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The Power of Words: Are They Entitlements, or Benefits? Is It Redistribution, or Fairness?

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I thought it might be of interest to examine the use by activists, media outlets, and determined politicians of emotionally charged language. Internet sources define such language thusly:

Emotionally Charged Language

Language that contains strong emotional associations, sometimes used to misdirect the audience away from the real nature of the issue:

  • “Welfare reform” vs “cutting welfare entitlements”
  • “Just like the Nazis did …”

The presence of emotionally charged (or loaded) language does not automatically make an argument not cogent. It does, however, get in the way of clarity. Therefore, we have a new category of words: Those designed to produce an emotional impact.

I remember how I cringed years ago when  “benefits” and “welfare benefits”, were forever altered by unnamed linguists to read “entitlements”. “Entitlements?” I thought. Do you mean that the poor or unemployed or handicapped individuals who would surely die in the streets, or live out of garbage cans, believe they are entitled to government help? I always supposed they had some gratitude, and some enduring love for our compassionate government. Now I come to find these greedy souls feel entitled.

You want to hear something funny? I waited for years for some clever politician to tap into the damage that might be produced by such phraseology. As you might guess, my patience has been rewarded! None but Mitt (out of touch) Romney has taken up the gauntlet, grabbed hold of the advantage, and will surely achieve the presidency solely by his disdain of the greedy American.

Ready for another emotionally charged phrase? Let us consider redistribution.” It reeks, does it not, of theft, injustice, and unAmerican forms of government. You mean they will steal from the rich, and give to the poor?” Where’s McCarthy when we need him??

So the argument will continue. The emotionally charged phrases will fly. And the outcome will forever shape the Brave New Future.

Thus ends my emotionally charged tirade.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • John Lake

    My colleague, Clavos, the Peninsularone is brilliant and usually on target in his light touch of editing my various pieces here. But in truth I can’t stand by the word “fairness” which he adds to the title of the present article. “Fairness” itself is an emotionally charged term, and in this case creates a false assumption, at least from my point of view.
    None benefit more that the wealthiest corporations when we maintain stability in Libya, or in Iraq. The very wealthy oil and gas giants owe their very existence to the American devotion to retaining the Straits of Hormuz, the Suez Canal, and generally to the maintenance of peace in the Middle East.
    Big corporations benefit when the American government bails out banks, and auto-makers. Imagine the expense if these billionaire corporations had to rely on their own resources.
    So it is not a matter of fairness. The corporations which benefit may be expected to contribute to the American treasury, just as individuals are called upon to aide in the outing of fires, the building of roads, and the collection of daily waste.

  • Clav

    You make excellent points, John, and thank you for the kind words.

    I chose the word “fairness,” because it’s the word Obama himself uses when he defends his proposals to tax the rich more heavily; he even uses it in juxtaposition to “redistribution,” and has said in the past that he wants to tax the rich more because that’s “fair.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You know, Clav, you’d have a point on how the rich are unfairly taxed, but while the poor and middle-class use up to half their income just for their housing, and perhaps a quarter more just for food – and this is before little things like a car or clothing or school, much less entertainment – all those put together might equal a quarter of a rich person’s income. As a result, the poor and middle class have little or nothing with which to invest in new business or stock, but the rich have tons of cash with which to invest.

    And that, Clavos, is why the income of the rich has skyrocketed since the advent of Reaganomics, whereas the income of the middle and particularly the poor has risen little or stagnated…even though before Reaganomics, the rise of the income of the poor and middle class had pretty much tracked the increase of the income of the rich.

    As The Atlantic points out, “Today, the 400 richest people in the country control more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of households, and the U.S. ranks roughly alongside countries like Uganda, Cameroon, Ecuador and Rwanda in terms of the gap between its richest and poorest citizens.”

    Is this really what you think is best for the nation? Are the rich really that much more deserving than the rest of us who have to bust our butts every day, while Paris Hilton gets to make more money than we ever dreamed by just sitting on her butt collecting interest on some beach somewhere? If you’ll check your history, the original Tea Party was because the East India Company wasn’t paying its fair share of taxes, but had incredible influence within the British government. In today’s view, Clav, the original Tea Partiers would have been radical liberals, whereas today’s Tea Partiers would have been closer to the royalists and tories of the late 1700’s!

