Scenes from the class war

The Gospel takes away our right forever to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.”

“Does it surprise you that a disproportionate amount of rich people are dicks?”

“I think I have a little more empathy than Mitt Romney had.”

“And Republicans wonder why people think Republicans don’t care about the poor.”

The 2013 Housing Wage is $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.”

“So Bachmann yet again earns Four Pinocchios. But there really aren’t enough Pinocchios for such misleading use of statistics in a major speech.”

“The Republican Study Committee budget would delay eligibility for Medicare and Social Security benefits to age 70, while calculating cost-of-living adjustments using chained CPI, which cuts benefits by $1300 a year for each recipient.”

“A Republican Congressman on the House Budget Committee whose car dealership has at least $2.5 million in debts insisted on Wednesday that companies and individuals must balance their budgets ‘every single day.'”

“Many politicians who advocate for cuts to vital programs and a dangerous Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution use the argument that government needs to live with in its means because everyone else does — but have debt of their own.”

“The budget will be balanced, if Ryan gets his way, through a campaign of thoroughgoing class warfare aimed at Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution in order to protect the interests of a small, high-income minority.”

“This is the moment to pass a big tax cut for employers who hire new workers, to rebuild our infrastructure at bargain- basement rates, and to help state and local governments reverse the deep cuts they’ve made in recent years. It’s not the moment to begin sequestration.”

“Senate Republicans will refuse to allow a vote until after Democrats agree to weaken consumer-protection laws.”

“Usury — specifically usury that is legal — is a rather important issue of fundamental fairness and justice that simply has not received the amount of attention and active emphasis that it is owed.”

“We said all that you can do is kill us. What else can you do? We’re not afraid of you.”

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  • TheBrett

    To be fair to the Car Dealership Republican, it could be that his business has taken on a fair amount of debt because he’s pushing it through an expansion, and needed to borrow money to do it. Still a bit hypothetical, but more understandable.

  • Lori

    Even if Car Dealership Republican took on business debt for a very good reason he’s still a hypocritical moron. Contrary to what wingers try to tell us, government debt can also be taken on for good reasons. Taking on debt to invest in infrastructure is basically the government version of a business taking on debt to expand.

  • That actually makes it worse, IMO. It demonstrates that the moron knows that you HAVE to SPEND money to MAKE money.

  • I think that for some moneyed interests, the government expanding is what they want to avoid.

    After all, to them the government is competition.

  • While agreeing with that Wonkette article’s general thesis, I do take exception to some of the elements in it. Yes, rich people on average donate a smaller portion of their income than poor people, I do not dispute that. However, rich people also have a much larger income than poor people, and in absolute terms may well donate a lot more money on an individual basis, even if it is smaller terms relative to their income. I recall (possibly apocryphally) of Bill Gates sometimes saying that he was making more money than he could effectively give away (and this is a guy who now works full-time running an organization dedicated to giving away that money to various causes, eradicating polio from third world countries being a big one.) I am certainly not going to call him uncharitable for that, because the charity he is giving is still a heck of a lot and is being used effectively.

    As for the other elements, how rich donate to various causes based on their personal interest rather than wider social need, I also do not contest that assertion. However, someone has to keep things like art studios and universities well funded and equipped. Those things might not be as critical, but they are culturally valuable and worth preserving That said, it is no excuse for them to not contribute to actual necessary and pressing issues, usually through the form of taxation.

  • In related news: Tennessee is working on a bill (which shows every sign of passing the House and Senate) which would tie welfare payments to a child’s academic performance, allowing them to reduce payments to families whose children are doing poorly in school. Notably, they do not intend to ensure that every child gets an adequate education.

  • Albanaeon

    There’s also the fact that we have a fiat currency and any government debt or surplus is just some numbers on a spread sheet. The sooner we realize that money is just a way of representing the will of a government, the sooner a whole range of imaginary (whose effects are real) problems go away and we can get things moving in the right direction again.

