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View Diary: Taxing the rich: it's not about "fairness" (182 comments)

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  •  Excellent diary, Dr Marx! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, play jurist, Sparhawk

    Arguing for a tax on wealth inequality would play perfectly into the hands of those on the right who say liberals have a socialist/communist agenda.  That is to say, we want equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.

    Please join the Communist party.  The arguments you put forth would be the death of the Democratic Party.

    I know I will get flamed for this post, so let me state upfront that I agree that massive wealth inequality is bad for society.  And higher taxes on the rich, asset taxes and other forms of wealth redistribution are desirable.  I am simply saying that framing the argument for them as this diarist does is a loser in American politics.

    •  You deserve to get flamed for this man of straw: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, NoMoreLies, Yasuragi, Sychotic1
      Arguing for a tax on wealth inequality would play perfectly into the hands of those on the right who say liberals have a socialist/communist agenda.  That is to say, we want equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.
      The diarist didn't argue for equality of outcome. Instead, he argued that we should reduce the gulf between rich and poor. Big difference.

      You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

      by Tim DeLaney on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:00:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nonetheless (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noble experiment, play jurist

        I must agree with the tenor of noble experiment's comment.  The approach could backfire not only against opponents, but against many who are already sympathetic to the fairness argument.

        I don't fundamentally disagree with the diarist, but I'm not one who needs convincing.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:05:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't argue with the diarist's policy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, misslegalbeagle

        I took issue with his framing.  Republicans will brand it Communism and anyone using the diarist's arguments will be boxed into a rhetorical corner.

        My pijnt wasn't that the Diarist was arguing for Communism, my point was that the repositioning of the debate would fly close enough to it that it is a political loser.

      •  Just to be clear (0+ / 0-)

        The quote of mine you use above says that opponents will argue that we want equality of outcome.  It does not say that I think it is true, it is just that if we frame the argument the way the diarist suggests, we will have a difficult time defending that claim by our opponents.

        •  We are in agreement, but ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1

          The diarist was talking about the right argument, not the best way to sell that argument to Joe Lunchbox..

          Two different things.

          We Kossacks have a much more sophisticated view of politics than Joe Lunchbox. To sell that view, we have to use terms that Joe understands. I know that sounds cynical, but it's political reality.

          You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

          by Tim DeLaney on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:54:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't understand. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            brooklynbadboy, Sparhawk

            First you say the diarist was talking about the right argument, rather than the way to frame it in order to sell it.

            Then you say to sell it , we have to use the terms that Joe Lunchbox understands.

            I interpreted this diary as saying "fairness" is a bad way to sell it and "less inequality" is a good way to sell it.  And then the diarist goes on to give a long (but good) argument as to why reduced inequality is good.

            My point is that while a Democrat is spending 1000 words to explain that, his Republican opponent will just say "Communist" and the debate will be lost.  For, in reality, any argument in this country that is framed around changing results rather than opportunities is always attacked that way.  And the attacker always wins, because things that can be labeled Communism or Socialism or anything that even smells a whiff like it are DOA in America.

            Democrats get government programs done by labeling them as something other than Socialism, not by wrapping policies in Socialist arguments.

    •  Perhaps you prefer to use this argument (6+ / 0-)

      Inequality is Killing Capitalism as set forth by Robert Skidelsky?
      http://www.project-syndicate.org/...

      My take is that 'fairness' arguments works on some portion of our fellow citizens and that deeper arguments concerning the radically destructive nature of wealth inequality works better with others.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:05:45 PM PST

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    •  "From each according to his ability... (0+ / 0-)

      to each according to his need."

      Finest summary of how an economy should work that has ever been written.

      It beats the hell out of the current system that can be summarized as:

      From each according to his level of desperation,
      to each according to his power and ruthlessness.

      Capitalism sucks.

      Say it plainly and clearly.  You'll find many more Americans agree with that proposition than you imagine.

      •  Yeah, because Marxism has been a winner (not) (0+ / 0-)

        The greatest economic system yet developed is regulated capitalism.  It provides the greatest opportunity, the highest standards of living, and the greatest efficiency.   I'm not sure this hasn't been settled.

        I think you are wrong on how many Americans want a Marxist economic system.  It is very few.  How many members does the American Communist Party have?

        The problem is we need better government regulation that fairly assigns negative social impacts of economic activities.  Not a reconfiguring of our economic system.

        •  You're wrong. (0+ / 0-)

          Check out what's happening among the young:

          Young people -- the collegiate and post-college crowd, who have served as the most visible face of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- might be getting more comfortable with socialism. That's the surprising result from a Pew Research Center poll that aims to measure American sentiments toward different political labels.

          The poll, published Wednesday, found that while Americans overall tend to oppose socialism by a strong margin -- 60 percent say they have a negative view of it, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view -- socialism has more fans than opponents among the 18-29 crowd. Forty-nine percent of people in that age bracket say they have a positive view of socialism; only 43 percent say they have a negative view.

          I'm no fan of State Socialism, but the future lies in economic democracy, not Capitalism.  Change is a necessity for the sake of justice and environmental sanity.
        •  Regulating Capitalism is like... (0+ / 0-)

          putting a serial killer under house arrest.

          It never works for long because Capitalism, by its nature, accumulates power in the hands of fewer and fewer people.  These oligarchs inevitably undo any attempt at regulation.

          Witness the history of the U. S. as an example.  The same thing is happening in Europe.

          •  Please reread my comment (0+ / 0-)

            I said capitalism has provided the highest standards of living, opportunity and efficiency the world has ever seen.   I really think this is settled.  Can you point to a communist country that even remotely competes with the US or Europe on these fronts?

            Centralized planning is a failure.

            Properly regulated capitalism allows for Socialist policy where necessary (healthcare, pollution, government food inspection, SEC regulation, etc.).  The problem with capitalism isn't the concept, it's the political system that distorts the concept.

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