Saturday, June 5, 2010

The myth of overtaxation

Here's a timely article about how Americans, no matter how much we whine, are taxed lower now than we've been for decades and Americans are taxed much less than most of the developed world.

Of course, this does little, if anything, to change the false perception that high taxation is killing our economy. All we really hear from corporate media is that taxes need to be cut to stimulate the economy.

Meanwhile, our cities, our schools and our colleges are declining. The less we invest in ourselves, and our core institutions, the less we become.

Predictably, the corporate media response is to reframe the debate that says public employees' salaries, benefits and pensions, that are paid for by all that taxation, are preventing our recovery.

In the boom times, the narrative is vastly different. It goes like this: Public employees are mocked for their steady, boring jobs where workers make much less than their counterparts in the private sector. In fact, jobs of teachers, police officers and firemen are considered lesser fields because of the cap on earnings.

Well, now that the economy has tanked, caused mainly by the very rich, those boring, steady public sector jobs become highly valued. Those who lost their high-paying jobs turn their anger toward public sector workers and their steady, benefit-laden jobs.

It's like the fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare. During the high-flying times, the hare taunts the tortoise. The hare gets so proud and self-congratulatory about his prowess that he is unaware that his prosperity is illusory. Lo and behold, the stodgy tortoise passes him.

This is where we are right now. The public sector tortoise is whipping the private sector hare.

Instead of working harder or running faster, though, the hare cries foul and claims the race isn't fair afterall. The tortoise cheated, the hare claims.

This type of class warfare is promoted by corporate media because it averts attention from the real problem: Wall Street and its destruction of our economy. But, who wants to fight the rich when we all believe we'll be that rich someday? That's the biggest charade of all. We all won't be that rich, not even close.

Better to be a tortoise and win the rat race, than the hare and lose it all.

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