by john walters

The Idles of March

If you listen to your local Q Anon shaman, yesterday was supposed to be the real inauguration of Donald Trump for his second term. Turns out…you’re never going to believe this… that claim was fraudulent. Instead the 45th president spent it not putting out on a hole and Republican senators wasted everyone’s time in their chamber by compelling senate clerks to read the Rescue Bill in its entirety, out loud, on the floor, as a means of delaying a vote that whose outcome is a fait accompli.

And this is a bill that has wide bipartisan support. If you’re not paying attention, the entire Republican agenda is to gum up anything that Democrats want to do. It’s like an entire Tom vs. Jerry or Roadrunner vs. Coyote or Spy vs. Spy bit. The actual consideration of whether or not something is beneficial to American citizens never even enters their Neanderthal skulls.

Warren’s Piece

Here is the essence of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax: for every dollar north of $50 million that you are worth, you pay 2 cents. For every dollar above $1 billion, you pay 3 cents.

That’s it. That’s the tax.

Somehow the Republicans have managed to paint this as socialism and an attack on their God-fearing constituents who will never earn north of $200,000 (and that’s being generous) a year.

Let’s put this in perspective, shall we? If you earn $200,000 a year, you are already making more than 95% of Americans. Also, if you earn $200,000 year, that is just zero-point-four percent of (0.40%) of what $50 million is. You’re not even out of the driveway.

Moreover, imagine having one dollar and the guy next to you has $1,000. Completely different buying power, no?

Well, if you have one million dollars, that’s like having $1 next to $1,000 compared to having one billion dollars.

MAGA voters are bad at math. Their pols know this. And they exploit their ignorance.

Elizabeth Warren isn’t coming for your paycheck. She’s coming after the super-filthy rich, and let’s just put two more points in perspective:

  1. If her bill passed, Jeff Bezos, the second-wealthiest man in the world, would make up for that tax hike with the equivalent of one half of one day of work.
  2. Also, America’s 600 or so billionaires have increased their wealth by more than $1.3 TRILLION since the start of the pandemic. They’re doing just fine.

Pope And Glory

Here’s Pope Francis being greeted upon his arrival in Iraq. Wouldn’t all of us like to be welcomed this way after a long flight? Just once? No pope has ever visited Iraq, which is weird since it’s sort of the cradle of civilization (Mesopotamia and all).

The Cork Soakers

One of my students turned me on to this SNL bit I’d never seen before. Wondering if this aired before or after companion sketch “Colonel Angus.” Though you may argue that it all began with “Schweddy Balls.”

Poor Janet Jackson. She cannot keep it together. Almost sabotaged the sketch. Even Jimmy Fallon kept it together better than she.

The Original SNL Sketch

John Belushi, the first SNL superstar (sorry, Chevy), died 39 years ago today. Here’s the very first SNL sketch, in October of 1975, which followed George Carlin’s opening monologue on football versus baseball.

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. JW – I’m surprised you didn’t point out that the Pontiff is not wearing a mask. In fact, it appears only the priest behind him is wearing one. I suppose his Pope-ly powers keep him healthy? Also – I’m curious what language the Pope and the Iraqi dignitary (I don’t recognize him) are speaking.

    As for taxing the uber-wealthy (not to be mistaking with anyone associated with Uber), I understand your math. I tend to get a negative kneejerk reaction to these type of proposals. I think what’s to blame is the entire idea of the American Dream – the belief that it’s possible for any one of us to strike oil (so to speak) and make billions of dollars ourselves, and at that point wouldn’t want to be subject to such taxes. At this point in my life, I think I’d be lucky to hit 6-figures … the American Dream is becoming more of a pipe dream.

    I’m curious what the taxes were on folks like Vanderbilt, Carnegie and JP Morgan back in the day. These seem to be the closest comparisons to Bezos and Musk. At one point JP Morgan saved the US economy from complete collapse. I wonder if today’s billionaires would be so willing to step in and help.

  2. Good question re taxes, Micah. I was curious, too:

    “When John D. Rockefeller Sr. died in 1937, the estate tax was nearly 70%…Two years earlier his son earned more than $5 million; this gave him the distinction of being the only person in America’s highest tax bracket (at a rate of 63%).”

    “ Carnegie, who was opposed to income taxes and property taxes, nevertheless supported near 100% inheritance taxes on large estates.” [“He who dies wealthy dies disgraced”]

    From 1932 to 1986 the top marginal tax rate was never under 50%, and was as high as 92%. In wartime and postwar boom years (1940-1963) it never dropped below 80%.

    It has been under 40% since 1987.

    Somewhat of a simplification, of course, in that it doesn’t account for variations in types of income, such as capital gains, taxed at a lower rate.


  3. Smart observations on $/taxes. My accountant of 33 years suffered health emergency. Will need to find new one going forward. Jdubs sis.

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