September 18, 2008

from TIME – Swampland


By Joe Klein

McCain and Palin both attacked Joe Biden for saying that it was the patriotic duty of wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes. They believe it’s the patriotic duty of wealthy Americans to pay less in taxes. Alan Greenspan, formerly held in high esteem by John McCain–who once said he was going to rectify his economic ignorance by reading Greenspan’s book–thinks McCain and Palin are wrong…unless they can produce $3.3 trillion in budget savings to pay for the tax cuts. McCain has proposed some significant tax cuts–his opposition to the Farm Bill remains smart and courageous–and some earmark bon-bons tricked out as a big deal, but which only represent about $20 billion. He hasn’t proposed anything remotely resembling $3.3 trillion, nor could he. As for Biden, he’s proposing that the wealthy return to tax rates that are actually lower than those imposed by Clinton–rates which, as you recall, really stifled the economic boom of the 1990s. Obama is proposing only a 20% tax on capital gains, which is lower than 25% rate Clinton demanded, and significantly lower than the income taxes imposed on labor. And Biden’s right: in a system of progressive taxation, it is the patriotic duty of the wealthy to pay more than the middle class or the poor…and furthermore, since we’re all going to be paying for the mess the Wall Street sharks made, I’d go Biden a step further: there probably should be a confiscatory shark tax for any and all executives whose companies have gone belly up and required a federal bailout. Update: Jonathan Cohn over at TNR adds the important point that paying higher taxes during a time of war has been considered a form of patriotism throughout U.S. history. One might even argue that George W. Bush has been downright unpatriotic laying off the costs of his foolish war on our children.


One Response to “Patriotism”

  1. heh, the dog one is kinda scary. all dogs go to heaven?ni like the colorful lights too. Click

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