If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Wednesday 22 August 2012
Read gnomica 1-100 here!
“Politics is the art of looking for trouble,
finding it everywhere,
diagnosing it incorrectly and
applying the wrong remedies.”
Groucho Marx (2 Oct 1895 – 19 Aug 1977)
Here we are, once more in a presidential season, and the mindless rhetoric is seriously heating up as the money to get it out there is seriously piling up. Not that much is being said about solutions to our troubles but lots of fustian is finding its flimsy way into the character assassinations that have come to feature so prominently in the political exchanges of the day.
That great ‘radio-days’ comedian, Groucho Marx, so long ago (the 1930s-1950s) might as well have been talking above about 2012. Indeed, it might well seem more true than ever right now.
One day one guy says what today’s audience wants to hear, tomorrow the other guy charms another audience by going on the attack against it. Each finds trouble — real and imaginary — everywhere within the crumbling ambit of the other’s plot, refuses to recognize — much less acknowledge — the weeds in his own backyard, and problematic or patently impossible solutions are freely and recklessly scattered like seeds to the wind by both sides to grow an improbable fantasy garden. Of course, only “they” will be made to fork over the taxes to pay for what “you” will get.
It is truly astonishing how eager we all are assumed to be to learn – and, all facts right in front of our noses to the contrary notwithstanding, believe — that this time this guy really does “feel your pain” and is finally going to make life “fair” for you and stick it to all the greedy clutterers-up. I believe that we all have, to a greater or lesser degree, developed an unjustified sense of entitlement, whether it be for this special service or that special dispensation that others should pay for – thus the high-flyers want tailored tax-breaks and the rest want grants of one kind or another – for food, tuition, transportation, day care, whatever. After all, “they” can afford it for “me”.
If you actually sat down and figured out the cost of everything these slick pols assure you you are “entitled” to and then thought about who was actually paying for it, “they” might not seem so totally tight-fisted and hopelessly heartless – the fact is that “they” who are the 1% of the population with the biggest adjusted gross income paid 36.73% of all taxes in 2009, and the bottom 50% of the population (who make less than $32,396 a year) paid 2.25% of all taxes.
So, I suppose that, yes, depending on just how “fair” is defined, you could argue that our tax system is indeed far from “fair”. As for “misdiagnoses” and “wrong remedies”, paste a daily Times on a wall and start throwing darts, starting with the tediously endless Afghanistan narratives …