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.