One tax for rich and poor alike

According to pundit Ruth Marcus, it’s no big deal if Social Security benefits get cut as Democrats and Senators work out a deal. You see, the cost of living assumes that everyone has fixed expenditures, whereas in reality “In my house, when the price of beef soars, we substitute chicken.”
Of course, as Digby points out at the link, the same is true if they have to subsist on cat food: By Marcus logic (it seems she’s yet another wealthy pundit demanding the poor sacrifice) that’s not a sign their benefits are too little, it’s a sign the government is letting them manage their money efficiently instead of just splurging. And as also noted at the link, coping with benefits cuts isn’t as neat and tidy as Marcus fantasizes—the finances of the elderly involve lots more doctor visits, for instance, and even with Medicare they take a toll.
Curiously (or maybe not), national pundits take an entirely different view when looking at people making $250,000 a year: They’re struggling middle-class taxpayers and “in large parts of the country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that is associated with wealth.”
This is not new. The same argument’s been made for people making $400,000 and even a million. It’s also ridiculous: as noted at the Atlantic Wire link, even in New York City, the median income is $50,000, so $250,000 isn’t inconsiderable. As LGM points out, the underlying assumption is that if you can’t buy everything you want, you’re not rich (I’ve heard that argument made to prove that $1 million isn’t really rich). Living in an expensive New York condo, having a massive retirement plan putting your kids in private schools are no longer proof you’re rich, they’re proof you’re poor—look how little you have left after all that! Of course, like seniors switching to chicken, a few changes to your lifestyle could improve how much you have leftover, but the idea of calling on the rich to sacrifice? Oh, come on. They suffer much more than the rest of us when they lose money.
As Anatole France says, one law for rich and poor alike, that prevents both equally from stealing bread and sleeping under bridges.

4 Comments

Filed under economics, Politics

4 responses to “One tax for rich and poor alike

  1. Pingback: Dystopia | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Of all the links of tongue and pen | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Defining poverty down—or is it up? | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: And more links (gotta clear out those bookmarks!) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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