Pretending It’s All Normal
Oh, dear. Well, we knew it was going to take a while for people to start recognizing that the transfer of wealth to the top by the political class was neither an accident nor mere incompetence but a deliberate sell-out masquerading as one, the other, or both. A couple of examples provided by Mark at Norwegianity should suffice to make the point.
First, there’s CAF’s Zach Carter, who is still ducking the new reality in favor of the old one that Goldman et al sliced-and-diced into horsemeat 2 years ago.
NPR’s Planet Money recently did a fun segment on the classic board game and its relationship to actual economics, featuring commentary from a couple of actual economists. Russell Roberts, an economist at the notoriously conservative George Mason University, argued that Monopoly could be improved with a new tax feature. If successful Monopoly players had to transfer some of their wealth to their less-prosperous competitors, Roberts said we could turn children off to the evils of progressive taxation. Here’s the money quote: “You could get kids to resent taxes at an even earlier age.”
James Kwak does a nice job emphasizing that taxes actually do something usefulfor society, but I think Roberts’ point creates a deeper and more obvious dilemma. Roberts is arguing that the basic goals of real, living human beings are essentially the same as those of a Monopoly player. A Monopoly player wins by pushing everyone else into total poverty in order to control all resources and establish complete economic domination over his peers. People in the real world who are fueled by such motivations are not ordinary, model citizens—they are completely insane. Life is not a quest to get our hands on as much stuff as we can so our neighbors don’t get to it first. A society that allows a few people to establish supreme economic dominion over all others is not a society at all—it’s just a bunch of nasty brutes trying to destroy each other.
Well duh, Zach. Welcome to Wall Street’s World, where “people fueled by such motivations” may be insane in the old context but in the new one are rewarded by being made the Masters of the Universe and put in control of, you know, everything. Maybe you missed that part of the last 10 years. Long bathroom break. Something.
Then there’s David Dayen at FDL who is shocked, shocked that Democrats, of all people, are ignoring polls to vote Right.
A new poll from CNN/Opinion Research shows that only 31% of Americans want to see all the Bush tax cuts extended, and 51% would rather just extend those at the lower end of the scale, and let the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Another 18% would rather see them all expire.
Even 50% of REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES don’t want to see all the tax cuts extended.
So basically, the movement to extend all the tax cuts doesn’t come from the bottom up, it comes from the top down.
A surprise. Really. The govt is ignoring the will of the people, even if they’re Republicans, in order to make sure the rich won’t have to pay taxes? Who woulda thunk it? (Not counting those of us who predicted it 2 years ago, of course.)
Ho hum. Wake me when they do something truly surprising. Like voting against Wall Street. Now that would be news.