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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Insane Talking Point from the Right

Found here, amongst other places:

"Today, according to research by the OECD, income taxes in America are the most progressive among the rich nations of the world; as the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore observed in February, the 'richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden.'"

Folks, this is just not what progressive taxation means. If your rich make a high enough percentage of the national income, a flat tax could still leave them paying a higher percentage of the total tax take than anywhere else. That would not suddenly make a flat tax "progressive."

This is at least the third time I've seen this ludicrous claim. Did the Kochtopus send out a memo ordering everyone to start repeating this?

6 comments:

  1. Incorrect is not the same thing as insane, though.

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  2. "Did the Kochtopus send out a memo ordering everyone to start repeating this?"

    Hehe, you sound like Bob Wenzel here ;)

    And secondly, isn’t this then a kind of a Marxist analysis as well? Where is the difference in asserting that the state is paying people to tell certain opinions and asserting the Kochtopus “order” (I guess that’s a code for paying) people to tell certain opinions? Does that mean the Kochtopus of the past also “ordered” all those people to tell this kind of opinion who actually did?

    No I guess not. To argue that a state engages in propaganda is no special Marxist analysis. That a state will give people a platform for opinions it likes to be spread is really not controversial. So maybe the state would love to give Plato a platform if he was alive today.

    PS: There is a difference though between the state and the Kochtopus. The money of the Kochtupos necessary for “ordering” people to spread certain information at least partly is acquired in a legitimate peaceful exchange and therefore can be spend of them for whatever they like (another maybe even the bigger part might be acquired by using the state to prohibit competition etc..). A state as the final and highest authority in an area should be (at least in my ideal understanding) try to be neutral on issues of political philosophy and foster open lively debate over the whole range of opinion. Now I understand that this is a truly utopian thought.

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  3. "And secondly, isn’t this then a kind of a Marxist analysis as well?"

    I never said people are not *sometimes* paid to promote some view they otherwise wouldn't! Obviously advertising exists.

    What I find remarkable about the Marxist style is that this is given as the *only* reason for an opposing view, while it is no part of the reason for one's own.

    "A state as the final and highest authority in an area should be (at least in my ideal understanding) try to be neutral on issues of political philosophy..."

    Nonsense. This implies a liberal democracy must remain silent in the face of a Marxist or Nazi takeover. Fostering "open lively debate" about views that will allow madmen to seize power is a suicidal thought, not a utopian one.

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    Replies
    1. I think he's got you on charge of Marxist analysis, at least to the same degree that the Rothbardians employ it. You're implying that non-monetary self-interest or perceived self-interest is precluded by Marxist analysis, but that's what you just did. You think the WSJ wouldn't want a flat tax if it could get it, and is also unaware that at a certain level of income disparity they would still be funding a larger share of the government than the rich in Sweden?

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    2. "You're implying that non-monetary self-interest or perceived self-interest is precluded by Marxist analysis, but that's what you just did..."

      THAT's what I'm implying?!

      "You think the WSJ wouldn't want a flat tax if it could get it..."

      I think THAT?!

      "and is also unaware that at a certain level of income disparity they would still be funding a larger share of the government than the rich in Sweden?"

      No, I think they know that damned well. That's why I think the declaration that "the US has the most progressive tax system amongst developed countries" is a deliberate lie on the part of the people saying this, and not a mistake.

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  4. “What I find remarkable about the Marxist style is that this is given as the *only* reason for an opposing view, while it is no part of the reason for one's own.”

    That’s right. Only the others are biased, bribed and manipulated. Never your own side. Of course I cannot see where your post about that Rothbardian refers to, but maybe he didn’t mean it in that strong sense but only that governments tend to create platforms for statist leaning people. On the other side big business does not tend to create platforms for Laissez Faire leaning people. Else Laissez Faire/Anachrist leaning people wouldn’t have been so rare during the 20ieth century.

    “Nonsense. This implies a liberal democracy must remain silent in the face of a Marxist or Nazi takeover. Fostering "open lively debate" about views that will allow madmen to seize power is a suicidal thought, not a utopian one.”

    Maybe you misunderstand me. A state should express the will of the people. Now as bad as Marxism or Nazism is, if a clear majority is in favor of it you cannot do much about it anymore. Then it is already too late. The state is the last one to do a thing about it, especially if it’s a democracy. How could it, by definition a democracy couldn’t do anything if it votes for a Marxist president and a Marxist parliament. (At that stage you also already would have a Marxist senat and courts..)
    I think the safest way to be guarded against Marxist or Nazi takeover is that as many people as possible understand what is behind it, how it works, what it causes, and how it starts! It is dangerous to act as if there was no such thing today, not a single element in our current policies/institutions, silence people who speak favorably about it, forbid books (as e.g. “Mein Kampf” is forbidden in Germany and Austria), or even misrepresent it. That is counterproductive.
    It is not the state that can prevent society from becoming a tyranny caused by a Marxist voting mass. Ultimately it is only the voting mass itself that can protect a society from becoming a tyranny. The only way you can do that is by honestly teaching people what Marxism/Socialism, Nazism/Fascism, Interventionism, Liberalism/Libertarianism really is about. You need a lot of economics for that.

    I am sure when you started to engage economics and political philosophy you didn’t want to be indoctrinated/spoon-fed by “well-prepared” second hand literature. You wanted the original words and as far as possible understand the original intention behind it to make up your own mind, right? All deserve that. That’s all what I am asking for.

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