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Discredited Economic Theories—Scapegoats Born of Populist Superstition


“I’m dog-tired of billionaires like Jeff Bezos and mega-corporations like Amazon exploiting loopholes to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. And I’m pushing a three-step plan to tackle it:”

That’s what Elizabeth Warren emailed me this morning. It was no shock considering the anti-wealth sentiments she regularly sends me as a quondam Democrat.

It’s no shock considering the folk-economic theories her supporters and many other Democrats espoused yesterday after Jeff Bezos launched his rather remarkable little rocket to just outside the atmosphere. After all, that money was stolen from you and me, wasn’t it? 

Enough of that – we’re going to make life “fair” in the Workers’ Paradise.  The study of history does make one cynical about such arguments – and there have been so many.

It’s the B side of the argument the GOP was trying to sell a few years back, portraying nearly half the country that didn’t pay Federal income tax, as a burden because, after deductions, they didn’t make enough. Takers, they called many of us. Takers and a burden on the moneymakers. Takers who needed to pay a “fair” share. 

The lie in that argument was that it didn’t mention that they (we) paid all kinds of other taxes and that when you compared all the taxes all taxpayers in all brackets paid, most everyone in the US paid roughly the same percentage but as with so much high purpose, it dissolves in fraudulent accounting. 

You learned in Econ 101 that those high marginal propensity to consume people are actually the backbone of the economy, didn’t you? Are we being promised paradise that results from a 70% top bracket on the top 1%? Really?

It’s just dishonest to imply that Bezos and Amazon, inter alia, who are the economy, contribute nothing to the economy but taxes – or worse: that they are a drain.  Bezos alone gave out $2 billion last year to help the homeless, Gates is more generous. Michael Bloomberg has given out nearly $7 billion. CNBC’s survey enumerates billions and billions and billions and billions more that were not counted. and of course, businesses contribute far more to the wealth of nations than the taxes they pay.  

Wealth is not deducted from some fixed sum that belongs to everyone. It’s created and the creation involves many people and many factors.  It’s wrong to see the immense amounts of wealth created by industry and industrialists as having been stolen from “the people” employed in creating it, but you can’t tell Elizabeth Warren, who I am sure is like me in not volunteering to pay more taxes than asked to. It’s not as though he were cheating.   

Bill Gates, I believe is among others in favor of raising the top bracket substantially and he has donated huge sums to charity as have other “tycoons.” Would you prefer that money to have been paid to the IRS to be wisely spent by Congress? Please. 

     “All the hardworking Americans who actually paid taxes to keep this country running while he and Amazon paid nothing.”

Claims Ms. Warren. It’s not true. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and businesses, in general, are scarcely net drains on America. More than not being true, it’s a damned lie. It shows an unforgivable ignorance or an unforgivable dishonesty in my opinion.   Tax structure needs redoing based on real economics and without being corrupted by greed from any source. 

Yes, it requires honest and constant re-appraisal, not hate-filled slogans and long-discredited theories and nebulous guestimates and scapegoats born of populist superstition.  Economics may be the most complex of subjects.

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Posted by on July 22, 2021. Filed under PETS—POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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1 month ago

[…] Glenn Geist appreciates the latest episode of Billionaires in Space and gets tired of discredited economic theories that say Bezos, Branson, et al should pay more in taxes. After all, look how much they contribute […]

Michael John Scott
2 months ago

More credit to the wealthy for being wealthy.

Bill Formby
Bill Formby
2 months ago

Nice read Glenn. While I tend to agree with your analysis I have a disdain for the way some people tend to use their wealth. Yep, it is their money to use as they choose, but those that choose to try to control the government and its policies still bother me. But, just as they can choose what they like and dislike, so can I. I wonder how Jeff enjoyed his little ride.