    To slash taxes for the rich is not only not fair, Clav, but it’s also not right…and anyone with knows a bit of history knows the greater the income inequality, the less stable the nation. Do you really want to see an unstable America? Do you really?

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    At bottom, we need to increase excess consumption taxes to discourage waste and balance budgets at every level of government.

  • Clav

    Glenn #3,

    Where did that diatribe come from? John and I were discussing the editing of his title.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    My rant above came from the several times that you’ve pointed out (in defense of the taxes the wealthy pay) that the rich pay a greater portion of their income in taxes than do those who are not rich – in other words, it strongly seems that you don’t think that raising taxes on the rich is ‘fair’.

    My aim in the above rant was to explain that there’s much more to the definition and proper use of the word ‘fair’ than just numbers…and in comment #1, John Lake seems to have had much the same opinion of your understanding of the word ‘fair’.

    That said, you know I hold you in high regard as does John Lake – that won’t change. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll always agree with you, nor do I think you would want us to always agree with you.

  • John Lake

    At the time I (sort of) objected to the “fairness” word, I hadn’t heard Obama’s rebuttal, which Clavos mentions.
    I think that “fairness” has an unpleasant sound to it, as does “entitlements.”

  • Clav

    …you’ve pointed out (in defense of the taxes the wealthy pay) that the rich pay a greater portion of their income in taxes than do those who are not rich

    No. No. No. What I have said, (and continue to insist) repeatedly, is that the rich, collectively, already pay far more income tax than all the rest of the taxpayers pay collectively. And not only do I say it, but so does the IRS, who compiles the numbers.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Which is why I say, it is about time we force the system to work in benefit of those who are not rich! Because it is about damn time everyone else started paying more!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And what I’ve replied to you, Clav, is that when the rich have all the money, they’ll pay ALL the taxes…and I guess you’ll feel sorry for them then, too.

  • Igor

    IMO, the judgement of many is that this argument is simply irrelevant: “… the rich, collectively, already pay far more income tax than all the rest of the taxpayers pay collectively”.

    The obvious rejoinder is “if they can do more they SHOULD do more. As long as some are needy the rich should contribute more.”

  • Clav

    As long as some are needy the rich should contribute more.”

    One: There will always be “needy;” the history of mankind reflects that.

    Two: The rich are already “doing [paying] more;” where does it end? When they all start leaving?

    Three: Far more than just the “needy” receive government handouts; it’s time for more stringent screening, means testing, copays and workfare.

  • John Lake

    Ayn Rand would turn over in her grave. (No disrespect to Ms.Rand)

  • Igor

    Ayn Rand? A lousy writer and a duplicitous philosopher. And a miserable human being. I have little respect for her.

  • Igor

    Many rich people mistakenly believe that their good fortune is enhanced by the misfortune of the poor, that’s why they begrudge others. But they are wrong. Even their good fortune is increased by the improved prospects of the less fortunate.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The rich are netting more from the system, and the rich are certainly not getting less breaks–there are other things to count besides federal taxes. So, the rich are actually getting much. much, much more than those you claim are paying less federal taxes (not the only taxes, nor the only tax breaks, btw, but the only ones typically counted by the right).

    where does it end? When they all start leaving?

    I can only fucking hope and pray!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The wealthy think the poor are lazy. Republicans that I know, and every right winger I have actually known, believes that. The bastards at Romney’s fundraiser could pay for a $50k lunch and never see the workers that made that possible. Why? Because the system of capitalism allows it. They set ordinary workers against one another to point fingers about laziness. Meantime they appoint a supreme court that gives their corporations superhuman powers. Meantime they lobby. Meantime they appoint people who promote their interests.

    Bill Moyers: The Once Percent Court

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Ayn Rand was a psychopath, John. I mean her a great deal of disrespect. She has been responsible for untold injury to human beings.

  • John Lake

    Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are or should be required reading for everyone.(this IS a review-oriented site, is it not?)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead should be thrown in the trash.

    Ayn Rand should be required like L. Ron Hubbard should.

    It’s trash.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Every single person who supports a hierarchy puts themselves above others.

