Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's a funny old world

Pundits on the left decry the evil "deficit hawks" and demand more stimulus. They however are in favor of raising taxes on "the rich" because somehow it won't hurt economic activity and hey, we gotta start on that deficit sometime, right?

Pundits on the right decry deficits but also oppose raising taxes on "the rich".

(I am sorry for the quotation marks but a two earner family of 4 or 5 whose parents' combined income is $250,001 is not really rich!!)

Intellectual consistency is apparently far too heavy of a burden to impose on our chattering classes.


Anonymous said...

"(I am sorry for the quotation marks but a two earner family of 4 or 5 whose parents' combined income is $250,001 is not really rich!!)"

In what world do you live? If that family of 4-5 with income over $250k/yr isn't rich, then they're absolutely dismal money managers. Get some perspective... The highest fifth of Americans make over $90k/yr. Almost by definition, they're rich. Start thinking about incomes around the world, and even our middle class starts looking rich.

My grandparents raised 6 kids on my grandfather's salary as a financial aid officer and some army pay, with odd jobs when possible. They'll never tell me the exact annual income, but I have reason to believe it was less than $50k (in the 60s/70s, so adjust for inflation as appropriate). That was a family of 8, waaaay more than your 4-5.

During the late 80s and 90s, my parents raised 3 kids on less than $60k/yr, and also managed to send us to a private elementary school. That's a family of 5 living on less than $60k. We would have considered our family "rich" if we'd made even $80k, let alone over $100k. $250k is unfathomable.

Angus said...

LOL, so shall I mark that as one vote for dropping the quotation marks then?

Anonymous said...

Probably :). I think a good way to describe my reaction to that part is "aghast." It pretty much places you as out of touch, which unfortunately ruins the rest of the post (however illogical it is to hold the rest of your thoughts hostage to one crazier line).

I should also mention that I enjoyed the rest of the original post. I often have similar discussions with my friends. It never ceases to amaze me how both sides are stuck in their little illogical trenches.

Tom said...

"Intellectual consistency"? I started to write that there was no place in politics for that... but then I remembered chatting with some brand new, non-libertarian Munger for Gov supporters in 2008. Now I think there's a few per cent of voters that might care -- if one can only reach them.

I don't care where you draw the threshold for "rich;" I'm just against government spending. I'd guess 3/4 of Gov. spending does demonstrable harm, maybe 20% is just wasted -- leaving 5% for things government is merely inefficient at providing. Who needs it?

Angus said...

I'd go 50-35-15 on the proportions, but I agree that the issue of spending levels is way more important than how the spending is financed.

Anonymous said...

Well, assuming your household income was split evenly with the misssus, then your $125,000 income puts you in the top 1/2 of one percent of the richest people in the world.
I think your family is pretty rich, at least in money terms.

Angus said...

Ah, Anon (comment #5). Why would you think I was talking about me? We are a family of two not 4 or 5.

Oh and global incomes are only relevant to the extent we are talking about global redistribution, which we definitely are not (though perhaps we should be).