A Philosopher's Blog

Soon-to-Haves

Posted in Business, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on February 8, 2012
White House Portrait of

Have

I am working on a book on rhetoric and, as might be imagined, this year’s American political season has been a goldmine. Recently Mitch Daniels said “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.”

The phrase “soon to haves” is an excellent example of a euphemism (a more pleasant or appealing phrase or word substituted for one that is negative or likely to be offensive to the audience).  While euphemisms are a stock tool in politics, it is always fair to critically examine their usage to see what sort of reality they might be employed to hide or soften. As such, I will take a short look at this phrase.

Daniels, obviously enough, makes it quite clear that his euphemism is a substitute for “have-nots” (which can itself be seen as something of a euphemism for the term “poor”). “Soon to haves” is clearly a more pleasant phrase than “have nots.” After all, the have-nots are lacking and there is no implication of hope. In fact, the usual way of things is that “whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” In the case of “soon to haves” this not only makes it clear that these folks will be haves but that this having shall come soon. One rather obvious point of concern is whether or not this euphemism matches the reality it is alleged to describe.

On the one hand, the United States (and other countries of the world) does have upward mobility. I am better off than my grandparents on my father’s side (they both had to quit school before the ninth grade in order to take jobs).  People can, obviously enough, become haves even with a start as a have not. As such, the United States (and all countries) is a land of haves and soon-to-haves.

To use an analogy, in running there are people who win races or place and those that do not. As in general life, the winners are haves and those who do not are have nots. Of course, some people who do not place in this race or that race go on to place in another race. Thus, runners could also be seen as haves and soon-to-haves rather than haves and have nots. Except, of course, the people who might never place. Fortunately, in the case of running, most runners can actually find some race in which to place in. After all, there are lots of races and with some effort and luck one can find such a race. Of course, the running analogy breaks down pretty quickly. After all, while there are plenty of races and running competition is basically fair, the same is not true of the economy. Overall, there is just one race that is going on all the time. Also, the economic race is rather clearly an unfair one. Which brings me to the other hand.

On this other hand, it is rather obvious that even though there are soon-to-haves there are also many people who are and will continue to be have-nots. True, some of these people have not because of their own decisions, choices and actions. However, many of them are in that situation due to factors beyond their power to reasonably control. For example, a leading cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt incurred by people who find themselves unable to pay those bills (such as when their insurance coverage is exhausted). Other people find themselves in that boat when their employer goes overseas, goes out of business, or gets taken over and gutted for a profit. Some folks find themselves to be have nots when their retirement vanishes due to corporate mismanagement or clever financial manipulation.

It might be replied that even these folks can be considered soon-to-haves. After all, they do have more than nothing and will no doubt get more of something soon. Hence, they are soon-to-haves if not haves.

The obvious reply is that having more than nothing hardly is what is meant by being a have. It is also obvious that being a have is not just a matter of doing okay. After all, being a have is generally taken to mean doing very well-that is, being wealthy or even rich (which are also vague terms). The obvious reality is that the United States and most other countries have very extreme class disparities between the real haves (the top wealthy) and everyone else (the middle class on down). While there is some mobility between the classes, the transition into the dominion of the true haves is very rare indeed. After all, the true haves make up that vaunted 1%, which means that 99% of the people are not haves in that sense.

It might be objected that I have set the bar for being a have too high. What is meant is not that the soon-to-haves will be haves in the sense of being the top haves, but rather that the soon-to-haves will move from less to more (that is, upward mobility). Of course, as noted above, this would require more than going from nothing to something and even more than going from (for example) abject poverty to merely being poor.

Upward mobility does seem to be a real possibility. However, there is an obvious point of concern: if the United States is a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, how is it that there are still soon-to-haves? After all, those soon-to-haves should have become haves…well, soon. Perhaps the soon-to-haves are all new immigrants-having just arrived, they are not haves but are just a short time from being haves. Of course, this does not match the reality: there are plenty of people and families who have been here a long time and are still poor.