  • Zingzing

    That’s an impossible sentence, Cindy. I compliment you on that one.

  • John Lake

    Cindy:
    Have you read “The Trouble With Organized Religion in America, and in the World”?

  • John Lake

    Thank you, girls!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    One: There will always be “needy;” the history of mankind reflects that.

    Two: The rich are already “doing [paying] more;” where does it end? When they all start leaving?

    Three: Far more than just the “needy” receive government handouts; it’s time for more stringent screening, means testing, copays and workfare.

    One: But that doesn’t mean that the poor must be always be destitute – the difference between first- and third-world nations clearly reflects that.

    Two: They won’t leave – there’s too much money to be made in first-world nations. Remember, Clav, the joe Everyman in the high-tax, big-government, lots-of-regulation nations has a LOT more money to spend than Joe Everyman in third-world nations. It’s just sad that you can’t get past your socialized-democracies-are-evil paradigm despite the world of evidence around you.

    Three: How about giving some details of what you think these would entail – and how we’d pay for the increased cost of such oversight? And on ‘increased screening’, is that including mandatory pee-pee tests like your governor instituted (at great profit to his own company)? Have you seen the results? It was something like TWO PERCENT of those tested came up positive…which I think is significantly less than you’d find in any high school in the upper-class neighborhoods. And when it comes to ‘workfare’ – we’d be FINE with that…except that Your Fellow Conservatives would call it ‘socialism’ because it would be the government providing the jobs just like back in the days of the CCC….

  • Igor

    @12-Clav: states premises that are not in evidence.

    “One: There will always be “needy;” the history of mankind reflects that.”

    Not at all. History shows that here is often inequality, but not that there will always be (nor always has been) “needy”. You’re just guessing. For example, there should be no ‘need’ for any American to need food: our food shortages are entirely artificial , created to enforce economic theories, not to reflect actual production.

    Two: The rich are already “doing [paying] more;” where does it end? When they all start leaving?

    Even when the USA collected much more tax from rich people they did not leave. And if they leave, who cares? It leaves room in the country and it’s economy for new people.

    Three: Far more than just the “needy” receive government handouts; it’s time for more stringent screening, means testing, copays and workfare.

    Welfare fraud should be prosecuted, and, BTW, so should business fraud and tax fraud.

  • Clav

    …but not that there will always be (nor always has been) “needy”.

    I took “needy” from the comment to which I was responding; I meant “poor.” Use any term you like.

    Even when the USA collected much more tax from rich people they did not leave.

    But they are. Some sources say up to 300 a year are.

    And if they leave, who cares?

    You may not, but for the most part, these are the people who create the jobs and the country’s wealth.

    Welfare fraud should be prosecuted…

    But rarely is.

    so should business fraud and tax fraud.

    Agreed. It already is to a greater degree than welfare fraud, but should be investigated and prosecuted more vigorously, with greater punishment and white collar crime should NOT be differentiated from any other crime; it should be punished with the same vigor.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    By your logic, then, the rich should have left the more heavily-taxed first-world nations long ago…but they haven’t, have they? Where’s the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame live? Or Adelson? Or the idiot who owns News Corp? Or the Koch brothers? Right-wing zealots all, remember? If our oh-so-high taxes (which are LOWER than they have been since the early 1950’s, less than HALF what they were during America’s boom in the mid- to late 1950’s) are driving people out of the nation, then we SHOULD have had zero rich people here now!

    But even the right-wing zealots are staying in America in droves.

    In other words, Clav, your claim holds ZERO water. And feel free to reply to comment #25.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    John,

    No, I have not read that. I don’t seem to find it on google.

    Here is what I think the trouble is. Ayn Rand is read in high school by teenagers who are impressionable and yet not that experienced with life. They get sucked into its nonsense before they have had the opportunity to experience a wider perspective on how things work. They essentially become cultists, just believing in a made-up very biased and far-fetched theory by a very poor and biased thinker. They then spend the rest of their lives trying to prove they are correct, to the detriment of everyone else.

    It must be like winning the lottery to be a conservative teenager and discover that selfishness is the greatest good!

