It’s time to gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s the popular idea that the successful are obliged to “give back to the community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that the wealth of high-earners is taken away from “the community.” And beneath that lies the perverted Marxist notion that wealth is accumulated by “exploiting” people, not by creating value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords to roll off the (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads to spring into existence.That's gold, right there. It's outright genius. You couldn't do a better impression of a now-aging, bitter college Randian tilting at all the old windmills if you tried, nor could you capture the sniveling sense of almost-anarchism, if anarchism weren't just so much bother, nor paint such a vivid picture of the sheer contrarian, possibly hard-liquor-inspired pissedness at the very notion of the human species needing a "community" or "society" or "nations" at all. The title premise—that the "99%" should be giving more to the "1%", because the rest of us only are allowed to live our meager lives thanks to the genius of the high income earners and their glorious abilities to bundle derivatives and the like in new and exciting ways—is pitch-perfect.
Let’s begin by stripping away the collectivism. “The community” never gave anyone anything. The “community,” the “society,” the “nation” is just a number of interacting individuals, not a mystical entity floating in a cloud above them. And when some individual person–a parent, a teacher, a customer–”gives” something to someone else, it is not an act of charity, but a trade for value received in return.
Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.Oh God, please stop—it's too good. The only way to make it better would be to add a line like "and fuck you, cute puppies, and all you stand for."
Imagine the effect on our culture, particularly on the young, if the kind of fame and adulation bathing Lady Gaga attached to the more notable achievements of say, Warren Buffett. Or if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind. (Since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created.)
The rest of Forbes attempts to present itself as a place that knows things about things, but much like the Wall Street Journal and other conservative outlets, that illusion is severely wounded by having the people who purport to know things actually write down what those alleged things are. No, I would not take financial advice from these people, God help me, nor from anyone who so much as brushed elbows with them in a hallway. But if every satirist in the world were to die tomorrow, we would at least still be able to look to certain op-ed pages and get all the laughs we might need. I dare say we could barely tell the difference!
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Open Thread for Night Owls, Early Birds & Ex-Pats:
|Today, at his "No Comment" blog at Harper's, Scott Horton took note that when some bureaucrats at the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service that handle federal oil leasing royalties were found to be literally in bed with corporate officials with whom they do the public's business, the Public Integrity Section of Cheney-Bush Department of Justice chose not to prosecute. And they gave no reasons why.
Like wise with Mark Foley. You remember him, surely, the Republican Representative from Florida whose sexually graphic emails and instant messages to former and currently serving Congressional pages made a big splash in 2006. The DoJ is letting that go without prosecution, too.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, have we finally squashed the "too soon" reflex? (Has Olbermann ever come around on that?) "How to silence the NRA." "The Growing Myth of Mass Shootings and 'Gun-Free Zones.'" Joan McCarter explains Congressional budget chaos & maps out how we got here. The 2nd part of "repeal & replace" is out, but it's a secret. News breaks that the House CR will... raise the debt ceiling! "The money behind the shutdown crisis." Gin and Tacos on CR cheerleading at The Corner. "Five biggest worries heading into the budget showdown." "Navy Yard Shows Fallacy of NRA's 'More Guns' Solution."