Perhaps some of the soon-to-haves are people who were haves. That is, there is a cycle of having and then being a soon to have. Of course, there are plenty of folks and families that were never haves.

Perhaps the soon-to-haves are kids. After all, kids are not haves but they will grow up soon and perhaps they will be the haves. However, many kids grow up in poverty, live in poverty and die in poverty.

As such, it does seem that while there are soon-to-haves, there are still plenty of have-nots.

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45 Responses

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  1. anon said, on February 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    While quotes only have to sound good, not necessarily be correct, Daniel’s quote reminds me of one from John Steinbeck:
    “‘socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.'”

    Another good one (got this one from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_steinbeck.html#ixzz1lnS4krKH):
    “It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
    – John Steinbeck

    For a real response I’d say that some, perhaps most, of the ignorance in politics is relying too much on platitudes/bromides (“less regulation”, “smaller government”), incorrect comparisons, and more terrible logic to get others to believe things that are wrong/misleading. These are apparently well liked in political circles because they are “simple” so its easy to get people to remember them and appel strongly to certain persons that don’t want to think for themselves (even though they say they do) or simply believe “simpler is better” no matter what.

  2. dhammett said, on February 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Let’s super-size Mitch’s bumper sticker–and in the process strip the sugar-coating and add some truth :

    “We are a nation of have-a-lots, haves, soon-to-haves, may-eventually haves, have-nots, may-never-haves, and will-never-haves”

    I considered adding “may-have-when-Hell-freezes-overs”, but it I couldn’t avoid the awkward sound of it. I finally decided that this group is likely spread throughout the bottom four or five groups.

  3. ajmacdonaldjr said, on February 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Using your “running a race” analogy, do you believe the federal government should guarantee that all the runners who participate in the race, no matter how well or how poorly they performed, should be awarded first place?

    I’m afraid many Americans fail to realize that in life there will be times when we succeed and times when we fail, and it’s not the government’s job to protect people from failure (get bailed-out). I have learned far more from failures than I have from successes, and I think it would be a great disservice to her citizens if the US government were to guarantee that no one ever fail and that all succeed, regardless of talent, skill, education, knowledge, application, and dedication.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Not at all. But the race should be fair and the folks who finish last should still get some snacks.

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm

        What about those who head right for the snacks without racing?

    • dhammett said, on February 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      “I think it would be a great disservice to her citizens if the US government were to guarantee that no one ever fail and that all succeed, regardless of talent, skill, education, knowledge, application, and dedication.”

      I totally agree. I also recognize that “guaranteeing that no one ever fail and that all succeed, regardless of talent, skill, education, knowledge, application, and dedication” is literally, figuratively, and in almost every other way I can think of, an impossibility. I may write an unsuccessful science fiction story about it, but I’m not going to worry about it.

      I do, however, think about what our government is ‘capable of’ providing to those with little or no “talent, skill, education, knowledge, application, and dedication “, what it ‘does’ provide, and what it ‘should’ provide. Though some would like to treat it as an all-or-nothing issue, it’s not— particularly for a First World country like the US.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on February 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Mike, I think your choice of “soon-to-haves” is a poor one. You would have been way better off with “kinetic military action” as a euphemism for war.

    One reason is that “soon-to-haves” has a pretty clear meaning. Think of a college student–maybe broke today, but in 10 years will probably be well off. Why is this a euphemism?

    • anon said, on February 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

      10 years isn’t very soon and they most likely WON’T be “well off” either.

      • Douglas Moore said, on February 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

        “and they most likely WON’T be “well off” either.”

        Why?

