I came across a particularly galling piece by free marketeer Geoff Colvin on the CNN Money website this morning, and thought I'd share this astounding rehash of Republican campaign season lies, misdirection and doublethink with the community.
The basic premise is rich people aren't rich if they don't feel rich, and that Obama is a socialist, which is bad for the economy.
Oh, and he has coined a very sympathetic term for the poor, poor, pitiful rich in America:
"The Working Rich"
Oh, the humanity!
Check this out;
Considering Geoff Colvin is the senior editor for Fortune magazine, I'm gonna guess right off the bat on which side of President Obama's $250,000/year income tax proposal he personally falls. However, since he writes articles with terms like "net worth" and "income" all the time, a search has so far been fruitless in determining his personal wealth. Since Colvin didn't feel it necessary to disclose any personal stake in this issue, I didn't bother with an exhaustive search for it myself.
Checking did turn up some very orthodox Republican slant to his body of work, though:
"The Tax Debate We Should Be Having" treads the well-worn astroturf that the top few % pay a larger share (in dollars, not proportion) than all the freeloaders at the bottom.
He feels bad for Donald Trump because his wealth has fluctuated so wildly (back in 2002!)
Just after Obama's inauguration, he penned an article called "Why We Should Help the Rich", which opened with this astonishing line;
Absolutely everyone has a really good idea for how Barack Obama should design his economic plan, but here’s a proposal you probably haven’t heard elsewhere: Let’s help corporations and the rich.
The idea - call it plutocratism - may sound ridiculously unsalable, since it entails helping the two most loathed players in the entire U.S. economy, but it is serious.
Oh, and he wrote a book called "Talent is Overrated" which trumpets that old saw about hard work being all that's needed to make brazillions of dollars, which dovetails nicely with an article for CNNMoney titled "Are Americans Too Lazy? America's Workers Can't Compete Globally Unless They Work Harder".
So if you haven't read his stuff before, now you get an idea. Today's panic-stricken piece is worth reading in full, mainly because it's mercifully short, but also because it exemplifies the interweaving of cherry-picked facts, analysis of convenience, and supremacy of assumptions based in emotion that are the hallmarks of the disaster-prone leadership of the Right in all matters economic.
As I stated in the intro, the main thrust of the piece is that rich people aren't rich if they don't feel rich, to wit;
Only about 5% of U.S. households have annual incomes over $200,000. The flaw in that definition of rich is that plenty of families making $250,000 a year don't feel rich.
They don't feel rich, so they're not rich. (Pretend you didn't notice that though only 5% of Americans make over $200k, most who make over $250k are feeling put upon. Because that's what Colvin just did there.) I wonder if that magical thinking would apply to illness or the pulling effect of gravity...
Before we move on, a quick pop quiz:
Obama's tax plan will raise income taxes on
a) Families making over $250,000 per year
b) Individuals making over $250,000 per year
If you are affected by this tax increase, the amount subject to the higher level of taxation is
a) Every red cent you report earning
b) Only the portion above the $250,000 cutoff
If you answered (a) to either or both questions, then you must be Joe The Plumber, who we all know thinks with his gut and emotions, which is apparently ok with Geoff Colvin.
He "bolsters" this entirely subjective and emotional definition of "rich" with two very dubious pieces of evidence; an outlying definition of "a high-net worth individual", and the pretty irrelevant fact that some places are more expensive than others in which to live.
The reason I call the SEC's definition of a high-net-worth individual an outlyer is twofold; first, from the article
a high-net-worth individual is someone with at least $750,000 parked at a particular institution or someone the firm "reasonably believes" to have a net worth exceeding $1.5 million.
Those are pretty big loopholes, aren't they? Some people "reasonably believe" in the Easter Bunny, and, last I checked, rich people made a habit of putting their money in lots of different institutions. But the SEC isn't really the governmental organ in charge of defining wealth brackets, either. That's the other reason this definition is off the farm.
Speaking of farms, I certainly won't argue with the contention that some places are more expensive than others in their cost of living. In fact, that was a big reason I chose to live where I do. An honest assessment of my career path earning potential and the level of luxury I could realistically expect eliminated Park Avenue pretty quickly, I can tell you. But apparently, Nassau County private schools and McMansions are a bit heavier on the wallet than those in Abilene TX, so living at the same level of excess in both places is inherently unequal. It almost sounds like closet socialism, that part...
Colvin then moves on (or back) to flog the old "the barely-rich pay more proportionally than the super-rich, and they're not so clever as to hide their money well" canard. Notice the slippery use of proportional wealth in this instance, but the application of absolute wealth when comparing these folks' tax burden to the other 95% of Americans'. Notice also the tacit approval of the weathiests' ability to cheat on their taxes.
But the truly douchenozzley part he saves for last:
Soaking the rich doesn't stimulate the economy. It only changes who is doing the spending - the government or private citizens.
Oh. Now we're talking about stimulating the economy. I could have sworn the whole thing was about how "the working rich" were being screwed by a socialist president.
Nice strawman, there, Geoff. You even got in a swipe about big government's penchant for spending. I'll bet you wrote reams of that stuff while bushco and your buddies were pillaging the economy these last several years. I just can't seem to find any on the intertoobs.
But he's STILL not done proving what a cheap tool he is for the Tricklers. I'll shorten the last few paragraphs down to 'greatest hits' size:
Soaking the rich doesn't even seem to increase tax revenues...The best alternative is to rein in spending...let's be sure not to increase the stimulus, as Obama has suggested we might, and not let taxes rise in 2011 as they're scheduled to do...There is one thing that soaking the rich will do effectively, and that's redistribute wealth.
A pitch-perfect recitation of every failed trickle-down, pity-the-rich, disproven sound bite of the last campaign. Notice there are no complaints about the ongoing and much bigger bailouts of the financial industries (which destroys all that careful concern trolling over deficits), the clever use of the word "seem" to make the reader doubt both logic and mathematics, and the evil spectre of "wealth redistribution", which all self-respecting greedheads know only applies if the wealth is redistributed from the few to the many, never in the opposite direction.
I simply wanted to check the Dow, because lately it's like watching box scores, and this self-serving, apologist shite damned near ruined my morning. As I finish this diary, this horribly misbegotten piece of propaganda has ascended to the top story on CNN Money.
I guess you got one right, Colvin; talent IS overrated.