    The people who are converts are very dangerous when they get into high positions. I am not sure everyone can afford to wait to hear them say they are sorry and that the world does not really work the way they thought, ala Alan Greenspan.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Something does not make sense to me. Why does the call for cutting taxes because of job creation seem to be considered the best and sole solution. Where is the evidence that cutting the taxes of the wealthy creates jobs? I see the Bush tax cuts still in effect. I do not see job creation based on them.

  • John Lake

    Cindy…
    I find it hard to believe that anyone truly believes that Romney’s motivation in making the rich richer pertains to job creation.
    Maybe the candidate has a psychological need to lose again. Maybe he just wants to see how many drachmas he can achieve in his time aboard.
    It has been many years since I read the Rand books. I remember feeling motivated toward success. I saw them as a call to “Reach for the stars!”, as opposed to a plea for miring in pointless mediocrity.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yes, John. I am told they are inspirational (So, am I also told about Scientology.). Probably good that you put them down early.
    It would be interesting if you would read them again now, then give us a report. I would like to read that article.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    I find it hard to believe that anyone truly believes that Romney’s motivation in making the rich richer pertains to job creation.

    That’s the problem – they really do believe it. They still believe the ‘trickle down’ crap, the ‘pay teachers less and they’ll teach better’ crap, the ‘no matter how much we put into the atmosphere we can’t be responsible for global warming’ crap.

    They really do believe it…and they’ve got a major ‘news’ network telling them to never listen to anyone who says otherwise. “Step right in here to this free (and permanent) echo chamber and you’ll never have to worry about those liberals ever again!”

    I actually had a good friend – a Fox News adherent – tell me that the reason I was wrong about so many things (anything I said that was not far to the right was ‘wrong’ in his eyes) was that I took my news from too many sources, that if I listened to just one source (like he did (Fox)), that it would be a lot easier for me to tell what was true and what wasn’t.

    I couldn’t reply – I was at a total loss for words.

  • John Lake

    Okay, Cindy, you muddle through War and Peace including translations, and prepare a few thousand words. Then, if I find your paper worthy, I’ll dig out the old Rand, and re-read.
    Seriously, if I had the time, I might just take another look at “Who is John Galt?” just to see where you are coming from.
    I have, you know, ‘heard of’ Hubbard and Scientology, but if what I know about it were nickles, I wouldn’t have the price of a gumball.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    John,

    I found the movie on Netflix. I could only manage about half an hour before I had to give up. I wonder if the movie is like the book.

  • roger nowosielski
  • John Lake

    War and Peace, or Atlas Shrugged; best bet, read the material.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I read “Atlas Shrugged” when I was a teenager, and even then it seemed to me the author was in some kind of ideological fantasyland. I didn’t know then how to put it properly into words, but I knew Ayn Rand was very, very wrong.

    A libertarian paradise is every bit as impossible as a communist paradise…and for much the same reason, since neither allows for nor gives credence to what is contained within the range of human personalities, abilities, and failings.

  • Igor

    Tolstoi and Rand are incomparable. Tolstoi was a serious person who studied the people around him and in society and in the world and wrote
    with great insight and care about them and the events they participated in. Rand was a monomaniac with thin experience and feeble comprehension who used her narrow experience to populate novels with puppets she could manipulate.

  • Igor

    I have seen no study that shows a link between taxes and job creation.

    Employers hire workers in response to market demand for products and services.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Then read here. It’s not about ‘job creation’ – having lots of jobs doesn’t mean much if those jobs pay but a pittance (ask the Chinese) – but it’s all about the standard of living of the people.

    While there’s no actual study linking taxes (and the size of the government and level of regulation) and standard of living, I find it interesting that in America, the standard of living of blue states is significantly higher than that of red states – the blue states generally have better pay, higher percentages of health insurance coverage, higher levels of education, lower teenage pregnancy levels, lower violent crime levels…the only metric that I could find where red states were better off was on drug use, and that’s it! The standard of living is generally clearly better in blue states than in red states.

    By the same token, the standard of living is much, much better in first-world nations than in third-world nations. That’s stating the obvious, but the non-OPEC first-world nations are ALL ‘socialized democracies’…and just as blue states in America have higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation, non-OPEC first-world nations (socialized democracies all) likewise have higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation…

    …and my article referenced above attempts to explain why this longstanding pattern exists.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    39 – What Igor said!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    As I said in #41: “It’s not about ‘job creation’ – having lots of jobs doesn’t mean much if those jobs pay but a pittance (ask the Chinese) – but it’s all about the standard of living of the people.”