        • anon said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

          first, define “well off”
          second, look at the # of college students in the past and # of “well off” people today, I’d bet more people went to college than there are people who are “well off” and not everybody who is “well off” necessarily went to/graduated college.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:31 am

      For the soon-to-haves who really are soon to be in on the having, it is not a euphemism. But to say that we are a nation of haves and soon-to-haves makes it a euphemism since many of those alleged to be soon-to-haves are poor and will remain poor. “Soon-to-have” sounds way better than “poor.”

      • T. J. Babson said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:50 am

        But examine what Daniels actually said: “We do not accept that ours will ever be a nation of haves and have nots; we must always be a nation of haves and soon to haves.”

        Clearly, the nation of “haves and soon to haves” is meant in an aspirational sense–that we must always strive to remove impediments to upward social mobility.

        • anon said, on February 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

          But the US IS a nation of haves, might one day haves, and never will haves (have nots). He is actually straight up not accepting the reality of what has occurred in the US in the past and what is occurring in the US today.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

          I’m fine with aspiration. However, “soon-to-haves” is still just a euphemism. We will continue to be a nation of haves and have nots for a very long time (probably until the end).

  5. Douglas Moore said, on February 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I’m doing better than my grandparents.

    • dhammett said, on February 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      I, too, am probably doing better than your grandparents, but I can’t be absolutely certain.
      Are you referring to your maternal grandparents or your paternal grandparents? Or both?.

      This gets curiouser and curiouser. Are you sure you didn’t fudge just a teensy bit on Charles Murray’s quiz? ‘Cuz I think you and I are really brothers under the skin. Welcome to the family, bro!

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      So am I. But my dads’ parents had around an 8th grade education and worked in a shoe factory. So the bar was set fairly low in that regard. On my mom’s side, her dad was the manager of an IGA. That might be about a tie.

  6. Dave said, on February 9, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    You’re missing a golden opportunity for a Dr. Seuss-style book!

    Have the haves had the soon to haves? Or had half the haves soon to have the soon to haves by half?

    It writes itself! Now all we need are illustrations!

  7. Douglas Moore said, on February 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Marco Rubio at CPAC:

    “Unlike any leader in modern American history, we are led today by a president that has decided to pit Americans against each other…The basic argument he is making to our nation is that the reason why some of us are worse off than we used to be is because other people are doing too well. That the only way for some of us to do better is for some people to do worse.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2012/0209/Marco-Rubio-a-CPAC-darling-hammers-Obama

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Sadly, even Mike buys into the sophistry that when person A gets richer he does it at the expense of person B. The problem is that this can’t explain why we are all richer today…

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        Depends on how the rich get richer. If, for example, I sell my books on Amazon I get “richer” at the expense of others. After all, they have to provide Amazon and I money. For them to get the money, they need to get it from someone else and so on until we reach the source of the money (that is, the state).

        • T. J. Babson said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

          “If, for example, I sell my books on Amazon I get “richer” at the expense of others.”

          Only if the person reading your book does not get his money’s worth. If he does get his money’s worth it is a fair trade, and if he learns something really useful he may end up profiting from the deal.

          • dhammett said, on February 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

            I prefer comparing apples to apples. This is concrete v abstract. If Michael makes money from the sale, he’s richer. He can, if he wishes, go out and buy food, clothing, shelter with his riches. As you point out, even ‘if’ his reader (Joe the Reader) gets his money’s worth (abstract), and ‘if’ he learns something useful (abstract ), he ‘may’ or may not at some point be richer in the sense that he can buy more food, clothing, shelter, with his riches (concrete).

            Joe may not be able to translate the abstract ‘useful’ aspect of of the deal into riches because of the current economic climate. Or he may be basically unemployable. He read the book and internalized its contents. As a result, he’s more able to perform the jobs he seeks than at any time in his life. But in interviews he comes across as less personable than other interviewees. The fair trade value of the book means nothing to him. In that case,
            Mike gets his share from Amazon, and Joe is x dollars poorer.

