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Thread: Bill Maher: When Will Obscenely Rich A**holes Stop Crying About Taxes?

  1. #1
    Atypical is offline

    Bill Maher: When Will Obscenely Rich A**holes Stop Crying About Taxes?

    The wildly wealthy got us into this mess, and now they're whining non-stop because they might have to pay a little more in taxes.

    New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It's so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being "rich", or what tax rate is "too much." But I've done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.

    And let's be clear: that's 3.6% only on income above 250 grand -- your first 250, that's still on the house. Now, this week we got some horrible news: that one in seven Americans are now living below the poverty line. But I want to point you to an American who is truly suffering: Ben Stein. You know Ben Stein, the guy who got rich because when he talks it sounds so boring it's actually funny. He had a game show on Comedy Central, does eye drop commercials, doesn't believe in evolution? Yeah, that asshole. I kid Ben -- so, the other day Ben wrote an article about his struggle. His struggle as a wealthy person facing the prospect of a slightly higher marginal tax rate. Specifically, Ben said that when he was finished paying taxes and his agents, he was left with only 35 cents for every dollar he earned. Which is shocking,
    Ben Stein has an agent? I didn't know Broadway Danny Rose was still working.

    Ben whines in his article about how he's worked for every dollar he has -- if by work you mean saying the word "Bueller" in a movie 25 years ago. Which doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just that at a time when people in America are desperate and you're raking in the bucks promoting some sleazy Free Credit Score dot-com... maybe you shouldn't be asking us for sympathy. Instead, you should be down on your knees thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that you were lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.

    And you're welcome to come on the show anytime.

    Now I can hear you out there saying, "Come on Bill, don't be so hard on Ben Stein, he does a lot of voiceover work, and that's hard work." Ok, it's true, Ben is hardly the only rich person these days crying like a baby who's fallen off his bouncy seat. Last week Mayor Bloomberg of New York complained that all his wealthy friends are very upset with mean ol' President Poopy-Pants: He said they all say the same thing: "I knew I was going to have to pay more taxes. But I didn't expect to be vilified." Poor billionaires -- they just can't catch a break.

    First off, far from being vilified, we bailed you out -- you mean we were supposed to give you all that money and kiss your ass, too? That's Hollywood you're thinking of. FDR, he knew how to vilify; this guy, not so much. And second, you should have been vilified -- because you're the vill-ains! I'm sure a lot of you are very nice people. And I'm sure a lot of you are jerks. In other words, you're people. But you are the villains. Who do you think outsourced all the jobs, destroyed the unions, and replaced workers with desperate immigrants and teenagers in China. Joe the Plumber?

    And right now, while we run trillion dollar deficits, Republicans are holding America hostage to the cause of preserving the Bush tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest 1% of people, many of them dead. They say that we need to keep taxes on the rich low because they're the job creators. They're not. They're much more likely to save money through mergers and outsourcing and cheap immigrant labor, and pass the unemployment along to you.

    Americans think rich people must be brilliant; no -- just ruthless. Meg Whitman is running for Governor out here, and her claim to fame is, she started e-Bay. Yes, Meg tapped into the Zeitgeist, the zeitgeist being the desperate need of millions of Americans to scrape a few dollars together by selling the useless crap in their garage. What is e-Bay but a big cyber lawn sale that you can visit without putting your clothes on?

    Another of my favorites, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said, "I don't know where they're going to get all this money, because we're running out of rich people in this country." Actually, we have more billionaires here in the U.S. than all the other countries in the top ten combined, and their wealth grew 27% in the last year. Did yours? Truth is, there are only two things that the United States is not running out of: Rich people and bullshit. Here's the truth: When you raise taxes slightly on the wealthy, it obviously doesn't destroy the economy -- we know this, because we just did it -- remember the '90's? It wasn't that long ago. You were probably listening to grunge music, or dabbling in witchcraft. Clinton moved the top marginal rate from 36 to 39% -- and far from tanking, the economy did so well he had time to get his dick washed.

