Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Impossible Dream: ‘fair-share’ based economic salvation

The whole ‘fair-share’ thing we hear so much about these days has been driving us nuts for years, largely because the word ‘fair’ is so subjective and nebulous.  It reeks of sensitivity and ‘justice’ of whatever sort you prefer, but it’s impossible to pin anyone down on just what they mean by it.

We remember years ago when a former prominent council woman here in town was decrying the ‘constant cuts in education’ and holding up other budget straw-men to lure beleaguered taxpayers into her web.

We asked her if the current taxes we pay aren’t enough, just what would be enough in her opinion.  As best we can recall, she answered she “believed in fair taxation,” and then used her bully pulpit to change the subject.  You’ll forgive us, we hope, if we tell you we do our best not to recall any more about those days than we absolutely have to.

Back to the dream du-jour.  A goodly portion of our ruling aristocracy is currently making the case, over and over, that all our budget and public debt problems could be solved if only ‘the wealthy were made to pay their fair share.’  Our own Congress-critter, one Rochelle Pingree Sussman, publicly stated “It’s time for the rich to start paying their fair share” in response to the President’s call for a new stimulus package. 

We’re counting on her to chide her hedge-fund manager multi-zillionaire husband S. Donald, who provides her with private jet transportation, into paying HIS fair share, and we can’t wait to see what fair means in their little love-nest.  Oops…..might that mean he has to move his little nest back to the states, instead of claiming residency on some remote island?  No problem; it shouldn’t take ‘an act of congress’ to make that happen.

It appears that the simple premise highlighted above is the leading rationale for the numerous “occupy xyz” encampments going on around the country as we speak.  At least for those ‘campers’ who have any clue as to why they are taking part.  Many don’t, if you watch the news.

There’s only one problem with this premise, and you might say it’s a really, really big one.  Here’s the good part; it doesn’t depend on what you think ‘fair’ means.

Numerous reports have shown that even if you take every red cent the wealthy earn in this country, it wouldn’t remotely approach the revenue needed to support government’s reckless, drunken spending habits.  Here’s one such report.

The ‘money’ quote in this column is this:

Here’s the bottom line — there just aren’t enough rich people to pay the government’s bills, even if you confiscate every dime of income from every millionaire and billionaire in the country. If we give Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama all the tax increases they are demanding, it won’t cover one tenth of the annual deficit of $1.6 trillion. We would still have to borrow well over $100 billion a month to pay for current spending.

This and similar reports are based on widely available government data, and as yet, we have seen not a single attempt to prove that this ‘bottom line’ is wrong.  In keeping with modern political practice, though, that hasn’t stopped the demagogues from riding the same one trick pony round and round the mulberry bush.

We’re pretty confident that adding the Bowdoins and Harvards and others to ‘the wealthy’ in the equation would have a negligible effect on the analysis.  Not that anyone in the aristocracy would support doing so; let’s face it, there’s a line even ‘progressive’ elites won’t cross.  Especially this one.

The article goes on to describe America’s long-standing love affair with European style ‘social-democracy,’ which most of us see as socialism of one form or another.  You should be aware of this ‘social-democracy,’ since it’s currently bringing down various European Union economies, and causing riots in the streets.  Not a good omen for affairs here in the ‘new world.’

Making reference to the proposal for a new stimulus package, labeled as a ‘jobs plan,’ and payed for by the new fairer share from the evil wealthy, the author points out that after the first stimulus bill was passed,

the private sector lost 2.5 million jobs, but the federal government added 416,000.

In other words, the first bill wreaked havoc on the private sector that creates wealth and real jobs, and fostered unsustainable growth in the public sector, which by definition does neither, while creating additional burden on a shrinking private economy.

Think about that: 416,000 new jobs in the federal government alone.  That’s probably close to the entire work force in the state of Maine, if we had to guess.

If this doesn’t scare the bejeezus out of you, nothing will, or you aren’t paying attention.  But excuse us if we try one more time to frighten you into doing so:

Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, recently warned about the perils of following Europe’s lead, “Europeans today prefer leisure to performance, security to risk-taking, paternalism to free markets, collectivism and group entitlements to individualism. … The critical situation in Europe today is visible to everybody. It is not possible to hide it. … So maybe Europe’s crisis today will at least help you in America turn back toward freedom.”

We’ll say it one more time: no one, repeat no one, has mounted a credible proof that the underlying assertion – that the ‘wealthy can pay all of government’s bills – is correct.

Be afraid; be very afraid.  Rampant denial of reality is becoming the norm.

Wishing upon stars won’t get us out of this one.  Nor will anything short of staring the truth in the face and saluting it.

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