Conversations With A Mad Man


The Marie Antoinette Syndrome

Posted by Tsach Gilboa on September 20, 2011 at 6:25 PM

The Marie Antoinette Syndrome

In response to President Obama’s jobs and deficit reduction plan,including streamlining the tax code and requiring millionaires and up to pay about the same tax rate as the people that work for them, Tea Party Representative John Fleming (R-LA). argues that out of a business income of $6.3 Million, he only has about $600,000 left net  leaving him for “Feeding my family” only $200,000, and only $400,000 to invest in his businesses!

Let me try and put this in perspective for the congressman (I also want to take the opportunity to offer my services to help him streamline his business, make it more effecient it and make it more profitable–call me to discuss congressman).  Last week the US Census Bureau released new 2010 data on poverty. Due to the Great Recession 46.2 million Americans now live below the poverty line–defined as less than $22,314 per year for a family of four–Leaving Mr. Fleming 8.9 times that amount for his food budget. A record 20 million Americans now live in deep poverty–defined as les than $11,000 or a family of four–Leaving Mr., Fleming a mere 18.1 times that amount for his food budget.  And we're not sure where the Congressman's $174,000 salary and federally paid health insurance and pension fits into this? (is $374,000 a year enough to eat on?) And also lets not forget that the proposal is to raise the top tax bracket from 35% to 39.6%–the same rate which under President Clinton created a huge boom in the economy–a small margin Mr. Fleming would hardly miss.

What is most pathetic and disturbing here is the fact that a US Congressman can actually get on a television news program and make this ridiculous argument with a straight face.  It reminds me of a story from his childhood my Dad told me many years ago about a teacher that was discussing poverty with her class. When she asked the students for their stories, one student described her family of four living in two rooms with their grandparents, all sharing one outhouse etc., another little girl jumped up to share, and she passionately explained that her family was actually poorer since their maid is poor, and their cook is poor, and their chauffer is poor etc.

Although life is subjective to a certain extent, reasonable mature and intelligent adults do agree on a basic reality.  Claiming that his low effective tax rate–the lowest in numerous decades–cannot be adjusted, as was always done,because he only has “$200,000 left to feed his family" makes no sense.  We already have a progressive tax code to make sure people pay their fair share depending on their income.Unfortunately with Bush 43 tax cuts and numerous deductions and loopholes, the wealthy pay less effective tax than their secretaries.  President Reagan raised taxes up to a top tax bracket of 50%; President Clinton raised taxes and created 23.1million jobs. President George W. Bush cut taxes, only created 3 million jobs,got us into 2 not-paid-for wars and an unpaid for prescription drug policy that with the lax regulation of wall street, got us into this depression.

Even before the President’s jobs speech, the Republican’s were crying “Class warfare”, which would be hysterically funny if not so predictable and pathetic.  Coming from a group of people that have spent great amounts of wealth and human resources, combined with spinning, lies and deceit to try and dismantle the middle class and further enrich the rich (top 400 American families have more wealth than 50% of Americans and have seen their taxes cut by 40% since1999). 

If it looks life the middle ages in Europe, it is because it is. What we need is a modern day Robin Hood, not to take from the rich andgive to the poor, but to fairly and equitably distribute the burden and costs of this great country and to structure a healthy and positive partnership between smart and efficient government and smart, innovative and efficient private sector, to heal the economy and move the country forwards.  Other countries have done and are doing so very successfully (think Germany as but one example).  There is absolutely no reason we can’t do it, and do it much, much better.


Categories: Age of Rudeness & Mediocrity

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