Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SACRIFICE - November 25, 2010

I am getting heartily sick of listening to the paid lobbyists and their hirelings claiming that the various plans being put forward by the representatives of the proprietor class to the effect that we all have to sacrifice. At the worst, this supposed equality of sacrifice does not apply to special provisions protecting the rich and powerful, who get special provisions for themselves in the tax laws. Only slightly less onerous are the provisions, like increases in per capita taxes or per vehicle taxes or tuition charges for the children. Even flat taxes like consumption taxes fall far harder on the poor than on the rich. And the provision that e.g. income taxes on hedge funds are lower than on genuinely earned income, are especially onerous. But even the supposedly progressive taxes are far from the category of equal sacrifice. How much must you take from a billionaire, or even a mere millionaire before it matches the suffering of a worker who has been unemployed for over 2 years, and no end in sight, and has perhaps lost his home, maybe his marriage or his mental health, or possibly even his life, while the President tells him he must bear the losses stoically until the Depression cures itself? Or the stockholder who maintains a fictitious identity and foreign address where his dividends are paid? The charade in that case is especially onerous, as it deprives other people of the opportunity to rid themselves of their deficits accrued over decades of under-taxation that have enabled those debts to be accumulated? The bulk of the US government has been bent in the direction of holding the tax man away from “bothering” the rich while they have raided the Treasury for decades. As Anatole France once famously noted, the law in its supposed equality forbids both rich and poor from stealing bread, begging in the streets and sleeping under the bridges at night. That is the kind of equality of sacrifice that GOP is urging upon us as a substitute for restorative justice.

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