Ever wonder why we can’t seem to get away from the furor over President Obama’s mild proposal to take back some of the immense tax cuts for the rich that Bush the Second slid through Congress?
We’re only talking about people who earn more than $250,000 a year – 2 percent of the population, and they’d get to keep those windfall tax cuts for the first $250,000 of their income. Someone who earns $260,000 in gross adjusted income would see taxes go up only on that last $10,000. So the only people sustaining any real damage would be those whose earnings are in the millions. But how do you damage someone making $40 million? The answer is, you don’t – not by asking them to pay 39.6 percent on those last few millions. The top rate now is 35 percent. Incidentally, when Eisenhower was president the top rate was 91 percent.
So why all the fuss? Because those few people who sit atop the asset pyramid have, particularly over the last few decades, created a vast army of hacks whose principal job is to convince the rest of us that any legislative moves to establish fairness, by undermining these plutocrats, would somehow hurt all of us. So for the next couple weeks we’re going to hear a lot about how taking back some tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 will cripple the country and wreck “small business” (Joe the Plumbers) even though owners of small businesses are an entirely separate group of people who’d be untouched by the proposal. Don’t expect the corporate media to correct the fallacy. The weak-minded and ill-informed are quicker to accept it, but hammer away at decently intelligent people hard enough and often enough and even they might start to believe two and two is five, particularly when they become desperate, as so many American are these days.
Just who are the hacks spreading this bullshit and where do they reside? Some of their lairs can be found in the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the John Templeton Foundation, thousands of corporate lobbying groups in Washington and state capitals (including sinister institutions that labor for “families,” all the Murdoch enterprises, and thousands of legislative offices in Washington and state capitals. They all pay good wages for spreading propaganda and have recruited an entire army of mercenaries who write unceasing op-ed page pieces, snag “news” show interviews within the corporate media and repeat and repeat their Big Lies. Typically they don't stay in one job but ride a cutthroat career circuit. Their opponents are backed by far less generous resources.
I’m paid nothing for this blog. I started it because I felt I had to do something when Bush Junior sent my son to Iraq (twice). I also use it as a feeble attempt to sell my books (check out two of them on the right side of the page). But when I used to work as a straight-ahead journalist and my political opinions weren’t known, I was offered Dark Side positions on editorial boards and in congressional committee offices. I’d be lying if I said the temptation wasn’t strong, and I know plenty of people who went over. A good friend recently signed on with one of the institutions I named in the previous paragraph. Ethical positions that pay decently are fewer and fewer as print media die. And why try to work on the side of the angels when even a victory doesn’t spell victory? Lately victory just slows down the betrayal. Allow me to explain.
Sorry to keep hammering on this, but why did Obama select Frank and Jesse James (Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers) to drive the economic train? Probably for the same reason the Clintons wrecked the welfare system, rammed through world Trade Organization and NAFTA agreements that enriched mega-corporations at the expense of everyone else and worked closely with Republican Dick Armey to retract FDR’s cherished Glass-Steagall Act that prevented banks from making wild bets with their depositors’ money. But The Republicans still impeached Bill for lying about a few stray blowjobs. You can’t buy these people off. And Obama won't be able to placate them either. The army is in place and the tanks are fueled and on the move.