Unshared sacrifice

Rude Pundit:

At his press conference last Friday, President Obama said, “If you’re a senior citizen, and a modification potentially costs you a hundred or two hundred bucks a year more, or even if it’s not affecting current beneficiaries, somebody who’s 40 today 20 years from now is going to end up having to pay a little bit more. The least I can do is to say that people who are making a million dollars or more have to do something as well.” It’s probably the closest he’s come to making an emotional, non-political case for higher taxes. But it still misses the point.

A drug benefit cut for an old lady in a diaper and a closed tax loophole on private jets is not balance. That six bucks cut into that woman’s limited income in profound ways. To use the friend’s equation in reverse (times ten), $6 is like $3000. And even that’s not a big deal to the wealthy because you can bet that the woman is living paycheck to paycheck. The millionaire has shitloads of money that don’t even count as taxable income.

Our savage economic inequality in this country is coming to a head. We talk about “spending cuts,” as if what we’re not really talking about is “making the poor pay more for stuff.” We talk as if the services that are cut will be picked up by the aching states and cities. And we talk about nonsense like “shared sacrifice,” as if that’s the rational position in any of this. When the wealthy actually sacrifice something, we can talk about sharing.

At this point, any Americans earning above, say, to be generous, $500,000 a year who don’t believe that they should be paying more in taxes are just goddamned greedy assholes who deserve a real Marxist revolution to take it all away. They have benefited from a country that generously gave them decades of low taxes in the hopes that they would help make this a better place. They fucked it up, and it’s time to give back. If your parents supported you through college in order for you to get your MBA and get rich, then you take care of them if they go through hard times. You don’t say, “Sorry, Mom, but how can I create jobs if I have to help you avoid losing your house?” Unless you do, in which case, you are a dick and deserve to be put up against the wall in the aforementioned revolution.

Back at the pharmacy, the old woman walked away from the counter, putting back the cheap socks and orange juice she was going to buy, leaving with her prescriptions, her sacrifice far from shared.

8 thoughts on “Unshared sacrifice

  1. Obama does not get Marginal Utility of money.

    But he doesn’t get actual empathy either.

  2. And that diaper she was wearing? Since her money has been stretched already to the breaking point, she probably doesn’t buy disposable diapers: She’s had to cut up old sheets to make washable, reusable diapers. Not as comfortable, but it’s all she can afford.

    Thank goodness (actually thank LBJ) for Medicare.
    It’s hard on her, since hand washing causes her arthritic hands to become very painful, but, hey, she’s just following the Chained CPI.

    First, she went to cheaper disposable diapers; then, since the weren’t as effective, she padded them with whatever she had around; now, she’s using whatever old fabrics she still has around (she had to downsize severely to find cheaper housing. so got rid of lots of stuff) to make diapers.

    Once a year, since she is diabetic, she can get new shoes. But getting socks is expensive and she tries to make do. She does know she needs to keep her feet protected from rubbing and blisters, opportunities for infection to set in, but she can’t even afford the cheap socks any longer.

    She rues the day she tossed out many of her clothes when she moved to her smaller housing…. She can’t afford new clothing now.

    She used to occasionally find usable clothes in the unsold rummage sale goods people put out as garbage, but now she’s finding she doesn’t have the energy to check things like that out and she doesn’t have the strength to carry much home with her….

    So it’s old sheet, old t-shirt diapers. It’s that or food. That or going without heat. And so forth. Oh, and she’s very proud and is resisting going on Medicaid; she also fears losing all her doctors. But, since the states are cutting Medicaid, she might still have too much income to get on it.

    But, oh, she could really use better cushioned socks….

    Life in these United States. Brought to you by RepublicDems, Austerians, Corporatists, and Obama.

  3. Ooops, the “Thank goodness (actually thank LBJ) for Medicare” was supposed to be a line just before the graf about Medicare reimbursed shoes for diabetics.

  4. It was under Clinton that the tax on SS for the wealthy was eliminated. Why should people making over say 100,000 ever collect SS. It was meant to be a safety net, not an entitlement program.

  5. abbeysbooks: If Social Security taxes are not paid by everyone at some level and if everyone does not get a benefit payment then it will be seen as a WELFARE program and not insurance. Once it becomes a WELFARE program, then it can changed, eliminated, benefits cut with no recourse. For all that Warren Buffet contributes, his maximum benefit is still only about $23,000 a year. (Benefit amount source: Social Security Administration website; Warren Buffet used as an example only.)

    And, may I ask, what tax on SS are you talking about that was eliminated?

  6. It ain’t gonna be pretty when you have millions of youth in awash in guns, with no prospects of jobs, no future environmentally speaking to look forward to, and a government that doesn’t give a shit about them. You think gang activity was bad before? Wait til the shit hits the fan! People will be lucky if they can drive to work without getting shot at, car-jacked, beaten up and robbed over what they’re wearin or what they look or smell like.
    Friday afternoon robberies will go through the roof, as will convenience store robberies, b & e, supermarket parking lot grab and goes. The list is endless and now the needy are becoming the majority – great combination for mayhem if you ask me.

Comments are closed.