He Needs A Blog

Here’s another of what might become a regular feature at Seeing the Forest – He/She Needs A Blog. (Remember, this is how Digby’s great Hullabaloo blog got started, thanks to Eschaton.)

Thumb sent the following. It’s good.

A right winger posted this: “My simple definition of the left and the right. The left wants MOST of your money and will decide for you where it will be spent. The right wants you to decide where it’s going to be spent since it’s you who earned it to begin with.”

My response:

Uggh! Sophomoric propaganda.

There’s been this tendency throughout our millennia of human development that the wealth of any given group accumulates to a very small percentage of the population, where it stays, and subsequently nepotism then creates the ruling class whose mission inevitably isn’t to provide for the common good but to insure this caste system remain in place (starting wars has historically been a common means — not only does it rally a disgruntled population around you but you get to steal the wealth of another nation at the same time. Win win). It’s called an aristocracy. For the last 1,500 years its instrument of civil control, and moral justification for the ensuing barbarism, has been the Church. Because the Church had this bad habit of ordering the torturing and killing of those that didn’t subscribe to their narrow view of Christianity (on the minutia of doctrine Protestants and Catholics have been taking turns slaughtering each other for 400 years alone, and don’t even get me started on the Crusades . . . or the witch hunts) people fled to this new world called America. But it wasn’t just the freedom from religious persecution that drove people to America but to escape from the aristocracies of Europe as well. It’s why we formed a Republic and created this grand experiment called Democracy.

The fly in the ointment was exposed by the late 19th century when American industrialists discovered that they could become the modern equivalency of an aristocracy: a plutocracy — a distinction without a difference. At the turn of the century the vitality of our democracy (helped along by the Teapot Dome scandal something so common today that it barely breaks the news any longer) was able to create a tax system that prevented us from becoming simply a modern version of Europe’s aristocracy. Because of this tax money being spent on the public good, through dedicated public works and education, we generated the world’s most vibrant economy. Because of that, even though the top tax rate was 90%, we didn’t lack for creating more millionaires than any other country. We were all much wealthier both because of how many people were spending money and because as a meritocracy it truly was the best and the brightest that rose to the top of our institutions.

This class warfare disguised as populism by millionaire corporate leaders, their purchased politicians and wholly owned media outlets (which, short of the Internet is almost total) is a battle that’s been slowly losing ground for 30 years now, and not the least of it is because of simplistic propaganda like your simile. If it were honest it would say, “The left wants to support the public good (schools, training, police, fireman, veterans, infrastructure (physical and virtual), the elderly (social security – medicare), libraries, environmental protections, national parks, unemployment/medical insurance, intellectual exploration (from space to alternative energy to medical research), international outreach, arts [hey, that’s us], music . . .) and the right wants you to think you’re keeping your money because they don’t believe in paying for the [potentially] greatest society in the history of humankind, because they don’t believe our ability to create our own wealth has any relationship to the health of our public institutions.

If you don’t believe this is the case then explain to me how all of those things I just listed as “public good” have been cut or underfunded, including THIS after the first day of the invasion, and then, the Republicans just this week passed another $800 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

(Malcome Forbes used to say, “I earned my money the old fashioned way, I inherited it.”)

Only through the strength of our society do I have the opportunity to earn my money, build my little empire as it were, in the first place. I pay my taxes and I don’t bitch about it because I’m grateful to be an American. I’d say that if someone doesn’t like it they can go to another country but it seems that our wealthiest corporations have already done that at least a PO box in Bermuda so that they don’t have to pay any taxes. Yeah, real good Americans, we wouldn’t want to make them pay for anything because, as you say, they earned it, right?

We have the lowest tax rates in the industrialized world and I’m proud to be a contributing member of this great nation. I just wish the Right felt the same way.

Oh, and here’s a real link if you want an intelligent discussion of the relationship between taxes and a healthy economy.

Good stuff, Thumb! Keep it up.