Monday, October 27, 2008

Spreading the Wealth

If we were more of a high-falutin' elitist culture, we might reflect more on the expressions we're so quick to deride. Daniel Little asks,
...why would any middle- or low-income American object to the principle that the most affluent should assume slightly more of the burden? Is it that they imagine (fictionally) that this is where they will wind up eventually, and they won’t want the bigger tax burden when they get there? Do they give credence to the trickle-down theory that got this whole slide towards greater income inequality going in the first place in 1980? Plainly most people are deeply offended by the excesses of executive compensation that are now so visible; is that an impulse towards socialism? Or is it simply that they’re alienated by the label that is being thrown at this fairly ordinary tax proposal — which certainly gives a lot of credence to the irrational power of negative image marketing?

From McClatchy:
...For decades, ["socialism"] served mainly as a cudgel with which conservative Republicans beat liberal Democrats about the head. When Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan accused John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson of socialism for advocating guaranteed health care for the aged and the poor, the implication was that Medicare and Medicaid would presage a Soviet America. Now that Communism has been defunct for nearly twenty years, though, the cry of socialism no longer packs its old punch. “At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives,” McCain said the other day—thereby suggesting that the dystopia he abhors is not some North Korean-style totalitarian ant heap but, rather, the gentle social democracies across the Atlantic, where, in return for higher taxes and without any diminution of civil liberty, people buy themselves excellent public education, anxiety-free health care, and decent public transportation.

The Republican argument of the moment seems to be that the difference between capitalism and socialism corresponds to the difference between a top marginal income-tax rate of 35 per cent and a top marginal income-tax rate of 39.6 per cent.


troutsky said...

The eytomolgy of "falutin" anyone?

es said...

did you catch the *actual* Socialist candidate for president on Colbert last night? good stuff. might be on youtube or

jenhargis said...

I am not under the impression that wealth trickles down, however, I am under the impression that if the rich are faced with getting poorer, then the poor get even poorer.

MT said...

The contraction "highfalutin" seems to be the word, and the origin looks unknown. I've wondered myself. Maybe we're both thinking ala mumbo jumbo, which I've heard explained as a derisive imperialistic word coined for the rituals of an African religion. I assumed "highfalutin" was like "High Anglican" but for falutin.