Jealousy, And the Power to Destroy

“The Power to tax is the power to destroy.” John Marshall.

It’s a pleasant relief to see Ruth Marcus wake up and smell the latte. She, of all unrealistic and out-of-touch human beings, has finally admitted there are limits to soaking the rich. She did so by finally realizing that the motivations behind the “soak the rich” dogma pervasive in Democratic Party circles had nothing to do with patriotism or altruism. The people demanding that Pelosi, Reid and Obama wield the super-soaker don’t care if the poor are better off. They only want to make “the rich” suffer.

She spoke with Rich Tromka, new AFL-CIO President, and discovered quickly why Democratic interest groups are perpetually part of the problem, not the solution. The writhe in jealousy and constantly look for ways to get back at anyone who does well. She describes this ignorant jealousy in a column entitled “Pitfalls to Soaking the Rich.”

Once, its bar graphs report, the middle class and the wealthy prospered in tandem. Between 1947 and 1973, the rich got richer, but the not-so-rich actually prospered more. The household income of the middle 20 percent of Americans nearly doubled, while the income of the top 20 percent of Americans rose the least of any group, 85 percent.

After 1973, the story changes dramatically. Income for the middle group inched up, rising 24 percent through 2006. But the top 20 percent grew at nearly three times that rate.

So AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sees that rich people have gotten richer more rapidly than middle class people have. It boils his blood, fires his heart, and utterly blinds him to the real world upon which he goes spinning ‘round the sun like the rest of us. Trumka doesn’t truly care if the Middle Class or poor do well. He just wants to make darn well sure nobody else does well if they can’t. Equality at the zero is an acceptable outcome to the Rich Trumkas of the world. They really don’t mind eating Spam as long as The Donald is forced to forego his Filet Mignon.

This mind set leads Trumka and Ruth Marcus to have a predictable question and answer session. Marcus details the quasi-religious faith that Trumka invests in taxation of the well-to-do.

“We don’t have an entitlement problem,” Trumka says. “We have a revenue problem.” In the world according to Trumka, no benefits need be cut, no retirement ages adjusted. Simply requiring the rich to pay a fairer share would bridge the gap.

But what, an editor asks, gesturing around the gleaming conference table at the middle-aged assembly, about those who do not work in such punishing occupations and for whom the current system would provide two, maybe three, decades of benefits? “What’s wrong with that?” Trumka asks indignantly. “The rest of the world does that!”

Should public employees be called on to sacrifice? Trumka fairly bursts with outrage: “Were they the ones that caused this crisis? Were they the ones that lost 20 percent of the wealth in this country?”

No, but isn’t it hard to defend outsized benefits to public-sector employees when wages elsewhere are stagnant and the unemployment rate is so high? Not to Trumka. “Why is that hard to defend when a guy in a hedge fund made $4.4 billion last year?” he asks.

So as long as that hedge fund guy, who makes $4.4Bil gets made to pay, who cares whether the economy recovers? Marcus captures the mindset of this man to perfection. I could picture her beating her head against the keyboard in frustration. Richard Trumka is truly the Archie Bunker of the Liberal set. His views and opinions ossified sometime during his early 30’s and real-world evidence that doesn’t pass his ideological filter simply doesn’t exist.

Marcus does a commendable job here of intelligently policing her own ideology. More people, both Left and Right should do likewise. Just because Trumka agrees with her on a lot of things doesn’t mean that he is intelligent. In contrast, just because one idiot agrees with a lot of what Marcus writes, that doesn’t by definition, make her “differently intellectual”.

However, Marcus and Trumka both miss one important thing. They’ve never asked why Bjorn Borg or The Beatles left Europe. George Harrison wrote a song about it that apparently never made it through Trumka’s ideological filter.

Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman/ And you’re working for no one but me/ Taxman! The Beatles – .(HT: Seeklyrics.com)