Sunday, July 31, 2011

Republicans & Fox News Think We're Ignorant Hillbillies!

I've always noticed that when I flip through all the cable and local news channels, all of them have reported on the current (Republican-manufactured) debt "crisis" and the debt ceiling. But most of these news channels also report on other issues as well...such as human interest stories, the weather, sports, the arts, and other "news". But the Fox News Channel seems to donate the majority of their time attacking Obama and the Democrats - and they always say that Obama and the Democrats only wants to spend, spend, spend.

Yes, the Democrats were FORCED to spend after the economic collapse that was brought on by Republican policies just before Obama took office in 2009. The Republicans (pro-Wall Street) voted for TARP (bank bail outs) but they didn't like the Democrat's (pro-people) Stimulus bill to help those that were affected by the banks failures, such as the provisions for extended unemployment benefits and food stamps for millions of laid-out workers.

Nary a word was ever mentioned about the hypocrisy of  Tea Party Joe Walsh (family values) who complained about putting his children in debt, but yet hadn't paid child support for years and is over $100,000 in arrears -  and being a responsible and fiscal conservative, also had his home foreclosed on for non-payment when earning $174,000-a-year. And Fox News had barely touched the Rupert Murdoch scandal that's been brewing (talk about the elephant in the room!) But we sure do hear a lot about Obama and Democrats in their "fair and balanced" reporting! *cough-cough-clear throat-gag-cough*

Fox News has been spending most of their air time complaining about how the Democrats just wanted to tax, tax, tax...but they never mention that it's just those earning a million dollars a year that are being targeted for a small tax increase. All the polls say Americans want to tax the rich, but Fox News omits the word "rich" and just says that "the American people want to cut spending and not raise taxes". And Fox News also wants you to believe that the "spending" Americans want to cut also includes Social Security and Medicare, but doesn't include defense and corporate welfare.

Fox News (and the Republicans and their radical right) spends most of its time complaining about the debt and blaming the Democrats and Obama, as though the Republicans have been innocent "fiscal conservatives" for the past 40 years, and never ONCE snuck an earmark into the budget. It would be relatively easy to "Cut, Cap, and Balance" without destroying Medicare and Social Security...just start taxing the uber-wealthy and the big corporations their fair share. Easy. Problem solved. Case closed. Next!

Of course, if you listened to the multi-billionaires who run Fox News and fund the Tea Party, that would be the worse thing we could do! These billionaires have all the money in the world, but they want to hoard more and more of the money supply at the expense of denying everybody else a Social Security retirement when they get too old and sick to work. Those billionaires would rather you worked your ass off until the day you dropped dead at your job, rather than to put one single penny into the government piggy bank.

The Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians keep repeating the same tired rants, over and over again:

  • The "job creators" shouldn't be punished for their wealth.
  • We shouldn't spread the wealth around.
  • Taxing the billionaires would hurt job growth.
  • We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.
  • When was the last time a poor man gave you a job?
  • The American people want this (The Paul Ryan Plan "Cut, Cap, and Balance" nee "Medicare and Social Security Reform")
  • We can't put this debt on the backs of our children and grand-children :(

Did I mention that they keep repeating this over and over again? Do those Bozos really believe that we're not only deaf, but stupid too? Do the Republicans think that just because they brainwashed a few evangelistic rednecks that still buy snake oil, that the rest of us are just ignorant hillbillies? I the only one who's noticed how desperate the talking heads and Republican politicians sound? They make it sound as if it were the very wealthy in this country who have been doing all the suffering during The Great Recession, and not the once-middle-class taxpayers. Is that supposed to be like some form of "reverse psychology" or something? Are we supposed to pity the hedge fund managers and executives at Goldman Sachs and Exxon-Mobil? Are we supposed to shed tears for the CEOs of Wells Fargo and Bank of America? Are we expected to feel sympathy for Paris Hilton and the lobbyists who spends millions of dollars bribing our elected representatives? I don't think so!

Do the Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians really think that every time they say "that's what the American people want", that we (the American people) are supposed to just believe them? And say, "Yes! That's what we want!" Do the Fox News talking heads and Republican politicians really think we're all a bunch spineless imbeciles and brain-dead moronic idiots? They're the ones that look like babbling lunatics, preaching the same old bullshit crap lies talking points over and over again. (Did I mention that they keep repeating themselves over and over again?)

Our nation’s capital (Washington D.C.) remains awash with powerful people who believe that civilization as we know it will take a terrible tumble if we dare raise taxes on the richest among us. For these powerful people, outside keeping taxes low on high incomes, nothing else really matters — not even, as the debt ceiling battle demonstrates, the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

History, of course, lends no support whatsoever to the claim that disaster awaits any nation that taxes its rich at significant levels. The United States, in the years after World War II, taxed those in the top-income-bracket at rates that never dropped below 70 percent — double today’s top marginal rate — and they all survived quite nicely. 

Powerful people who advocate for people like the Koch brothers and are committed to not taxing the rich simply ignore this history. They rely on theoretical constructs instead. Taxing the rich, they assert, will undermine incentives to work and save and down the road, leave everybody (rich and poor alike) much worse off. 

This theoretical claim has lots of fans in academia. A small army of analysts have fashioned quite comfortable careers developing intricate mathematical models that they say affirm the folly of subjecting rich people to high taxes. (This blogger calls them over-paid bullshit artists).

Economists Peter Diamond of MIT and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, two leading global experts on taxation and high incomes, have never enlisted in this army of economic and political propagandists. And now they’ve explained why — in a just-released new paper that goes mano a mano with the don't-dare-tax-rich-people mathematical model crowd. 

Their goal in this new paper: to present “the case for tax progressivity based on recent results in optimal tax theory.” Their conclusion: The federal government ought to be taxing income at the top at much higher rates than the federal government does now.

The top federal income tax rate on income in the highest tax bracket currently sits at 35 percent. The optimal rate, the one that the Diamond and Saez calculations suggest, could go all the way up to 76 percent. 

Diamond, a Nobel Prize winner, and Saez, a 2010 MacArthur “genius” fellow, haven’t written this new paper for the faint of heart mathematically. Their many equations and charts can make for tough sledding. But the two researchers do pause to offer a variety of easily digestible statistical nuggets along the way.

One example: In 2007, Diamond and Saez point out, the average federal tax rate on the nation’s highest-earning 1 percent averaged 22.4 percent. If the rate had been about double that — say 43.5 percent — the top 1 percenter share of our national after-tax income in 2007 would still have been twice as high as the top 1 percent’s after-tax income share back in 1970.

We’ve come a long way, in the wrong direction, in the four decades since 1970. The top marginal tax rate on our richest has been halved, from 70 to 35 percent, and our rich have become phenomenally richer. Getting that top tax rate back up, Diamond and Saez remind us, makes as much sense in theory as in real life.

But if you listen to Fox News 24/7, you'd think that by taxing the rich a little more will destroy humanity as we know it.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister in 1933

(* RE: The Case for a Progressive Tax - From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations - by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez, July 2011. Forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. EXCERPTED and edited from the article "The 'Optimal' Tax Rate on Ultra-High Income?" from TOO MUCH.)


  1. Besides "defense" and 3 wars, this is where most of our debt is from:

  2. THANK YOU for writing about this. Honestly. I love your site because it is the ONLY place I feel like gives me an idea about what is truly going on. I wish more people knew about this site. They would be mad as hell.