  • Clav

    Mr. Churchill had it right:

    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

    Winston Churchill

  • Zingzing

    …and that’s why socialistic societies, including our own, continue to be the best places to live. I’m sure you could find a nation without any social safety net, clavos, so why not move away from this fuckpit shithole? What keeps you here if you believe so?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Remember, zing, Clav is only technically within the US. It’s always better when you’re on a boat.

  • Clav

    …And if your boat is foreign flagged, you aren’t “within the US, even if docked right in the Miami river. Aside from the fact, Doc, that Miami is only geographically within the US. Culturally, it is an amalgam of all the Latin cultures, bearing little resemblance to the US culture and largely ignoring it. With two out of three residents being Latinos and 51% of the population of Miami-Dade county having been born in another country, not many Miamians are American in the sense that folks from, say, Minnesota or Ohio are.

  • Clav

    the rich should have left the more heavily-taxed first-world nations long ago

    And, according to the Feds, about 300 a year do leave, but most don’t have to yet, because they can still send their money away for protection. However, the government is actively trying to cut off the legal loopholes that make that possible; if it succeeds, lots more will leave, as the Swedish musical group, Abba, did when their taxes got too onerous.

    The American poor (and to a large extent, the middle class), have to live here; they’re too dependent on the largesse of the government, but the rich don’t — they can live anywhere.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Concerning Churchill’s quote:

    “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

    Ah. Now Churchill was Prime Minister from 1940-45 and from 1951-55. Funny thing is, Churchill oversaw many projects and acts that today’s conservatives would certainly call “socialist”…and one particular such service – the National Health Service – was being developed in 1943 during Churchill’s first term, before WWII was even close to being over! And do the Brits hate the NHS? If you’ll recall, they CELEBRATED it during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics!

    In other words, Clav, what Churchill was referring to was probably SOVIET socialism, which bore about as much resemblance to English socialism as democracy in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does to American democracy.

    Gotta watch the context of the times, y’know?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clav –

    The American poor (and to a large extent, the middle class), have to live here; they’re too dependent on the largesse of the government, but the rich don’t — they can live anywhere.

    Um, I hate to tell you this, but the inability to leave is pretty much the case in ALL nations, with the exceptions of those nations which encourage their poor to go work in other nations, of course.

    Tell me, Clav – would you rather be poor in Mexico or another third-world country, or in America or one of the socialized democracies of the West? Where would you prefer to be poor, if you knew you had little or no chance to leave to another country? Answer that, please – and bear in mind that many who do leave a third-world nation to work elsewhere often do so for much less than what we would call minimum wage, and are subject to abuse and exploitation – as has been the experience of my family.

    THAT, Clavos, is why I keep saying that one of the duties of a popularly-elected government is to raise the living standards of the poor and middle class as high as possible, because most of them canNOT just up and go wherever they want…and high standards of living for the poor and middle class are hallmarks of first-world nations!

    Again, Clav, where would you prefer to be poor?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh my, quotes from the great white supremacist. Well, despite all his fondness for torture, domination, racism, imprisonment, and murder of brown “savages”, and his contribution to misery and destruction of peoples in other countries (Iraq), all of whom he held in contempt based on their skin color, I guess he had some wise things to say…or so I am told.

    But I am always inclined to raise awareness of some of his other accomplishments whenever I see/hear him quoted.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    By today’s standards, Churchill was indeed quite racist – and there’s substantial indication that the famine in India that killed many hundreds of thousands of people should be laid at his feet.

    That said, by today’s standards, Lincoln and George Washington were also racist.

    Is there such a thing as a ‘good racist’? Most people today would say ‘absolutely not!’. But there are racists with good hearts, who mean no harm to anyone including those of races they are prejudiced against, as I demonstrated in this article.

    So please be careful about being too quick to condemn someone, for you must take into account not just their racism, but also the context of their time, their society, and their deeds to help their fellow human beings of all races.

