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June 06, 2003

"The Return of Class War - Bush and the new tyranny of the rich."

Only if you want to be depresses, pissed off, or both: The Return of Class War - Bush and the new tyranny of the rich. By Michael Kinsley

Posted by jay at June 6, 2003 09:32 AM | TrackBack
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An interesting article. Taxation, to use a marketing term, is "positioned" very differently in Europe than it is here in the US. I was brought up with the (rather simplistic, but effective) notion that tax is something you pay for in return for services from the government. But the republican party line, which they seem to have pushed to a fair chunk of the population, is that taxation is money the government takes from you, and then disappears.

There never seems to be an acknowledgement that capitalism could never flourish without taxation. Heck, I can't think of a single industry that isn't sustained by government subsidy. And I'm not talking about direct subsidy either -- what business could survive if there was no internet, no telephone ... no freeway system? None would exist today without major public works initiatives, and none would survive the decade without government intervention via funding and regulation.

So why is it OK in this country for major corporations and wealthy individuals to say they pay the tax? They benefit from the "welfare" system more than ANYONE.

Posted by: david on June 6, 2003 12:38 PM

Hendrik Hertzberg's notes and comment this week in the New Yorker is brilliant-- he argues that perhaps the reason the Bush administration is failing so badly at rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure is that it doesn't really believe governments should do that at all. I think one response to the tax-is-theft mentality is realizing that, like those bumper stickers say about regime change, "nation-building begins at home."

I mean really, why care about potholes or homeless people or police budgets when you live in a gated community with private security. (In that new Atwood book I'm reading, the non-gated sections of America are referred to as the "Plebelands" by the cosseted rich. We are not far, I fear.) There truly are people in power today who deny the idea of the commonweal. But as soon as they need a road built to their new factory, the wheels of public works are supposed to leap into action. I've seen it so many times it makes me want to move to one of those places with a more "simplistic" view of taxes.

Posted by: jay on June 6, 2003 01:07 PM
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