  • smrnda

    I attended a large research university that got lots of donations from rich alums. Most of the money got poured into the computer science department as they tended to pull in the most $$$.

    However, this ‘charity’ basically benefited people like myself; children from upper-middle class households who were going to get good educations through the high school level, whose parents could pay the tuition (pretty steep even with financial aid, and don’t even think you can survive competitive programs if you have to work 20 hours a week to pay your rent.)

    Yeah, it’s doing some good. It probably even benefits poor people since we all benefit from new technology.

    I also love the arts. It’s nice when I see someone donating 50,000 to an art gallery or theater. But hey, if there’s enough money for that, there ought to be enough money to make sure there aren’t hungry kids in this country.

    The other thing is rich people get to itemize deductions and poor people don’t, so every cent they ‘donate’ is a cent less they pay in taxes.

  • Victor Savard

    Sorry Fred! “I’M” going to read all of this post NOW!

    I know! I know! Some times, sinner vic can be a fuckup too.

    I hear YA! How about Victor NOW?

    God only knows for sure about “ME”, “ME” and “ME” NOW!?

    Keep praying folks


  • Random_Lurker

    Especially true of governments, who literally pay themselves (with a delayed return, admittedly) thanks to taxes..

  • That was the primary argument of Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, the Living, an excuse-plot short story designed to demonstrate the potential of an economic system wherein everyone is granted enough money to cover all their basic needs, meaning that employers must provide a better incentive to work than “or else you’ll die” (which means that employees are guaranteed far better wages and working conditions, as they always have the option to tell such employers to shove it without dooming themselves in the process).

    My main concern with the idea is that it seems like it would have some repercussions where international trading is concerned. What is the exchange rate for infinite monies to finite monies? Or do we assume that if one nation embraces this, they all follow suit? At the time Heinlein wrote For Us, the Living (1938), the United States was practicing isolationism and the global market wasn’t really a thing, so he never addressed these possible ramifications of his idea, and I haven’t seen anyone else do so either, making the imaginary money solution potentially nonviable.

  • Fair enough. As a college student, I donated about $200 per year to one of the community college’s student clubs that I helped co-found. In accordance with the bylaws that govern all student clubs, all donations had to have tax-deductible receipts, which we gave out with each donation.

    However, I did not make enough money to actually pass the threshold that qualified me for those deductions. I am glad that the club got the money, but I feel like the government was telling me, “No, don’t donate, just be selfish” with the way the incentive structure worked.

  • Lori

    I’m also not going to call Bill Gates uncharitable. However, I don’t think the quality-control issues faced by the world’s 2nd richest person have much to say about the general giving habits of the wealthy.

    As yes, someone needs to support the arts, but there’s a “however” here too. One of the reasons the arts are so dependent on big bucks donors is that those same rich folks block any attempt to spend a reasonable amount of public money on the arts. They like the control and prestige they get from the current system, plus it allows them to benefit via tax breaks and self-dealing disguised as charity.

  • There can be consequences to over printing money, which is why the proposition must be approached with caution(and a more functional government than the one we have at the moment).

    This website has got the best collection of posts I’ve ever found on Modern Monetary Theory, which expounds on the possibilities and risks of fiat money.

  • Mark Z.

    The other thing is rich people get to itemize deductions and poor people don’t, so every cent they ‘donate’ is a cent less they pay in taxes.

    No, it’s not. Every dollar they donate is, like, thirty cents less they pay in tax. It’s a deduction, not a credit. They would end up with more money if they just paid the tax.

    (And the reason the poor “don’t get to” itemize deductions is that they’re already allowed to deduct more than that.)

  • Lori

    I wondered what they were going to do to screw the poor after their drug testing scheme didn’t actually allow them to kick large numbers of people off welfare. Now I know.

    This is obviously genius. They couldn’t actually shoot poor people up with drugs so that they could be kicked off welfare, but they can underfund schools so that poor kids can’t get an education so that their families can be kicked off welfare. Less money for school + less money for the poor = more money for the rich = WIN!