  • Clav

    Cindy,

    So he wasn’t perfect — what an astonishing surprise!!

    I’m reasonably certain he did more good for the world His accomplishments than you and I have.

  • Clav

    Glenn,

    Where did I say the poor could leave?

    I didn’t.

    In fact, I said they (and the middle class) can’t leave? So what’s your point? I never mentioned the poor of other nations nor whether or not they can leave their countries, although it’s worth pointing out that almost all the immigrants to this country over time came from their mother country’s poor classes.

    And Mexico’s rich aren’t illegally emigrating here; they have no reason to. Their poor are another matter.

    Your diatribes are weird, Glenn, you are so often totally off point.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    You missed my point altogether (perhaps intentionally). You said:

    The American poor (and to a large extent, the middle class), have to live here; they’re too dependent on the largesse of the government, but the rich don’t — they can live anywhere.

    And I said that’s largely the case for ALL nations, the point being that the government is not supposed to coddle the rich. The key is NOT to protect the rich, Clav. The key for popularly-elected governments is to raise the standard of living for all the people…and in case you may not have noticed, the rich don’t need much help in maintaining a high standard of living, whereas the poor and middle-class DO.

    That, sir, in a nutshell is why the highest standards of living in the non-OPEC world are ALL within socialized democracies. When, oh when will you finally grasp that fact? Maybe you think it’s wrong to choose the welfare of the Great Unwashed over the welfare of the one in the ivory tower, but the end results don’t lie: The standards of living for the poor and middle-classes in socialized democracies are higher than those in nations with low taxes, small governments, and little or no regulation. Likewise, the standards of living in blue states are generally higher than those in red states…

    …and frankly, the general welfare of the nation supersedes the rights and privileges of the rich. See Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution:

    “The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

    So if the rich get up and leave like the spoiled brats they are, they can go right on ahead. But you know what? While you’re SO fixated on the 300 that DO leave, you’re ignoring the vast majority that do NOT leave…AND you’re ignoring the hundreds of thousands of NEW millionaires that America has each and every year.

    So three hundred leave – so what, when there’s hundreds of thousands of new millionaires each year? The richest family on the planet – the Waltons – aren’t going anywhere. Neither are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson, and a host of other billionaires.

    So please stop cherry-picking, Clav. Stop staring at the trees and look at the forest as a whole. The end results don’t lie.

    And I noticed that you didn’t have much of a reply to the history lesson on Churchill’s willing embrace of what today’s American conservatives call ‘socialism’.

  • Costello

    What was the Swedish tax rate when ABBA left the country. Anything close to what American rich people have to suffer?

  • zingzing

    given romney’s tax return, he’s paying less than half what i pay. i know for a fact that my father pays a significantly lower tax rate than i do. and that was before he moved to a state that doesn’t tax retirement money. amazing. i’m pretty sure clavos pays a lower percentage than i do. he’d have to be a fool to get beat up the way i do. and yet who bitches? (maybe i like it.)

    costello, i dunno about abba, but the line in the beatles’ “taxman” about “1 for you, 19 for me” was supposedly pretty accurate. the stones couldn’t even afford to live in england by the early 70s.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Costello –

    Anything close to what American rich people have to suffer?

    Suffer? Suffer???? I guess some here have a different definition than I do….

  • Costello

    Zing, that would be 95 percent. Can’t imagine a rate that high wouldn’t lead to revolution. Gonna have to look that one up.

    Glenn, I thought my sarcastic tone was clear, or else you are wound a little too tight.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Costello –

    Zing, that would be 95 percent. Can’t imagine a rate that high wouldn’t lead to revolution. Gonna have to look that one up.

    We had a 91% top marginal tax rate throughout the 1950’s, through all the years that Eisenhower was president…and we did pretty well, it seems.

    But what happened in reality is that the rich people to whom that 91% applied, instead of paying that exorbitant amount, simply reinvested the money into their own companies (which were booming quite nicely). It seems that even as late as the 1950’s the rich were resourceful enough with their remaining 9% (which is probably not counting dividend income) that they could live comfortably without standing in line at a soup kitchen.

    Glenn, I thought my sarcastic tone was clear, or else you are wound a little too tight.

    Or both.

