Go where the money is
If the United States government is ever to achieve some kind of fiscal health again, two things must happen. 1. It must increase its revenues. 2. It must pass a law making it a felony for members of the Tea Party to reproduce.
The thing with number 1: Of course the bulk of new revenues has to come from increased taxes on the wealthy. This is for one simple and obvious reason—rich Americans are pretty much the only ones left who can write checks that won’t bounce! The government will go even more broke if it has to chase down the ever-increasing number of zeros, deadbeats and losers from the middle and lower classes writing rubbery checks to the IRS. Might as well hit up the wealthy folks for a while and see how that works out. Can’t get much worse.
And yes, Warren Buffet’s recent op-ed piece in the New York Times was most welcome and, I hope, influential. If you didn’t see it, ole Papa Moneyclip basically said that the government needs to grow a pair and finally end the Bush tax cuts, which have been a trillion-dollar windfall for the wealthy over the last decade. He also said that the rich should quit squealing, bend over, and take their medicine, trusting that the IRS will use the finest lubes available. (I’m paraphrasing here).
He cited one particularly noteworthy statistic in his essay (8-14-11, if you want to read it). In ’92, the top 400 rich folk in the country had taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that money. In ’08, the top 400 had income of $90.9 billion (a jiffy little increase of just over 500 percent), but paid only 21.5 percent in federal taxes on that sum. We’re talking about two things now: (1) real money, and (2) nothing to sneeze at.
I’m sure that by now, you’ve seen the ads for this year’s Rib Cook-off in Sparks. What I want to know is … why is The Pig, the mascot for the event, smiling? Does he have a death wish? Is he suicidal? Is he eager to say “Good-bye, cruel world!” to where he’s actually looking forward to being killed, eviscerated and chopped into little chunks, eventually ending up as a greasy plug of half-chewed pork in the dank bowel of some 325-pound lardback from Yuba City? And why do we see The Pig chomping on a toothpick? Is he a cannibal, as well as suicidal? Puzzling questions of porcine existentialism that will never be answered to anyone’s satisfaction, I’d guess.
In Black Rock City, there are dozens if not hundreds of bars, ranging in size from super tiny to ultra-mega-ginormous. One very nice thing about each—none of them, not a one, will have a television showing the now ubiquitous Sportscenter.