  • Albanaeon

    This isn’t a prescription for infinite money and there are serious constraints in making sure that there’s not too much money chasing too few goods, but recognizing artificial restraints as artificial is important. We are having deficit reduction on this idea that we can run out of money, which we can’t. We are also laboring under the massive amounts of money the rich have offshore and in the stock market are good, when since they’ve more or less removed all that money from the economy as a whole, its terrible. We’re terrified of inflation due to decades of propaganda when it probably a good idea for a modest inflation considering the amount of debt the public holds (if inflation increases wages and the amount of debt you hold remains steady, it becomes easier to pay off that debt). And this all comes down to recognizing “money” as the instrument of a government’s will. If it were devoted to solving some of the real problems our society has, funding the policies that put money in people’s pockets and ceasing policies that hurt it would work. (ps I don’t know why Discus is not letting me make separate paragraphs right now. Sorry.)

  • hf

    Eh? Certainly killing Bill Gates and distributing his money to the poor seems unlikely to improve the world. But most rich people are not Bill Gates. Killing them and distributing their money to the poor would, according to these numbers, increase the amount given to charity.

    I’m not endorsing that, but I also don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    someone has to keep things like art studios and universities well funded and equipped.

    Seems like many conservatives would dispute this. Even I would prefer to sacrifice (some of) the funding for these if it meant funding more obviously efficient charities – though I would likely start with existential risk prevention.

  • hf

    International trading doesn’t seem like the main problem here.

    In any case, under the current system we recently saw something like US $14 trillion dollars in digital money (1.4 x 10^13) disappear because it originally came from the housing bubble. This led to a decrease in yearly demand of I think $1.3 trillion.

    Theoretically, we could just print money and give it to people (or hire the unemployed to fix our broken infrastructure) if we stop people from printing that money via bubbles the way they do now. For example, we could institute a marginal tax rate of 90%, kicking in after ten times the US median household income, on money earned from an investment bubble. This could be retroactive to the passage of the law. I’d also like to see a cumulative marginal tax on income made while one’s organization was heading for bankruptcy or government bailout.

    Should we decide that we want the money to disappear, like it did after the bubbles, we can start taxing people with poor business connections and anyone who can’t understand math (then burn/delete the money). This would have the same effect as what we have now.

  • I yield to the superior knowledge of those with a better grasp of economy than myself. XD

  • I’m not endorsing that, but I also don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    More that I wanted to make a point to not simply uncritically accept everything that comes from a source simply because we agree with its sentiments or conclusions. Too many people do that already, and it messes with people’s understanding and gums up the political process (Fox News even makes a business of such things.) As usual, issues are more complicated than a few short sentences can make them.

    Granted, I would hope that for many people here that should go without saying, but I wanted to put a voice to it anyway so that the unremarked does not turn into the unconsidered.

  • stardreamer42

    I was surprised and pleased to see that Baptists were taking on the “payday loans” scam. Then I clicked thru and saw that it was the New Baptist Convocation, not the Southern Baptists or any of the other major Baptist organizations. Still better than nothing, but not by a long shot the cause for jubilation that I’d hoped for.

    My parents, who were well-off but by no means rich (and who never lost their Depression-era penny-pinching habits, and considered my approach to money criminally wasteful) were extremely fond of the aphorism “You don’t get rich by giving money away.” I’m sure they donated to their church, because that’s what people in their social class did, but aside from that I would have been surprised to learn that they gave to any charity.

  • The so-called “paradox of thrift” as presented in the video is debunked at and

  • Victor Savard

    I guess, this was not posted by the hackers if they exist but trust me, I did post “IT” in Fred’s last post. Anyway I’ll get on topic below this.

    (((They could not create the kind of society that they wanted in America (despite ostensibly loving it,) so they left it to create their own.)))

    I hear ya Fear less Son but long story short,

    I hear ya NOW!

