Sunday, June 27, 2010

Charlie Shrugged

Charlie Weaver in the Star Tribune today:

If we increase the burden on the moneyed class, we will extinguish it, and who then will look after the serfs or give alms to the poor?

That’s a paraphrase. Weaver is responding to Mark Dayton’s op-ed piece, also in today’s paper, stating that the wealthy in the state can afford to pay more in taxes:

keep your hands off my money I believe it's wrong that the richest Minnesotans pay a smaller share of their incomes in state and local taxes than the rest of the state. It's unfair, and it costs us the money we need to reduce our state's budget deficit and to invest in the educations of our children.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has protected the rich from paying their fair share of taxes, and the results are chronic budget deficits, drastic cuts in funding for education and other essential services, and increased property taxes.

Dayton stakes out the moral position, and Weaver endeavors to rebut it with the same trickle down patent medicine that Republican hucksters have been selling out of horse-drawn paneled wagons for years.

Weaver is a proponent of The Law of Comparative Shitholes which states:

It is an iron law of economics that given a choice between two shitholes, the wealthy will always flee to the larger one.

Here’s Weaver again:

For the state of Minnesota, which is competing for jobs and business investment in a mobile, global economy, it's [raising the top marginal rate on the personal income tax] exactly the wrong message at exactly the wrong time.

I have to ask, Charlie, if taxes are the key, why isn’t business in Bangladesh or Somalia red hot? Or why Canada’s economy, having higher tax rates than the US in general, is doing rather well (and better than ours):

The report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission on Canada acknowledges that Canada's economy has outpaced those of many of the major industrialized countries. The report points out that Canada has solid economic fundamentals and a "sound policy framework" that positions the Government to weather future economic challenges.

The economies in New York, Massachusetts, and yes, Minnesota, outperform Mississippi, Arizona, and many other tax Shangri Las you could mention, by a wide margin, in terms of median per capita income.

Weaver’s condition is a form of economic autism. He is so caught up in the “rational actor” (well, “man,” but I’m being ecumenical) theory of human behavior that he cannot observe the real world examples staring him right in the face.

This may be because Weaver is so unempathetic, so self absorbed, and so consumed with avarice himself that he doesn’t understand that there are other people who operate on a different set of principles.

But it is a mistake to permit people of Weaver’s limited vision to set the agenda in Minnesota. It is the road — so to speak — to ruin; most of us drive the road to ruin to work every day.

To Weaver and his fellow travelers, taxes paid are just money down a rat hole. But public investments make it possible for all of us to live more pleasantly and safely, and Charlie, believe it or not, they make it easier for people to make money.

Adequate transportation, public utilities, an educated workforce, and a world class research university, inter alia, are all things that contribute to the success of the moneyed class; it is how most of them got there.

One could pick on Weaver’s sky-is-falling arithmetic, or point out that taxes paid to the state of Minnesota are deductible from one’s federal income. Or, one might point out that taxes are low in the shitholes at least partly because it’s the only way to get people to come and live in them.

But these are distractions. We’ve listened to the pikers and scrubs like Charlie Weaver, Tim Pawlenty, and Tom Emmer and the “no new taxes” mantra far too long. We’ve dug a hole ten years in the making, and Charlie just wants us to keep digging. Knaves and blackguards, every one of them.

The graphic is a Star Tribune illustration from Mark Dayton’s op-ed.

No comments: