Saturday, September 23, 2006


Robert Reich is pining for the fiords. Or at least the good old days when the government knew best. I wonder when, exactly, this was?

But I remember a day when government collected billions of dollars from tycoons like these, as well as from ordinary taxpayers, and when our democratic process (in its own halting way) decided what the billions would be devoted to. In 1960, the moguls of America paid a marginal tax of 90 percent on their incomes (an effective rate, after all deductions and credits, of over 50 percent). In 1960, over two-thirds of Americans trusted government to do the right thing all or most of the time, according to survey research.

Now, the moguls pay an effective rate of maybe 10 percent of their incomes – none at all if they have clever enough accountants and lawyers who park it in tax havens. And they're richer than ever before in history. Today's release of Forbes Magazine's annual list of the richest 400 Americans is made up solely of billionaires -- for the first time.

And what about government? Now, according to surveys, two-thirds of Americans don’t trust government to do anything right.

So nowadays, a few hundred of the moguls devote some of their billions to doing good things, and we applaud their generosity.

Maybe I’m overly sentimental, but I preferred it the old way.

You can't go home again, you can't go back.

He hit the nail on the head - a majority of Americans don't trust the government to do the right thing.

Why should we?  Watergate, ABSCAM, Desert One, corruption scandals too many to list, pols lining their pockets, consulting with astrologers, artfully saying just enough so the public can't say 'he's lying' when we all know 'he is', an absolute failure to prevent an attack that killed thousands, while private citizens wise up and rise up and keep the death toll from being much worse.

Maybe it's always been like this - I don't know. The constant political refrain I've heard growing up is that that power corrupts, people in power will use and abuse their power and it takes heaven on earth to vote those rascals out only to see more rascals voted in.

Trust the government to spend my tax money wisely? I can't trust them not to abuse their petty privleges of office, I damned sure can't trust them with billions of dollars in revenue.

Deep breath and repeat after me: Despair is a sin.

The puppy helps.
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