It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
By David Sirota, Creators Syndicate. Posted August 10, 2009.
I know I should be mortified by the lobbyist-organized mobs of angry Brooks Brothers mannequins who are now making headlines by shutting down congressional town hall meetings. I know I should be despondent during this, the Khaki Pants Offensive in the Great American Health Care and Tax War. And yet, I'm euphorically repeating one word over and over again with a big grin on my face.
Finally, there's no pretense. Finally, the Me-First, Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd's ugliest traits are there for all to behold.
The group's core gripe is summarized in a letter I received that denounces a proposed surtax on the wealthy and corporations to pay for universal health care:
"Until recently, my family was in the top 3 percent of wage earners," the affluent businessperson fumed in response to my July column on taxes. "We are in the group that pays close to 60 percent of this nation's taxes ... Think for a second how you would feel if you built a business and contributed more than your share to this country only to be treated like a pariah."
This sob story about the persecuted rich fuels today's "Tea Parties" -- and I'm sure you've heard some version of it in your community.
I'm also fairly certain that when many of you run into the Me-First, Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd, you don't feel like confronting the faux outrage. But on the off chance you do muster the masochistic impulse to engage, here's a guide to navigating the conversation:
What They Will Scream: We can't raise business taxes, because American businesses already pay excessively high taxes!
What You Should Say: Here's the smallest violin in the world playing for the businesses. The Government Accountability Office reports that most U.S. corporations pay zero federal income tax. Additionally, as even the Bush Treasury Department admitted, America's effective corporate tax rate is the third lowest in the industrialized world.
What They Will Scream: But the rich still "pay close to 60 percent of this nation's taxes!"
What You Should Say: Such statistics refer only to the federal income tax. When considering all of "this nation's taxes" including payroll, state and local levies, the top 5 percent pay just 38.5 percent of the taxes.
What They Will Scream: But 38.5 percent is disproportionately high! See? You've proved that the rich "contribute more than their share" of taxes!
What You Should Say: Actually, they are paying almost exactly "their share." According to the data, the wealthiest 5 percent of America pays 38.5 percent of the total taxes precisely because they make just about that share -- a whopping 36.5 percent! -- of total national income. Asking these folks to pay slightly more in taxes -- and still less than they did during the go-go 1990s -- is hardly extreme.
Stripped of facts, your conversation partner will soon turn to unscientific terrain, claiming it is immoral to "steal" and "redistribute" income via taxes. Of course, he will be specifically railing on "stealing" for stuff like health care, which he insists gets "redistributed" only to the undeserving and the "lazy" (a classic codeword for "minorities"). But he will also say it's OK that government sent trillions of dollars to Wall Streeters.
And that's when you should stop wasting your breath.
What you've discovered is that the Me-First, Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd isn't interested in fairness, empiricism or morality.
With 22,000 of their fellow countrymen dying annually for lack of health insurance and with Warren Buffett paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary, the Me-First, Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd is merely using the argot of fairness, empiricism and morality to hide its real motive: selfish greed.
No argument, however rational, is going to cure these narcissists of that grotesque disease
Quote from David Sirota and his article The Tidal Wave Heading Straight for the Hall of Mirrors found here: www.huffingtonpost.com...
What you see here, folks, is that all of it - the elections, the public policies, the future of the country - is one big joke to the people in power, and they are willing to lie, cheat and distort anything to protect the integrity of that joke they are so happily enjoying. They don't want anyone asking questions of them. They don't want anyone thinking they have a right to use democracy to change things. They are fat and happy and putting the pedal to the metal in their sleek sports car on the great American highway overpass - and anyone who tries to slow them down, run them off the road or make them just glance at the blight below gets the big, road-raged middle finger.
Originally posted by mikerussellus
reply to post by ofhumandescent
Bull poop. I work hard for everything I have. No socialist is going to come and tell me to give it to the masses.
I can't think of anything else to add here. More socialistic nonsense as far as I'm concerned.
Originally posted by Kaytagg
I'm in the "me first, screw you" crowed, and I love it.
I've completely lost my hope that Americans will ever educate themselves, or do anything productive or intelligent in their lives. 60% of Americans do not believe in evolution. 66% of Americans can not name the three branches of government. 60% believe the Noah's ark story is true -- and the entire earth flooded; while 64% believe Moses really parted the red sea.
So, should I expend time and energy helping or worrying about these idiots? Not even a single moment out of the day, week, or year. They are on their own, and the worse things get for them, the happier I am.
Originally posted by A Fortiori
reply to post by mikerussellus
Love St. Judes! One of the best charities around.
I don't mean charity, per say. I'm asking why you are specifically opposed to what you consider the redistribution of wealth by Obama that would potentially (if it ever really happened) benefit the poor, and not the redistribution of wealth that keeps occurring yearly in subsidies and bailouts to the rich. More money has gone to people making over $200K a year than has gone into the social service program.
Moreover, the positive benefit of this Health Care Bill (the only positive benefit that I can see) is that this CF (when you use acronyms is that still cursing?) will create new jobs because it is a mega-sized project that will require IT professionals, health care professionals, administrative help, programmatic help, etc. Though it seems like health care for the poor or lazy at the expense of our tax dollars it will drive new industry.
I just see all the rich getting rewarded with my hard earned money when they caused all these problems to begin, and my thoughts are if it has to be taken from me then I'd rather someone new get it with the potential to spend it in ways that will grow the economy.
the Me-First, Screw-Everyone-Else Crowd's ugliest traits are there for all to behold.
In ancient times usury was defined as interest on a loan, any interest on any loan. In modern times that has been redefined to mean excessive interest on a loan. Moderate interest seems logical to us in recognition of the fact that if we work hard for our money, we save it and surrender its use for a period of time being a sacrifice on our part and then loan it to somebody else for their venture, we're entitled to a reasonable return on that sacrifice. A reasonable interest rate is a concept that very few people have problems with, it seems logical and fair.
But what is this thing called excessive interest? Thomas Edison said, "People who will not turn a shovel-full of dirt on the project nor contribute a pound of materials will collect more money than will the people who will supply all the materials and do all the work." I wondered when I read that if Tom was exaggerating so I got my calculator out. I assumed that there was going to be a $100,000 house built. I assumed that $30,000 would have to go for land, architect's fees and permits and that kind of thing. $70,000 would go for the actual construction of the house, building materials and labor. I assumed that the buyer would go to the bank and put 20% down and then borrow the balance at 10% over 30 years. I punched in the numbers and discovered that the borrower will pay to the bank in interest $172,741 compared to $70,000 paid for the construction of the house. In other words, about 2 1/2 times as much money will be paid to the bank in interest than will be paid to those who provide all the labor and all the materials. And you may say to yourself, yes but that's fair, after all a 30 year loan is a long loan and people work for their money and sacrifice its use and loan it and so forth and deserve to be compensated. No. Not this money. Nobody worked for this money, nobody saved this money. There was no sacrifice of any kind for this money. This money was created out of nothing and I suggest that $172,741 interest on nothing is excessive!