The Big Lie: Taxes and the Very Rich


House Republican Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan, recently unveiled his budget proposals. While many commentators seem enthusiastic about the plan, WC thinks it’s just more examples of Republicans’ Big Lies. This time, that still more tax cuts for the very wealthy will make us all rich, reduce unemployment to record lows and reduce tooth decay. Okay, WC made up the last one, but all three are equally ridiculous.

Tax cuts for the rich have made the richer vastly richer. They’ve made the middle class poorer. They’ve made the poor desperate, something that Ryan’s budget cuts would aggravate further. Income disparity is at record highs in this country. Even in the Robber Baron era, the gap between the rich and the rest of us wasn’t this wide. Tax rates on the very wealthy have never been lower. And special tax benefits in the Internal Revenue Code – like a very low capital gains tax – favor the rich disproportionately. Wage slaves like WC and most of his readers are in no position to take advantage of them.

It’s worse than the voodoo economics that Paul Krugman calls it; it’s cargo cult economics. Apparently the campaign donors and lobbyists who purchased Ryan’s soul want us to think that if we make the rich even richer some of it will rub off on us. We just haven’t made them rich enough yet for the magic to work. Bah.

Then there is Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare. Charles Krauthammer said, “House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has just released a recklessly bold, 73-page, 10-year budget plan. At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history.” In itself, Ryan’s voucher system does nothing to reduce the cost of Medicare. Well, it probably adds costs slightly by introducing a new middleman. The “solution” does nothing to address the real issue, which is the high cost of medical care. The high cost of Medicare is simply a symptom of the bigger problem, soon to be aggravated as the Baby Boomers age.

Rather the voucher system is a thinly disguised device for shifting the cost of health care from the country as a whole to those who need Medicare. Because the vouchers are going to pay an increasingly small portion of  the cost of medical services. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030 that aging population would be forced to pay as much as 70% of the cost of health care. It’s really a plan to deprive the elderly of health care. It won’t impact Ryan’s wealthy masters; they can afford it. It’s us poor sots who had dreams of retiring who will suffer.

The “voucher-for-Medicare” plan is to health care what tax cuts for billionaires are to the economy: a sucker punch for the middle class. It’s the same Big Lie, applied to two different problems. The Teabaggers seem to lap it up. WC? Not so much.

3 thoughts on “The Big Lie: Taxes and the Very Rich

  1. They call us all kinds of names but we are tired of wiping their butts when they soil themselves. Wish they would grow up soon.

  2. I think it was James Thurber who said you can fool too many people too much of the time.

    Maybe the teabaggers would rather identify with the rich than have money of their own — the equivalent of the ghetto kid with $200 sneakers.

  3. Great post, WC. Vanity Fair’s May issue has a good article written by Joseph E. Stiglitz about what this disparity in wealth is doing to our country. Today I am 72 years old and for the first time in my life I am almost happy about growing old. It probably seems selfish to make that statement, and it may be because it would be heartbreaking to see what will happen to our children and grandchildren and our country if this “conservative” trend continues.

    Here’s a link to the Steglitz article:
    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

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