            The fair trade depends on too many ‘ifs’ to be meaningful. Others (some people) may be poorer; others (some) may be richer and for some it’s a wash.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

            You’ve seen my writing. I think we can both agree that they are not.🙂

        • wtp said, on February 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm

          True cynic. Re Oscar Wilde: To understand the price of everything and the value of nothing. “Richer” (gain in wealth) is not a function of dollars. If I sell you a brand new Lexus for $500, who got richer, you or me? You ignore the value of the information in those books (or perhaps not…you are referring to books you wrote?). Of course the information is worthless unless the reader has the capacity to make use of it. Depends on what is in the books, but my guess is in your case you indeed got richer. How does a philosopher not understand this?

          • dhammett said, on February 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

            I would guess that, if you stole the brand new Lexus, you got richer by $500 and I got richer by—at least whatever the trade-in value of the Lexus is. Or if I can’t part with that cherry-red beauty I would gain by varying degrees, the intangibles that whatever owning the Lexus can earn me within my social circle, among my clientele, etc. Or (and you’ll have to double check this, because I’m not sure they still allow it) I might donate the car to a charity and claim it on my taxes.
            You would still have the $500. Or you’d have whatever ‘product’ you needed the money for. Or put it under a mattress for a rainy day. If I keep it there long enough, inflation will eat away at its value. Or I can invest it in a stock that goes bust. Or one that takes off like a rocket

            Or perhaps I can burn it, because it’s only money. me love.

            Then again, as I read somewhere, money can’t buy you happiness, but poverty can’t buy you shit. I’ll let others debate that point.

            • dhammett said, on February 11, 2012 at 12:04 am

              Deep apologies.😦 I’m making more editing errors than usual. I hope it’s just the late hour and not the prescription meds.

              I got the “I’s” and the “you’s” confused beginning with the fourth sentence of the second paragraph (“If I I keep it there. . .” should be “If you keep it there”. The “I” to “you” shifts should continue until “. . . because it’s only money. ”

              And strike that “me love” that I left hanging on to the end of the third paragraph. I was going to discuss the Beatles claim that “money can’t by me love” but decided against it, because I didn’t want to get into a lengthy debate over the term “love”.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

              Money can rent you happiness.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

            If we take richer to include all increases in value, then everyone could get richer. If I sell someone a speck of lint for $500,000 and he really loves it, then we are both “richer” in this sense.

            Also, if I pay someone $1 an hour to make widgets I sell at a rate that profits me $10 for his work, then we are both richer. Of course, he’d be richer still if he got more than $1 and he would probably be rather poor relative to me.

            • wtp said, on February 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

              Tell me philosopher, which is the greater achievement in life, wealth or happiness?

              Tell me philosopher, who was happier over the long haul, the schmuck who worked 50 hour weeks for $40K a year, raising a family that brought him joy through their success or Bernie Maddoff who lived the high life for 40 years only to watch one of his sons commit suicide because of some evil that Bernie did? While one must admit there are many, many variations of the relationship between wealth and happiness in this world, one must also admit that the two are not directly related?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

              Happiness. A man can have great wealth and dwell in misery and only fools would call that a good life.

              Well, yeah. I never claimed that wealth caused happiness. My remark that money can rent it was intended as a joke. I’ll be sure to always use🙂 when making comments that are not serious.🙂

        • wtp said, on February 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

          Thinking back…you really learned nothing from our discussion on what is wealth, where does it come from, can it be created. And you never answered this question:

          https://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/wealth/#comment-15388

          • wtp said, on February 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm

            <>

            • wtp said, on February 11, 2012 at 8:23 pm

              or should I say…”crickets”

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Nice rhetoric, but is that true? Also, it seems fair to inquire if the Republican leadership has been working hard to bring all Americans together. Naturally, the criticism does not stand on the actions of the Republicans, but saying the other guy is bad has less bite if one is as bad or worse.

