Friday, February 18, 2011

And you thought that Luca Brasi slept with the fishes

No, he just got a new name and a new job. Now he calls himself “Mike Hickey” and he’s the state director for the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses). Mike McIntee of The Uptake asked Hickey what he thought of Governor Dayton’s proposal to raise the marginal rate on top earners to increase tax fairness.

“Tax fairness really doesn’t matter,” replied Hickey.

You can watch it here:

Tax fairness really doesn’t matter

Seriously, you have to wonder where this guy worked as an enforcer before he got his NFIB gig. Hickey is doubtlessly an avatar for NFIB’s members and the qualities they embody.

“Entrepreneurs just look at the rate,” according to the Avatar. You can imagine, I’m sure, the Avatar criss-crossing the country with his carpet bag in hand and asking at every places he stops:

Whatcher rate?

And then, having found a suitable pesthole, he sets down roots! Transportation infrastructure, a market for his product or services, access to raw materials and professional services for his business, and a quality educated workforce, why, these things are meaningless! If this is what the Avatar truly believes, he is too dim to produce many employment opportunities, anyway.

The Avatar is looking for the same things that have made the entrepreneurial class in Somalia – the pirates – so successful.

But the Avatar is not alone in arguing that fairness is not a legitimate objective; here’s the opening graf from a recent editorial in the Strib, a piece that has Doug Tice’s fingerprints all over it:

If Minnesota were [I think I would have written was, Doug] an economic island, the call for tax fairness across income lines that Gov. Mark Dayton made with his budget-balancing proposal Tuesday would have considerable appeal in this traditionally egalitarian state.

We’ll lay aside for today the notion that the top marginal tax rate, standing in splendid isolation, is the sole marker of a state’s ability to attract new business.

We simply cannot afford to be fair, say Doug and the Avatar.

But when society discards fairness as an objective, it is no longer a civilization. Oh, I take that back. It’s a civilization; it’s just called feudalism. That’s what Doug and the Avatar want: the implementation of neo-feudalism, a Social Darwinist paradise.

But in a Social Darwinist paradise where might makes right, why should anybody care to protect Doug or the Avatar from the mob? That’s a serious question. One that’s being asked all over the Middle East today. Different in degree to the debate here, obviously, but it’s the same kind of question: how far will we let one group go in taking all the goodies before everyone else rises up and takes to the streets?

The new Republican governor in Wisconsin is finding his own personalized answer to that question this week.

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