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Rent-Seekers Vote
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, November 26, 2007

Jonah Goldberg hits on one of my biggest concerns - a tax system and politicians that increasingly turn voters into rent-seekers:
What does it do to a democracy when people see government as something only other people should pay for? [...] I don't know what the best tax rates are, for rich or poor. But I'm pretty sure that it's unhealthy for a democracy when the majority of citizens don't see government as a service they're reluctantly paying for but as an extortionist that cuts them in for a share of the loot.
We've come a long way from "ask not what your country can do for you."
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Previous Comments to this Post 

"We’ve come a long way from ’ask not what your country can do for you.’"
Which is only a short distance, by comparison to "Not Yours To Give." The country was never without its corruption, though. It’s just a question of its acceptability, not its existence.
Written By: Dusty
URL: http://
It sure didn’t help that Bush’s tax cuts increased the number of people paying no income tax.

And on a related note, it doesn’t help that the ’effectiveness’ of a state’s Washington delegation is measured by how much more they bring home in federal spending than is sent to DC in taxes.
Written By: Steve Sturm
URL: http://
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
What Democrat, save Joe Leiberman, would dare utter that today ?

And to think that Murtha got a Profiles in Courage Award.

Written By: Neo
URL: http://
What Democrat, save Joe Leiberman, would dare utter that today ?
Bear any burden? Ha. What a laugh. The right supported Bush in the last two elections. Bush’s guiding ideology has been borrow and spend and pass the debt onto the next generation.

The political right in this country long ago lost any basis to lecture anyone else about their profligacy, fiscal or otherwise. Give it a break.

As for Goldberg, he’s an elitist. And an idiot. Here is the factual premise of the piece:
The top 1% of wage earners already provide nearly 40% of federal income tax revenues. And the bottom half of taxpayers contribute only about 3%.
So what? Goldberg may not understand how the economy works, but when people have to pay more for taxes, they tend to charge more for the goods and services they provide. If my rich landlord’s income taxes go up, chances are my rent is going up. If the local real estate developer’s income taxes go up, chances are I will pay more for a house when I want to buy one. If my rich and distant boss’s taxes go up, the company may trim my salary to increase his pay. If my crack surgeon’s taxes go up, he will draw a higher salary, increasing my health care costs.

The costs of paying taxes trickle down. This is a message conservatives have used time and again to convince the poor man to vote for the candidae who won’t raise the rich man’s taxes. Don’t raise the rich man’s taxes because, after all, he’ll just charge you more to make up the difference.

Goldberg’s an idiot because he apparently doesn’t understand this point. Goldberg is an elitist because he doesn’t understand that most "non" rich do. They simply believe the unremarkable proposition that those with more wealth should be paying more than they are currently paying, in spite of the fact that many (but hopefully not all) of the costs will be passed down to them.

The opposite proposition is equally unremarkable too. But propogandists such as Mr. Henke like to style the first proposition as some sort of class warfare bordering on treason or ciminality, but the latter as some kind of virtue.

That, in essence, is the Republican message - the message of right wingers. Calling for a slight shifts in tax rates is not simply a matter of disagreement over what is sound policy, it is a moral issue. That if you disagree with people like Mr Henke about tax policy, you just want to "share in the loot."

Loot, of course, refers to stolen or illegally taken goods. The term is not used here unintentionally. In other words, to those like Mr. Henke, if you disagree over tax policy with him, or Goldberg, whom he cites approvingly, you are nothing more than a criminal trying to steal from the rich. If Congress ups the tax rates for the rich, they are committing a crime.

This is the rhetoric of extremism and reverse class warfare couched in fake and patently insincere concern for the well being of society generally. It poisons the debate. It’s not surpisingy that it is cited with approval here.

What a joke.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Wow. Mkultra lecturing everyone else on "the rhetoric of extremism". This from a man who never found an extremist statement about conservatives that he didn’t fully support.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Mkultra, as always, you are a raging, blind fool.

Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Maybe MK should go back to the roots of this country. The founding fathers feared this very set of circumstances which is why there was initially a land-owning requirement for the right to vote. The rationale: unless the electorate had an investment in the future besides their own pocketbook, they would vote for whoever offered them the most, as MK would term it, Loot. In other words, the founding fathers feared elections that would be bought and sold, harkening to the days of Rome where even the empire was bought and sold to the highest bidder. But I guess that concept is too obtuse for such a liberal thinker as MK.

What a joke! To place liberal and thinker in the same sentence.
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
according to mkultra’s logic, his landlord, local real estate developer, distant boss and surgeon are all leaving money on the table by not charging as much for their services as they would if their taxes were higher. and implied is the thought that if their taxes were reduced, they would gladly pass along the ’savings’ to their customers in the form of lower prices.

yes, while having one’s taxes raised leaves one wanting to charge more to make up the lost money, the market doesn’t allow a seller of goods and services to simply raise their prices at will. customers don’t care if the seller’s costs have gone up; there’s a limit to how much they’re going to pay for a muffler and sellers who try to charge more - for whatever reason - end up selling less.
Written By: Steve Sturm
URL: http://
Yawn. Every corporation in America strives to become, essentially, a landlord. Rent-seeking is indistinguishable from libertarian-dearly-held rights to property.
You’ve got to dig a lot deeper if you want to get at the roots of that problem - you could hand this country over to Augusto Pinochet, kill everything that wasn’t DOD, and still have a government owned by rent-seekers. Can you even construct a government - a social organization dedicated to allocation - even as a thought experiment, that derives its support from something other than the economic advantage - i.e. rent-seeking behavior - that its citizens perceive?
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

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