  8. dhammett said, on February 10, 2012 at 12:25 am

    TJ: “we are all richer today…”

    Is that adjusted for inflation?🙂

    I’ve always kind of agreed with Buffett and some other humble billionaires—luck has a lot to do with it to. I like to think he’s not just referring to the great luck of living in the greatest nation in the world. He should also be referring to genetic luck. Example: I haven’t seen too many people with 180 IQ.s who’ve started out at 130 and taught themselves up to 180. And the “luck of the draw”—events falling as they may— does play a major part in the success of the rich. Buffett seems to live under the strange delusion that those who have been fortunate enough to live in America and be blessed with certain talents should give back to the country and the lesser among us who, for example, pave the roads many of the companies he invests in use to conduct their business. And serve up the fast slop that feeds the workers who keep the roofs of the buildings of the businesses he invests in from leaking and caving in. And perhaps their less fortunate relatives who were born with 40 IQ’s and couldn’t be trained up to 100 IQ’s. And those who have to care for them.

    And Buffett, blessed with his sharp mind, doesn’t seem to believe private foundations can do all that’s necessary to help those who need it. He thinks people who have the means should be providing money to the government to support some of those activities. I haven’t heard him yet say we should allow that money to be wasted by an inefficient and corrupt government. Have you? That shouldn’t really need to be said. Anyone born with a high enough IQ knows it’s inefficient and corrupt, and those of us who look at it objectively ‘know’ this inefficiency and corruption didn’t begin, magically, in mid-January 2009, and that Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, politicians and citizens, stand equally guilty in creating and tolerating—again, just until that brief,magic period between mid-January and mid-February— the situation we’re in now.

    The sum of all this?When the one who is rich is unwilling to acknowledge that good fortune , his wealth— in a very real sense—comes at the expense of those with less luck.
    ———
    Douglas and Marco: I could oversimplify and say the actual gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly over the last ten years. But that’s too easy. And anyone can see there’s much more to it than that. And there’s certainly much more to it than the claim that underlies this rich v. poor, American v American meme the parties–both of them– have been employing. Who do you think prints the bumper sticker that reads “Your fair share is not in my wallet”? And who, pray tell, are the words “your” and “my” referring to? Sounds like an transparent attempt to pit American against American to me. And the idea that a single president is attempting (and succeeding, seriously?😦 ) to bring down a great constitutional republic based on a representative democracy with rhetoric just doesn’t hold water.

    In addition, every time there’s an election, the parties and their candidates pit American against American. During election cycles, which—have you noticed?—seem to last forever these days, the bitter rhetoric denouncing the other guy’s ideology gets incredibly intense. In the “good old days”, during an election year a guy could sit down in front of his tv , prop a beer on his belly, and watch wrestling without being bombarded by political ads. With the multi-million dollar infusion of campaign money enabled by Citizen’s United, and the fact that the media is more pervasive than ever, you may have noticed that the situation is already horribly worse.

    Over the next nine months, most sensible people will avoid the media entirely and stick with their beer. That’ll make them more informed citizens, for sure. “Oooo, beer! What can’t it do?” Those who don’t are going to face, in spades, the same rancor and divisiveness we’re seeing during this Republican Party primary season. Why even Newt thinks it’s wrong! Until it works for him—then he thinks it’s right.

    • T. J. Babson said, on February 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Funny you give Warren Buffett a pass. His company owes $1B in taxes and by giving most of his money to the Gates Foundation he avoids paying taxes on that money as well.

      He does talk a good game, however.

      • dhammett said, on February 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

        He plays by the current rules of the game. He also gives massive amounts to charity. Both are very conservative thing to do—or so I’m told 🙂 . And he gives his shareholders within the existing tax structure everything they deserve.
        He has clearly and repeatedly called for changing the current rules so the rich pay more (and, I assume ) will also have fewer if any means at their disposal to avoid doing so. Yes, conservatives also call for massive changes in our tax structure, but—-unsurprisingly—- none that would concede the truth of the role of good fortune (and work, to be sure) and the society that underlies that good fortune in the accumulation of wealth .