  • Clav

    The richest family on the planet – the Waltons – aren’t going anywhere. Neither are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Rupert Murdoch, Sheldon Adelson, and a host of other billionaires.

    Not yet anyway, but their rate of taxation is not yet onerous, either. You may not care if they leave but the nation should, for they are the people who the means of production.

    Costello, ABBA left Sweden when their taxes reached 90% of earnings.

    We had a 91% top marginal tax rate throughout the 1950’s

    The key phrase there being “top marginal rate.” That does NOT mean people were paying 91% of all they earned; the rate only applied to the top increment of what they earned. A socialist nanny state like Sweden is getting 90% of everything the taxpayer earns. I wouldn’t hesitate to leave for greener pastures if I were taxed at that rate, and I bet a lot of those you named would, too.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Clav –

    Not yet anyway, but their rate of taxation is not yet onerous, either. You may not care if they leave but the nation should, for they are the people who the means of production.

    If you’ll recall – and as I pointed out above already – we did NOT have a mass exodus of rich people when the tax rates for them were much higher over a period of nearly thirty years! This irrational fear you have – “Oh, no, the rich people are leaving, wherever shall we go, whatever shall we do???” – is not based on reality…especially since – as I pointed out above – we might be losing 300 rich people per year, but we’re GAINING hundreds of thousands of new millionaires per year. So if a rich guy wants to leave, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

    Here’s a repeated hint, Clavos – while the Cayman Islands has a really low tax rate, the REAL money is made in first-world nations. That, sir, is why the billionaires don’t leave. Of course, that’s just the reality of the situation and as such doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on what you believe.

    The key phrase there being “top marginal rate.” That does NOT mean people were paying 91% of all they earned;

    And is that not what I pointed out? Yes it is!

    And btw – since you brought up Sweden, which has exorbitant tax rates for the rich – have you heard of that nation being a part of the European meltdown? No? Gee, Clav, now if you were right that if a nation was going to go to hell in a handbasket if taxes on the rich were too high, then why isn’t Sweden’s economy tanking?

    Why, Clav? Why does the reality not match what you claim is sure to happen? And guess what? Sweden’s economy is growing quite nicely AND they’ve got a balanced budget.

    WHY, Clav? Why can you not objectively ask “Why?” when the reality doesn’t match what you Just Know is true? Why can’t you accept that maybe, just maybe low taxes for the rich and small government and weak regulations do NOT result in prosperity for a nation?

  • Igor

    @61-Clav: I don’t understand this statement, please explain:

    “You may not care if they leave but the nation should, for they are the people who the means of production.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    “You may not care if they leave but the nation should, for they are the people who the means of production.”

    To back up what Igor asked you, I’d like to point out something: the most valuable company in the world – Apple – was not started by a millionaire. It was started in a garage by a college drop-out. Same thing for Microsoft. The girl who invented ‘Spanx’ – now a billionaire – started out NOT as a billionaire, but as a nobody. Watch the intro to “Shark Tank” sometime – most of the rich Sharks there started out as nobodies.

    In other words, the rich do NOT ‘create jobs’. It’s the middle class that invents the products, that starts the companies that become the juggernauts of the corporate world. It’s nice to have rich people around, but they are NOT necessary – if they want to go away, let them! SO WHAT if we lose three hundred millionaires a year when – as I referenced above – America creates hundreds of thousands of millionaires each year!

    But you go on with your “I’m so AFRAID the rich will leave, whatever shall we do, wherever shall we go” attitude, because we’ve already seen that reality has no bearing on your beliefs. FDR was so right when he said that the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    Ralph Raico, a libertarian historian has written on this (as have others). I picked him, though, as someone whose politics are in line with yours (as far as I can tell) rather than with mine.

    In this article: Rethinking Churchill, here is the position he will defend:

    To gain any understanding of Churchill, we must go beyond the heroic images propagated for over half a century. The conventional picture of Churchill, especially of his role in World War II, was first of all the work of Churchill himself, through the distorted histories he composed and rushed into print as soon as the war was over. – Ralph Raico

    Raico’s audio lecture on the topic.

  • Igor

    The economic policies of Clav, Romney and Ryan will oppress and deprive our Paul Jobs and Steve Jobs of the future and result in the demise of the American system. It will end our business and technological innovation edge and relegate the USA to bystander status.

