Friday, July 10, 2009

OMG. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Funding Health Care With a Surtax
Little darling, it's been a long and stupid debate.

I'm afraid I gave the impression yesterday that I thought the fate of Manhattanites makes $200K+ was infinitely more tragic than the fate of single mothers making $20K.
Little darling, it seems like years since you made sense.
Not so.
Here comes the dumb.
The point wasn't that beleaguered Manhattanites are particularly worthy of our sympathy--though there really is a disconnect between the lifestyle being taxed in Manhattan and Omaha at similar levels of income.

Here comes the dumb.
Rather, it's that almost no one, including people who are quite affluent, seems to have realized that they're on the hook for the spending they support. Yet the more practical plans for funding Obama's expensive agenda involve things like a VAT, which will fall on the activists most enthusiastic about national health care. Yet none of the think tankers I know believes that they are undertaxed, or can easily spare 10% of their wages.

Why is that the most practical? Look at our current deficit. There's a reason that most countries do not attempt to fund large welfare states with a very progressive income tax, the way we do*.
She's so wrong, duh na na na na na na na na:

Wikipedia's info on French, Dutch and British tax rates. All of them are progressive. The only exception I could find was Sweden (maybe). Most other countries didn't have detailed info on their tax rates that I saw.

Also, obligatory mention of the fact that our top marginal rates used to be THREE TIMES HIGHER than they are now and we did not all die. SHOCKOLA.
Paying for a huge new entitlement which will, at best, grow steadily during downturns, should not be done with a tax that will plummet the way progressive income tax revenues seem to during a depression. See: California, State of.
Megan really loves to be ignorant of California. I find this hilarious. There are 8 million ways in which California is stupid but Megan can't correctly nail down one of them.

California is at war with itself and the referendum system has hamstrung the legislatures. I know I've mentioned this before so I'll just move on.
But at any rate, I was in no way trying to argue that it's unfair to raise taxes on wealthy people. Only that a) doing so seems to raise shockingly little revenue and b) fairly wealthy people seem to be getting a nasty surprise from this, and I expect that the surprises will get nastier as the administration is forced to dip into lower income quintiles who were told to expect a tax cut.
Her argument for why raising upper marginal tax rates is bad supposes that wealth mobility allows the wealthy to flee these tax rates, causing future economic losses. Her proof is that immediate increases garnered "only" $100,000,000,000. I predict that the sun will be up at midnight and offer as evidence that fact that it is up now.

Now, the asterisk. It's awesome.

* (Yes, yes, I know the liberals are squirming in their seats, waiting until they can tell me that it is a MORAL OUTRAGE that I called our system progressive. "Progressive" is a slippery term with many meanings, but in this case, I merely mean that our tax system collects a vastly disproportionate share of its income from the wealthier members of society. The individual income tax, which is the largest single source of revenue, collects 75% of its money from the top 10% of taxpayers. FICA is regressive in incidence, but still collects most of its income from the higher quintiles, for the unsurprising reason that higher quintiles have more income subject to the tax. Calculating corporate income tax incidence is functionally impossible, but one hopes it falls more heavily on the rich than the poor--if it doesn't, we ought to get rid of it.
I'm not sure what liberals get outraged over using the correct term for PART of our tax code. I think they might get mad about the parts that AREN'T progressive. Me, I'm more outraged that she uses bullshit numbers (75% comes from 10%! Wahhh! How much wealth does that 10% control, you disingenuous bitch?!?!). I get angry because she makes bullshit claims like that fucking FICA, which goes away above $100,000, is fucking progressive somehow. It drives me crazy that she totally ignores all of the tax shelters, incentives and other laws that make corporations better off than the humans of which they themselves are only a legal facsimile. Yeah, that kind of idiotic free-market cock sucking is what makes me morally outraged. I'm sure someone out there is cringing at the use of the word "progressive" though, and has absolutely no reason to do so. Megan was just using it's dictionary definition and inferring anything about her world view from her use (and vigorous, preemptive defense of said use) is something only poopy heads do.
"You are missing the point!!!" you want to say, but for this purpose I am not. I am not making a normative argument about the justice of American tax distribution. I am making a positive argument about the dependence of American tax revenue on the income of the upper quintiles.)
She still seems to be confused about the definition of the words "opinions" and "arguments." Opinions can be had for any reason, but arguments require evidence and precedent. Making shit up and referencing nothing does not constitute an argument. Talking about think tank people "I know" and imbuing them with such shallow idiocy that they don't know that health care will have to be paid for is called FUCKING BULLSHIT, not an argument.

Na na na. Na na na. Na na.


clever pseudonym said...

"Rather, it's that almost no one, including people who are quite affluent, seems to have realized that they're on the hook for the spending they support."

Rather, I must quite acquiesce that I fail to surmise this sentence definitionally*. Is Megan saying that us multitudes that comprise the lesser hoi polloi have to pay taxes to pay for stuff and that when we want more stuff we're too stupid to figure out that we have to pay more taxes?

*That's Meganese for "I don't get it."

bulbul said...

There's a reason that most countries do not attempt to fund large welfare states with a very progressive income tax
No she didn't. For the love of Metatron, tell me she didn't.

Oh fuck me, she did. That's it, I give up. She can't be for real. No one that ignorant of basic facts can possibly consider themselves an econowriter, let alone be hired by a respectable publication. The only explanation I have is that Andy Kaufman is alive and kicking.

OTH, NoT: is a list like this one (bottom) what you were looking for?

NutellaonToast said...

Unless I'm missing something from your link, that only shows average or maximum tax rates, not degrees of progressiveness.

Mr. Wonderful said...

In all sincerity: how DOES she account for the economic growth of the 1950s, during which the class she admires and to which she aspires was taxed upwards of 90%?

And, now that I mention it, how does she reconcile her belief in lower taxes with the recurring bubbles, scandals, and recessions that have accompanied or followed each cut?

It's enough to make you think that the upper classes are no different from unruly teenagers, who need strict regulations, tough love, and the threat of being sent to military school to keep them in line.

bulbul said...


hm, might not be the correct link,could have been one of those on the bottom of the page. Ah well, it's not like someone pays us for this.

M. Bouffant said...

I think her real point (admittedly based just on what NoT pulled) is that people she knows aren't throwing fits & foaming at the mouth about any tax of any kind being raised on anyone who makes enough to be taxed.

This whole "don't you understand you have to pay for it?" thing is absurd. Most Americans who don't hate their country are more than willing to pay their way, possibly because they aren't obsessively fantasizing that every dime of their taxes goes to dirty poor people.

[T]here really is a disconnect between the lifestyle being taxed in Manhattan and Omaha at similar levels of income.

I'm sure there is, & I'd love to see a "life-style tax" imposed on McMansion owners in Omaha, & a reduction in taxes on people living simply in cities. (Me, for example. If I paid taxes in the first place, that is.)