    Even 39% isn't high by historical standards. Under Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 91%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. Obama just wants to kick it back to 39 -- just three more points for the very rich. Not back to 91, or 70. Three points. And they go insane. Steve Forbes said that Obama, quote "believes from his inner core that people... above a certain income have more than they should have and that many probably have gotten it from ill-gotten ways." Which they have. Steve Forbes, of course, came by his fortune honestly: he inherited it from his gay egg-collecting, Elizabeth Taylor fag-hagging father, who inherited it from his father. Of course then they moan about the inheritance tax, how the government took 55% percent when Daddy died -- which means you still got 45% for doing nothing more than starting out life as your father's pecker-snot.

    We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.

  2. #2
    Atypical is offline

    Wall Street Whiners Threaten to Wreck the Economy– Again.

    Posted by Zach Carter at 3:14 pm
    September 26, 2010

    URL to article: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/...economy-again/

    I agree with everything Paul Krugman has to say about Max Abelson’s excellent run-down of the Wall Street whinery, but his critique stops a little too short. Abelson’s piece emphasizes that Wall Street isn’t really upset about any policies the Obama administration has adopted, since, as I and many others have noted, the Obama administration has been very friendly on that front. What they’re upset about– at least what they say they’re upset about– is the jargon. Obama called bailed-out bankers “fat cats” after they paid themselves obscene bonuses with taxpayer money. To the bankers Abelson quotes, this amounts to some kind of unfair discrimination. That’s absurd– the bailout barons Obama criticized had wrecked the economy and then paid themselves like princes for profits secured by taxpayer largesse. Those who did not benefit from such largesse have no reason to feel slighted by the critique, and those who did benefit have no reason to be complaining from their second homes in the Hamptons.

    But what I find most interesting is that the cry-babies in Ableson’s story actually threaten to wreck the economy over this rhetoric. The key passage is at the end of Ableson’s piece:

    Wall Street’s emotions have consequences. “If, as a result of this anger, credit becomes unavailable, particularly for small and mid-size businesses,” Mr. Schwarzman wrote in The Washington Post this year, before his Poland blunder, “then at best the economy will slow and, at worst, we will find ourselves in a dire situation.” He said bankers felt under siege and were responding by “becoming conservative,” a lovely little pun about lending and politics.

    Credit does not just magically become “unavailable” because of “anger.” Some class of angry people has to decide not to make credit available.

    There are plenty of reasons why bankers might decide not to extend loans, but feeling “under siege” because the president called you a fat cat of isn’t one of them. No sane businessperson would let those feelings overwhelm her decision-making process when the bottom line is at stake. If there were evidence that new regulations were going to change dramatically and banks would have to keep more capital on hand to cushion against losses, there’s a case to be made that banks might not be eager to extend loans as a result (not a very good case, though, since banks could just raise capital in the markets to support profitable lending opportunities). But freaking out because of the President calls you a fat cat and preemptively shutting down your business makes, well, no sense.

    Another of Abelson’s anonymous Wall Street sources repeats the insanity:

    “He’s pissing on us and Wall Street and bankers and capitalism; then we have gotten afraid,” the executive who turned CNBC on mute said. “We then are not investing in maybe what we should invest in.”

    What, exactly, are this guy and his friends afraid of? That Obama might call him another name that he likes even less than “fat cat?” Obama has proposed a couple of tax changes for some types of Wall Street revenue and some types of hedge fund pay– but the fear of higher taxes wouldn’t be grounds to invest less, or invest improperly. Bumping up the capital gains rate from 15 percent to 20 percent doesn’t alter the incentive structure at all– it isn’t going to push any bankers or traders out of the investment business.

    So these brats are saying one of two things with their tantrums. Either Wall Street is dominated by completely irrational fools who will wreck their businesses after hearing a dirty words, or this is a threat: Treat us like superhuman royalty, or we’ll wreck the economy. If the first case is true, then these guys are paying themselves enormous sums of money to be total idiots– something the “well operators” that one of Abelson’s anonymous Wall Street sources spits on never do. If the second is true, then we have another excellent reason to keep these sharks out of economic policy debates.

    UPDATE: Also note the use of anonymous sources in Abelson’s story. Usually that anonymity protects somebody from something– in financial journalism, anonymity usually protects a source who divulges a trading strategy or a lobbying tactic that ought to be a company secret. But these guys are just whining, and asking for Abelson not to tell anybody who they are. At least some members of the Wall Street whinery are ashamed of themselves.

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