    We will be left on the sidelines as spectators while the world develops the future and struggles upward and onward.

    A very few billionaires will have Luxury Skyboxes to watch it all, but the rest of the American people will be outside the fences, just peasant onlookers.

  • Clav

    The economic policies of [Obama] will oppress and deprive our Paul Jobs (sic) and Steve Jobs of the future and result in the demise of the American system. It will end our business and technological innovation edge and relegate the USA to bystander status.

    There, fixed it for ya Igor.

    The US is already partly into “bystander status,” thanks to Obama and his complete ignorance of international diplomacy. We are already the laughingstock of Glenn’s favorites, the other (as Glenn likes to write it:) FIRST WORLD NATIONS.

  • Igor

    @67-Clav: stop misrepresenting what I said.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    The US is already partly into “bystander status,” thanks to Obama and his complete ignorance of international diplomacy. We are already the laughingstock of Glenn’s favorites, the other (as Glenn likes to write it:) FIRST WORLD NATIONS.

    Really? Who was it that started the Iraq and Afghanistan wars…and lied to Congress to get them to support going into the Iraq war? And when it comes to Obama’s turn, last I recall, it was the Republicans who castigated Obama for not sending combat troops to Libya, for pulling our troops out of Iraq, for setting any kind of deadline to get our troops out of Afghanistan.

    Oh, wait – I forgot – the conservative view of diplomacy is to tell the other nations what they will and will not do, and if they don’t do what we say, we attack them. No room at all for understanding and mutual support…because in conservative world, that’s just another word for – gasp! – apology! And any politician who ever apologizes for anything (even if – like in Obama’s supposed ‘apology tour’ – there was never an apology) shall be consigned to wear a scarlet A and forever hated by REAL conservatives who think that apologies are for children and liberals.

    Obama’s ONLY failings when it comes to foreign policy were (1) when he gave a pack of DVD’s as a gift not long after he took over, and (2) his continued use of drones, which is doing nothing but making them that much more determined to attack us.

    And YOUR guys want someone in office who thinks he should be able to roll down the windows on a jetliner in flight! And NO, he was not joking. Your boys in the GOP have become the party of stupid, Clav. I know you aren’t a Republican, but you share quite a bit of their philosophy. I hope that someday soon you’ll begin to realize that they’ve become the Party of Stupid, and every year they’re rejecting more and more positions that were good and sensible for whatever it is that is against the Dems…

    …and do you not see the problem with a party opposing EVERYthing the other guys are for? Because either the other guys must be wrong in EVERYthing – which any thinking man would know is extremely unlikely (hell, even the National Socialists were right about a couple things) – OR that party is deliberately choosing to be wrong, just so it can take the position opposite from what the other party supports.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I find it rather humorous, Igor, that you speak of “the American system,” and by that I take you to mean “capitalism in the raw,” with straight face. If capitalism is about anything, it’s about innovation, it prides itself on promoting innovation.

    In lieu, therefore, of your oft rabid critique of capitalism and its ways, aren’t you guilty here, I ask, of some form of cognitive dissonance?

    What gives?

  • Igor

    IMO you jump to too many conclusions, Roger.

    I AM a capitalist, but that doesn’t leave me blind to it’s failures and inequities.

    And really, capitalism is not about innovation. Successful capitalists hate innovation: it upsets their plans. For example, IBM fought tooth and nail against microcomputers in the 70s because IBM was charging $1000 per month per megabyte for storage on Sys370s and they were horrified by the low cost of microcomputer memory and the obvious threat to their revenue stream. (The actual “IBM PC” project was a contraband project by Phil Estridge, who was soon demoted to Vice President In Charge Of Empty Warehouses for his effort.)

    Innovation is the province of entrepreneurs, which capitalists are not, or at least not anymore since they became successful.

    Capitalists and entrepreneurs are natural enemies.

  • Clav

    Capitalists and entrepreneurs are natural enemies.

    Oy.

  • Snoglydox

    Give any hard working unemployed/underemployed American a good paying job, and that American will have no issues paying the their share of taxes. What is worse than uneducated unemployed: educated underemployed?

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