    Go Figure folks!? :)


    (((While agreeing with that Wonkette article’s general thesis, I do take exception to some of the elements in it.)))

    True that me, myself and i don’t always agree on a LOT that I’ve kept a secret but on this I must say that “I” agree with you when you say in so many kind words that we shouldn’t be picking on rich people cause we are all God’s Children. I could tell you stories of when our Canadien family was growing up and how I fought to keep our Canadian Children’s family allowance from being de-indexed and long story short, just when I was almost successful, the graduate student who was helping out got offered a job by our government and took “IT”. The good news there is that she is still working and helping the poor and “I’M” not about to start naming names but I will say that if anyone thinks that they will quiet me down from starting another blog when our Canadian Fed…. election starts, well they better find themselves a silver bullet if ya get my drift NOW?

    By the Way Fred! I did also look at that clip and long story short, “I” must say that “The U>S (usual sinners) card is still being quietly played”! Well for what “IT” is worth, that’s how “I” see “IT” NOW!

    I hear Ya! There’s nothing wrong with YA Victor, “IT” is the rest of the world.

    Go Figure sinner vic! :)

    Keep praying NOW


  • hf

    I wanted to make a point to not simply uncritically accept everything that comes from a source simply because we agree with its sentiments or conclusions.

    In that case, let me point out that – contrary to Dorothy Day and the first link – the incoherent collection of stories we call the Gospel can’t take away anyone’s right to do anything. I strongly doubt I’d agree with any of the authors on issues such as usury, and whatever was supposed to justify violence against moneychangers. And while Fred tries to claim that the Bible develops toward a better morality as it goes along, the latest-written parts seem among the worst. (They also won the day for more than a thousand years, until people started groping towards the scientific method.)

    Yeah, I don’t think we’re uniform enough to be a proper cult.

  • c2t2

    I’m deeply horrified, but I can’t help being impressed. No fictional evil genius can hope to achieve such brilliance. I hadn’t even made the connection until you pointed it out.

  • Ah, you’re drinking the Chris Hadrick kool-aid.

  • Yeah. I don’t even qualify for the tax credits for charitable/political donations, so even though some of the money I send in to the CCPA and the NDP qualify, I don’t even bother putting them on my tax forms.

    I can, in theory, carry the deductions forward but it’s worth so little at the end of the day it really won’t matter until my income doubles.

  • “The budget will be balanced, if Ryan gets his way, through a campaign of thoroughgoing class warfare aimed at Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution in order to protect the interests of a small, high-income minority.”

    Ah, another ‘Ryan budget’, I see. How did this waste of space manage to keep his Congressional seat?

  • The idea is called the citizen’s income and I think the UK green party make a good argument for it here

    As does this article here

  • Explain, please.

  • gpike

    As an actual functioning artist (the kind who draws pictures!) and a friend of many other artists, I can only laugh at this idea of “the arts”. As if any of us actually see any money from the money rich people put into “the arts”. If people want to support “the arts” they should BUY ART FROM ARTISTS or donate directly to their local theatre/symphony group or whatever.
    I seriously don’t believe I’ll ever be able to make a living from doing art – I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t HAVE to – many of my friends aren’t so fortunate.

  • hf

    Didn’t you just quote the answer? Actually, I suspect gerrymandering as well. Look at those total numbers. The district map looks much better than some I’ve seen, but if Ryan’s district included even part of the 4th we could well have seen a different result.

  • He thinkls all he has to do to make his points is link to Uh yeah, appeal to the neoclassical theory which basically boils down to “Trust us, businesses totally will act like perfect competitors if the government just gets out of the way! (^_^)”, and “Monopolies and oligopolies? Pshaw! (^_^)”

  • Under Wisconsin election law, Ryan was allowed to run concurrently for vice president and for Congress and was not allowed to remove his name from the Congressional ballot after being nominated for the vice presidency. Ryan was reelected to the House in 2012 with 55% of his district’s vote.

    Oh, how convenient for him. *rolls eyes*

  • hf

    I actually meant the $5.4 million.

