Sunday, April 20, 2008

I made me all by myself

Last Saturday, there was the annual Minnesota Taxpayers' League piss and moan session on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol Building. It was a cold day, but the exhaust from the speakers, including Chris Baker, Jason Lewis and Michele Bachmann, kept everyone warm, if not dry. It was the usual run of buster and bile, with a special dollop of invective reserved for the six Republican representatives who voted with the DFL to override the governor's veto of transportation bill. Since Spot was not there, he doesn't know if Jason and Michele conducted a formal excommunication ceremony. Probably.

Jason and Michele had a little pep rally on Friday in advance of the main event. (A thump of the tail to Charlie for the Dump Bachmann link.)

The boys and girls over at The Uptake put up a little video in response to the rally explaining the real incidence of taxes, all as explained by Growth and Justice's Angela Eilers:

Angela talks about the most recent Minnesota Department of Revenue tax incidence report that shows that high income people pay a smaller percentage of their income in total burden than the middle class.

Oh, Spot, that must be some kind of liberal voodoo!

By Governor Pepsodent's Department of Revenue? Spot doesn't think so, grasshopper.

Anyway, the conservatives get all lathered up when they talk about "letting taxpayers keep their own money" and railing against "redistribution of income." But what a just tax policy should be about is making sure that taxpayers pay their fair share. A progressive tax system is most definitely not just "soaking the rich."

Regrettably, it often gets framed that way, even by candidates would be better off appealing to people's sense of equity.

Spot has written, maybe many times by now, about how the government services - state services, but federal services, too - are far more valuable to wealthy people than poor people. Take health care for example. The government spends a lot of money on the Centers for Disease Control; the advances in science and medicine that it makes are more valuable to those people who have health insurance to take advantage of them.

Police protection is more valuable to people with property than people without it.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is obviously more valuable to people with, well, capital. The same is true of banking regulation and insurance. Even Warren Buffet agrees with Spot that it takes a village to make a millionaire:

"I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned."

At least everybody gets the same deal in being protected by our armed forces, right Spotty?

Well grasshopper, read this quote by Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC:

I spend 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism.

Maj. General Butler, by the way, was a two-time Medal of Honor winner. Butler also testified in front of the US Congress in 1934 about the so-called Business Plot, a plan by wealthy business interests to overthrow the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. Butler was approached about being involved in the plot.

The bilious fools Chris Baker and Jason Lewis each moved to Minnesota from their radio gigs in low tax Texas and North Carolina, respectively. If this is a such a terrible place to live, Spot invites them to move on back to where they came from.

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