Tolleson, DL. “Words Have Meaning and the Rich Don't Pay Their Fair Share.”
Tolleson, DL. “Words Have Meaning and the Rich Don't Pay Their Fair Share.”
During the opening months of 2009, President Barak Obama announced that our government needed to spend trillions of dollars in the short term in order to ensure prosperity in the long term. Of course that doesn’t make sense. He got away with it because of the way he phrased it.
His actual quote was, “...we must add to our deficits in the short-term to provide immediate relief to families and get our economy moving.”1
When said that way, it sounds sort of sensible. It comes across like the national equivalent of a person charging an emergency expenditure to a credit card. That, too, is a short-term deficit to provide immediate relief and… Well, that’s where the comparison breaks down. The credit charge expense isn’t carried over to the children or grandchildren. And the credit card debt certainly doesn’t get the household economy moving.
And neither do “short term deficits” on the national scale—especially if they are being incurred with that as a goal.
The problem is that trillions of dollars in deficits provide precious little relief in the short term. Saddling ourselves, our children and grandchildren with a bill for trillions of dollars would have never got “our economy moving” (as history has since proven). And without following-up with a radical reverse in economic action, short term deficits do not provide long term benefits or relief. There is nothing about that which is temporary, prosperous or economically viable.
What Obama did was to use language to say one thing that seemed like another. He associated the long term nature of national deficits to the premise of a “short term action” for immediate relief. But if you look at that very premise—that there is a modicum of anything short term concerning a national deficit—you immediately realize that is not the case. In fact, the very reason the United States has a national debit in the trillions and never balances the budget is one of the direct, long term impacts of deficit spending.
The lesson here is to differentiate facts from assertions. Words have meaning and using them incorrectly does not alter their meanings.
And while I’m on the subject of the Obama administration and assertions… I never thought I would live in a country where the government could tell a private company to ditch their CEO.2 That sort of thing was okay for the old USSR but in America? Unbelievable. In covering this story—about General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner stepping aside at the insistence of government—Rush Limbaugh (of the Rush Limbaugh Show) indicated, “…if you dig deep in this Politico story, you find that Rick Wagoner is considered responsible for increasing GM’s focus on trucks and SUVs at the expense of the hybrids and fuel-efficient cars that have become more popular in the last couple of years. Become more popular? It is trucks and SUVs that kept them afloat. When the history of this is all written, the question’s going to be: ‘Where was the media? Where was the media when this takeover of capitalism and the private sector by the Obama administration was taking place, where was the media?’”3
The answer to Limbaugh’s question for the future is encapsulated in his chagrin regarding the assertion that hybrids and fuel-efficient cars became more popular. Really? They were way less popular than the trucks and the SUVs that outsold them. The mainstream media was complicit, tolerant or bamboozled by this assertion over fact.
As for the government sticking its hand into private enterprise… Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because some monster company took a handout—granted a HUGE handout—from the government does not make it right that the government should start taking over. In truth, the government shouldn’t have been handing out money like it was freshly printed monopoly money. If a business has problems that it can’t dig itself out of it should go belly-up. It doesn’t matter how big it is.
The problem with the economy leading up to, and then worsened during the Obama years, was not one related to Free Enterprise or Capitalism, per se. I know that sounds like a big horse pill to swallow. But there were specific problems that the Bush administration tried to address as far back as the early 2000s. Democrats blocked those recommendations. I am talking about government-enforced lending practices. It wasn’t that financial institutions decided to abandon sound lending policies and throw money at people who were unlikely to pay it back. The banks were practically strong-armed into making bad loans and the very things that are on record as being predicted, natually happened as a result.
Oh, I’m sure some of you are about to blow your stack about now. I can just hear it: “You capitalistic pig, the problem with our economy isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue! We’ve let too many crooks get away with financial murder!”
Well, you’re partly right: It’s just that the crooks who got away with financial murder were the Democrats running the show by covering their tracks with high and mighty sound bites.
These are not just assertions pulled out of thin air. Have a look at this news item from the “Special Report with Brit Hume,” aired by the Fox News Channel on Wednesday, September 24, 2008.4
Or any of these Sixty Plus Video Clips on Fannie Mae Hearings.5
And then on top of all of this came the bailout money.
Here’s a simple truth: If you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, you don’t get out of debt by incurring additional interest owed on a new loan. Even though paper money has no intrinsic value, whenever it is borrowed, loaned or printed, it cost more of it.
Avoid assertions and look for the facts. Stop accepting at face value the soundbites thrown at you by the Washington crowd. Avoid the goose-stepping mainstream media, which will all breathless report variations of the exact same commentary—in fact they will all use the exact same words. There are alternatives, one of which I can think of is the One American News Network…
Now, let’s turn our attention to another assertion where words have meaning and consider the age old saw that says the rich don’t pay their fair share. We’ve heard this for about as long as there has been progressive income tax rates and rich people. Those rich fat cats get away with everything.
But is that a fact or merely and assertion?
The numbers tell us that, historically, the filthy rich top 5% of wage earners have paid over half (about 54%) of the taxes collected in this country. Drop down the pay scale a bit and include the nearly filthy rich and the top 10% of the wage earners have paid about 65% of ALL taxes collected. Drop down the pay scale a bit more to include the “well to do” and we find that nearly the entire burden of taxation—roughly 3˝ to 4% shy of the entire collection of taxes have been paid by the top 50% of wage earners. Not 50% of everybody, but rather just half of the top wage earners have paid roughly 96% of all taxes. This group also includes mom and pop operations that hire employees while paying other business-related expenses, overhead, fees and taxes,
Assertion or fact? Well, if you have excel you can look at the numbers yourself by Downloading the 2003 IRS Table Regarding Who Pays Taxes.6
Those are 2003 figures released in late 2005. Projections for every reporting period since are equally staggering. In short, the so-called “rich” have been getting taken to the cleaners.
1 “Remarks by the President on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget.” National Archives and Records Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, 26 Feb. 2009, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-fiscal-year-2010-budget, (Retrieved April 29, 2019).
2 Limbaugh, Rush. “Obama Fires General Motors CEO in Government-Backed Union Coup.” The Rush Limbaugh Show, 30 Mar. 2009, https://w ww.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2009/03/30/obama_fires_general_motors_ceo_in_government_backed_union_coup, (Retrieved April 29, 2019).
4 ProudToBeCanadian. “Timeline Shows Bush, McCain Warning Dems of Financial and Housing Crisis; Meltdown.” YouTube, YouTube, 24 Sept. 2008, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMnSp4qEXNM, (Retrieved June 8, 2009).
5 Tolleson, DL. Query Results for “Fannie Mae Hearings.” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=fannie+mae+hearings, (Retrieved June 8, 2009).
6 “Irs-Soi.” Internal Revenue Service, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/04in06tr.xls, (Retrieved June 8, 2009).