Paul Ryan's "Inverted Marxism"
Are you getting sick and tired of hearing GOP pundits complain that if we tax the rich, they'll pack up their bags and move out of the country? A millionaire tax was implemented in New Jersey in 2004 and something funny happened? The rich didn't all migrate out of the state.
From Think Progress:
In 2010, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed an extension of the state’s “millionaire’s tax,” citing “failed policies of the past.” The move effectively raised taxes on senior citizens while cutting them for the rich. And conservatives have fought similar millionaire taxes in states across the country, arguing that such a tax would stymie job growth and force millionaires to flee to other states with friendlier tax policies.
But a new study based in Christie’s backyard found that New Jersey’s millionaire’s tax, instituted in 2004, had a negligible effect on its millionaire population. In fact, New Jersey’s millionaire population actually grew over the period of the study, even through the recession:
The study found that the overall population of millionaires increased during the tax period. Some millionaires moved out, of course. But they were more than offset by the creation of new millionaires. They found that the rate of out-migration among millionaires was in line with and [sic] rate of out-migration of submillionaires. The tax rate, they concluded, had no measurable impact. “This suggests that the policy effect is close to zero,” the study says.
The New Jersey study isn’t the first to find that higher taxes on millionaires have little, if any, impact on migration.
So much for that argument. I think it's good news also that the rich are screaming from the AEI pulpit like Arthur Brooks crying that it's sooo unfair to tax the rich.
You can tell so mething’s happening in the economic policy debate when you start reading more things like AEI’s Arthur Brooks explaining that it would simply be unfair to raise taxes on the rich. Harvard economics professor and former Council of Economics Advisor chairman Greg Mankiw has said the same thing. And of course Representative Paul Ryan is both a fan of Brooks and a fan of the works of Ayn Rand. Which is just to say that we used to have a debate in which the left said redistributive taxation might be a good idea and then the right replied that it might sound good, but actually the consequences would be bad. Lower taxes on the rich would lead to more growth and faster increase in incomes.
Now that idea seems to be so unsupportable that the talking point is switched. It’s not that higher taxes on our Galtian Overlords would backfire and make us worse off. It’s just that it would be immoral of us to ask them to pay more taxes even if doing so would, in fact, improve overall human welfare.
All polling has been showing that the American population would rather tax the rich than any other action to try and fix the country's economy. Are they starting to run scared just a little? They usually just strike back, but it's safe to say that people aren't buying their shtick like they used to. Still, it won't stop them from pumping up the volume with new Ayn Rand movies. Even if they suck.
Where did Rep. Paul Ryan get his inspiration from when he wrote up his junk science budget that guts Medicare and Medicaid? Look no further than Ayn Rand. How much damage will this lunatic keep doing to our country? Her ideas are insane, but keep finding their way into our political system. Here's The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand.
Howie has a great post up about Ryan and Rand: The Inspiration For Paul Ryan's Profoundly And Explicitly Anti-Christian Budget. Read it and weep because we're all parasites to the Galtian upper crust.
The philosophy, such as it was, which Rand laid out in her novels and essays was a frightful concoction of hyper-egotism, power-worship and anarcho-capitalism. She opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure. She also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between "moochers" and "producers," with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry.
The "moochers" were more or less everyone else, leading TNR's Jonathan Chait to describe Rand's thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism. Marx considered wealth creation to result solely from the labor of the masses, and viewed the owners of capital and the economic elite to be parasites feeding off that labor. Rand simply reversed that value judgment, applying the role of "parasite" to everyday working people instead. On the level of personal behavior, the heroes in Rand's novels commit borderline rape, blow up buildings, and dynamite oil fields -- actions which Rand portrays as admirable and virtuous fulfillments of the characters' personal will and desires. Her early diaries gush with admiration for William Hickman, a serial killer who raped and murdered a young girl. Hickman showed no understanding of "the necessity, meaning or importance of other people," a trait Rand apparently found quite admirable. For good measure, Rand dismissed the feminist movement as "false" and "phony," denigrated both Arabs and Native Americans as "savages" (going so far as to say the latter had no rights and that Europeans were right to take North American lands by force) and expressed horror that taxpayer money was being spent on government programs aimed at educating "subnormal children" and helping the handicapped. Needless to say, when Rand told Mike Wallace in 1953 that altruism was evil, that selfishness is a virtue, and that anyone who succumbs to weakness or frailty is unworthy of love, she meant it.
It's anti-American and anti-human being in a nutshell. That's what Rep. Paul Ryan is trying to sell us.