an indication that our system is almost entirely broken, all rigged, tied up perhaps. And we must be careful, ever so careful.

Nothwithstanding…that the middle class suffers at both ends as a result of the current system of taxation with the very wealthy paying fewer taxes and the very poor little at all. And as I’ve said before, the middle class is the economic engine of this country. Neglect, starve through excessive taxation, or kill off the middle class, and you kill the economy…kill the economy, kill the country. The acts go hand in hand. One leads to the other from front to back and back to front. There, ladies and gentlemen, is some math to consider.

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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