        • T. J. Babson said, on February 11, 2012 at 9:35 pm

          dhammett,

          Will you at least concede the fact that The US already taxes the rich harder than any other nation? Our taxes are the most progressive in the world already–won’t you concede that?

          http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/us-taxes-really-are-unusually-progressive/252917/

          Income taxes in America are more progressive than in other rich countries–according to an authoritiative official study which, to my knowledge, has not been contradicted. The OECD’s report “Growing Unequal”, on poverty and inequality in industrial countries, includes a table that provides two measures of income tax progressivity in 2005. This is evidently the source of de Rugy’s numbers. Here they are in an excel file. According to one measure, America’s income taxes were the most progressive of the 24 countries in the sample, except for Ireland. According to the other, they were the most progressive full stop. (A more recent OECD report, “Divided We Stand”, uses different data, a smaller sample of countries and a different measure of progressivity: the results are similar.)

          • dhammett said, on February 12, 2012 at 12:23 am

            TJ : Sure. I concede. But to what purpose?You’ll have to explain to me what the significance of that concession would be.

            1/ “According to one measure, America’s income taxes were the most progressive of the 24 countries in the sample, except for Ireland. According to the other, they were the most progressive full stop.”

            So what? We’re an exceptional nation in many ways. We can go higher if we want. Should it matter what other nations do or don’t do? We’re an exceptionally rich nation (in terms of many, many things that are not accounted for in our budgetary problems). After all, most other first world countries have universal health coverage. Yet we’re fighting tooth and nail to eliminate a plan that’s only been in place for a year or so. . . The countries in gray on the map on this wiki page tell a very interesting story:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care

            Note: It’s a 2009 map. Oh, to be gray again. . . right?

            2/ In the 1950’s the marginal tax rate for the rich was much higher than it is now.

            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213

            Too much about this chart raises interesting questions: What damage. if any, was done to the economy, to progress, to the American system, and to the American people during the years of higher taxation of the rich? Did corporations and the rich really suffer during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, early 80’s, mid-90’s? Did the American public (not including the rich) flourish appreciably during the late 80’s and the Bush tax cuts, or did they suffer?

            Somehow we continued creating millionaires and more and more billionaires during those periods of higher tax rates on the rich, and, frankly, I doubt if adding 20% or 30% to our current marginal tax rate on the rich would crimp their lifestyles or decrease their ongoing desire to make money (by creating products, jobs, etc) one little bit.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

            Our rates for income tax are of a higher percentage (that is, our taxes cap at 35% for pay, 15% for capital gains). However, the rich (individual and corporation) tend to be very good about not paying at that rate. Romney pays a smaller % than I do, as do most corporations.

            I’d say that we soak our middle class harder than the rich, in terms of the % of income taken. If I were running for president, I’d say that I’d be focusing on seeing that the middle class received tax justice.

        • T. J. Babson said, on February 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

          “but—-unsurprisingly—- none that would concede the truth of the role of good fortune (and work, to be sure) and the society that underlies that good fortune in the accumulation of wealth”

          What on earth is the basis for this statement?

          • dhammett said, on February 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

            Name some conservative suggestions for changes in the tax structure that “concede the truth of the role of good fortune (and work, to be sure) and the society that underlies that a good fortune in the accumulation of wealth?”

            EX: Increasing the taxes on those who, in the accumulation of their wealth, benefit most from good fortune and the society that underlies it, for example. . .Name some conservatives calling for that.

            And, by the way, what on earth is the significance of whether other countries have higher or lower taxes on millionaires?
            How on earth did we survive all those years with 90%, 80%, 70% . . . .marginal tax rates on the rich—and still manage to land a man on the moon and fight a war that killed 50k Americans?
            What on earth have been the real benefits to the general population of Bush’s tax cuts?


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