  • Hey! *wavewave* Why “Space Marine”? :)

  • I… didn’t… quote… any monetary sums in my original comment.

  • Lorehead

    Here’s another:

    “[…] it is striking and discouraging to find female mortality rates on the rise in 42.8 percent of US counties [….]”

    What could predict worsening mortality rates, however, were socioeconomic factors.

  • Jenny Islander

    Note that this is on top of the USDA “reform” of the school meals program. The new program, in the name of preventing obesity, keeps children too hungry to concentrate on their schoolwork. I did the math: a high schooler who can’t count on any food besides school breakfast and lunch is receiving fewer calories per day than the volunteers in the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Experiment. Even the little K students are underfed!

    So these kids, already wobbly and distracted with hunger, must drag through the day knowing that if they slip, nobody at home gets any food.

    Tennessee residents, PLEASE write to your legislators!

  • I do like to link to to make my points. Though I renounced libertarianism sometime in 2010-11, I still view many issues through the lens of free-market economics. The Mises Institute is Austrian, not neoclassical- . The Mises Institute views the vision of “perfect competition” as unrealistic- . I have a print copy of Mises’s Human Action with Bob Murphy’s study guide at home and read it when I have the time. I read Bob Murphy’s blog every time it is updated. The Mises Institute is, indeed, opposed to antitrust legislation [citation not needed]. I still do not see antitrust legislation as necessary.

  • Bnerd

    Yes, rich people have a *much* larger income and that’s part of the problem. Inequality has made it so the rich have untold sums of money to play with while the vast majority of the population lives paycheck to paycheck; and yet as we see those with less are willing to give more of what they have. Slice it however you like, but it would seem the poor understand generosity more than the rich. (As a side note, I don’t begrudge anyone having money, but I certainly begrudge a system which stacks the deck against the people who need help the most).

    I don’t mind charity either, whether it be from rich or poor. But you know what would help more than charity? Livable wages. And how many wealthy philanthropists who own these multinational companies are lining up for that idea right now? Some. But not enough. That says a lot.

    As for the arts, you should perhaps put an asterisk there. They do support it, but usually their support does not help local artists or low income people striving to break into the scene.

  • smrnda

    Thanks. I am obviously not an accountant :-)

  • smrnda

    I think it’s also worth asking how rich people got their money to donate. If you donate a bunch of money but you earn it by driving wages down to below the poverty level, you’re creating more problems than you’re solving.

    Kind of reminds me.. the local Wal-Mart has this sign about how they donated 2000 one year. I donate that myself, and I’m one person, and the real issue is why I’m being disproportionately compensated versus other people. Given every worker whose getting a screwing at Wal-Mart and how much money is getting sucked upwards in the corporation from keeping workers pay low, keeping them part-time so they can’t get benefits (and the attendant costs to the community either through government aid or the need for private charities), taking credit for this *generosity* is really laughable.

    On funding the arts, I know some artists, and believe me, the funding isn’t going to any artists I know. You know what would benefit artists? LIVING WAGES for the real jobs they have to do… and health insurance.

  • Dorothy Day was also an opponent of the income tax. social power > state power

  • “I’m also not going to call Bill Gates uncharitable.” that’s big of you

  • I’ve typed ten trillion words on this site, I don’t just link to articles. I mostly link to charts

  • Then you don’t know anything about it.
    Anti-trust legislation is about *preserving competition*.

  • I’m not American, and I’m not really sure how your system works, so I’m not sure if I’m understanding you correctly; do you mean that people who aren’t educated are kicked off welfare?

  • Lorehead

    This really has nothing to do with printing money. Giving people a minimum income costs money; you can fund that program in any of the ways you could fund any program. You could fund it through taxation. You could fund it through borrowing. You could fund it by creating money and using it to buy food for the poor rather than bonds. Each of these ideas has its disadvantages, some worse than others. That’s a totally separate issue from whether we should have a minimum income.