Even though I cannot stomach EJ Dionne's shrill swill, his column today, "Stupid politics, irrational fiscal policy drag the nation down" actually caught my attention enough to want to read it. I mean, could EJ have finally come to his senses and realized that the fiscal policies of the Obama Administration and this unchecked Congress are killing the economic future of our nation?
What was I thinking?
Of course not. The irrational fiscal policies of the stupid politicians were, as I learned a few lines into the column, conservatives' desire NOT to raise taxes. I actually stopped reading when he pulled out the tired (and wrong) liberal argument that raising taxes on the wealthiest of our citizens is not only proper, but necessary. Here's a spoonful of his drivel:
"The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States — the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years — are undertaxed compared with everyone else."
Really? Since when is the highest tax bracket NOT for the wealthiest Americans? How do you come to such a conclusion? Read on...
"Consider two reports from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. One, issued last month, highlighted findings from the Congressional Budget Office showing that "the gaps in after-tax income between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007," the period for which figures are available."
I am sick of hearing about gaps in this country. There are also gaps in work ethics, gaps in lawful behavior and gaps in how much one person seeks help from the rest of the citizenry through a strong-armed government and how much another seeks resolution of his own problems through his own hard work and sacrifices. Why don't liberals whine about the "gap" that exists between professional athletes, Hollywood coke addicts and the elite Democratic ruling class and your average Tea Party participant? Why doesn't that gap cause you to wring your hands and weep about the horror, the humanity, the injustice? But before I get too riled, there's more EJ to share:
"The other, from February, used Internal Revenue Service data to show that the effective federal income tax rate for the 400 taxpayers with the very highest incomes declined by nearly half in just over a decade, even as their pretax incomes have grown five times larger."
So notwithstanding the statistical irrelevance of 400 taxpayers, let's do some math using your numbers EJ. Let's just round off your "nearly half" to exactly 1/2. Let "R" be the tax rate of "just over a decade" ago and PTI be the pre-tax income of that same year. That means that just over a decade ago, each of these 400 heartless bastards paid R% of their pretax incomes or, R X PTI. So, just over a decade later (today) those same, even more heartless bastards with 5 times the PTI of just over a decade ago, but with 1/2 the tax rate only paid, let's see, 1/2 R X 5PTI = 2.5 PTI. And don't forget, EJ, by your own admission, that PTI number is an obscenely large number. Undertaxed my ass.
So over the last decade, because they drove themselves as free men and women to become more wealthy, these 400 wealthiest Americans paid increasingly larger amounts of tax dollars to the government such that they now pay more than twice what they paid 10 years ago. And since I doubt these people got rich winning the lottery, they probably have some seriously large business(es) that, if they are making so much money, probably are providing seriously large numbers of jobs. They are also probably people who use virtually zero social services, do not occupy the local law enforcers' time to keep them from harming their neighbors and who probably spend most of their time working and thinking of new ways to increase their wealth and make more jobs and provide yet again more taxes of which they use little. How dare these people call themselves "Americans."
Well EJ, if we stop pursuing your so-called "irrational fiscal policies" through "stupid politics", my guess is those 400 might not call themselves Americans anymore. Just like Skipper John Kerry, who no longer considered himself of the People's Republic of Mass when it came to paying luxury tax, they'll sail their yachts to their own private island or maybe build a canal to Galt's Gulch.