Creeping Galtism

Much html code has been spilled about the wingnut obsession with “going Galt” in order to avoid paying a 39% marginal rate on income over 250K a year. Matt Yglesias points out that we’d probably be better off if a lot of wealthy Americans went Galt, the Washington Independent has a nice run-down of the whole movement, if it can be called that, and commenters all over point out that John Galt would never have worked as a dentist, represented people from Bakersfield, or slept with Glenn Reynolds.

These are good points, but I think there’s been too much emphasis on what idiots these people are and not enough on how childish they are. Quitting work because of a slight tax increase isn’t akin to anything from any sort of philosophy, not even one as crude and simplistic as Ayn Rand’s; it’s more akin to a child’s decision to take his ball and go home. It’s probably worse, though, since when a typical ten year-old gets home, stops crying, and wipes his nose, he doesn’t then fantasize about how the world will now suffer from the loss of his inestimable brilliance. I don’t know if Vincent Gallo is a Randian or not (it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he was), but this quote summarizes Galtism in its current form perfectly: “I stopped painting in 1990 at the peak of my success just to deny people my beautiful paintings; and I did it out of spite.”

What I think is more insidious, though, than wingnut dentists’ cutting back their hours or Mrs. Instapundit cutting back on whatever it is that she normally does, is the widespread belief among elites that they and their colleagues are indispensable men. Like one of JMM’s readers, I fear that Geithner thinks that our economy would be decimated if we forcibly Galted the geniuses who ran our financial industry into the ground. I fear that when Andrew Sullivan and Joe Klein gush about the greatness of David Brooks, it’s because they view themselves and each other as a d’Anconia-Danneskjöld-Galt punditocratic triumvirate that may yet save the world from unseriousness and blogofascism. I even fear that when Villagers praise Obama’s “political gifts”, they’re doing so for the same reason they praised George Bush’s cowboy gut instincts; that is, because they feel that the talents of leaders in Washington reflect upon its scribes.

To put it simply, I fear that we are now ruled by incompetent egomaniacs who will never blow the whistle on each other, no matter how bad things get, because to do so would be to admit that none of them is indispensable or brilliant after all.

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177 replies
  1. 1

    So, in a period of rising unemployment, people are threatening to take themselves out of the labor market.

    I fail to apprehend a downside.

  2. 2
    random asshole says:

    Based on the sheer number of posts on this topic across the web, I don’t know if I’m more amazed by the number of people who appear to have actually read Atlas Shrugged or the fact that the majority of people who actually understand Atlas Shrugged seem not to be the people quoting it as a philosophy to base one’s life on.

    On a more realistic note, how the hell could anyone think David Brooks—a person who regularly writes about promoting "moderatism" solely because it lacks any type of ideology—is comparable to any element of the "d’Anconia-Danneskjöld-Galt…triumvirate" you cite?

  3. 3
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Yup, this is why many mainstream types _hate_ blogs created by the unwashed masses. People say that blogs challenge the mainstream news establishment, but I don’t think so. I think blogs challenge the mainstream pundidiotocracy, and that is why mainstream pundits talk about Michelle Obama’s arms on the way to fancy parties … because chatting about fashion while going to expensive parties on the NY Times dime is the only fig leaf they have left. It’s the only thing they have that the blogs don’t.

  4. 4
    DougJ says:

    @asshole

    What exactly is realistic about d’Anconia-Danneskjöld-Galt?

  5. 5
    Ned R. says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I fail to apprehend a downside.

    I forget where I saw it but somebody responded to a discussion of this whole thing as, "Hey if my competitors want to take themselves off the market, I’ll gladly take their business!" I didn’t even know what said person made or sold but I almost wanted to buy something of theirs just because.

  6. 6
    JoyceH says:

    So, in a period of rising unemployment, people are threatening to take themselves out of the labor market.

    I fail to apprehend a downside.

    What I was thinking. Geez, conservatives voluntarily abdicating the economy? What’s not to like?

  7. 7
    Tonal Crow says:

    The "Going Galt" meme is not for the believing, but for the deceiving. That is, its promulgators don’t — by and large — believe it. But they want us to believe it, so that we’ll pressure our politicians to maintain or lower marginal tax rates. Thus, it doesn’t matter that it’s stupid, or infantile. All that matters is that it has a patina of plausibility for those who are too busy, too depressed, too anxious, too dull, too TV-addled, or too-whatever to spend a moment analyzing it. If the myth-makers can make us react (read: phone DC in outrage) before we think, they’ll have "won".

  8. 8
    eric says:

    Accountabiltiy for one means accountability for all, and accountability is unacceptable.

    You may have noticed that no one has thinner skin than "journalmalists" when called out. Accountability is the thing journalists fear the most.

    By way of analogy: as a (former) partner in a rather large law firm, I have mentored a good number of associates over the years. The first thing I tell them is that they (like reporters and columnists) are going to make mistakes because there are just too many judgment calls made on a daily basis to go error free. The difference between the associate and the partner on the case is that there is no one to really call out the partner for the error, whereas the associate is going to hear about every mistake. And, as the associate, you do not have the liberty of pointing out the partner’s error because he/she does not want to or like hearing that h/she is wrong. A career killer.

    The Post, the Times, CNN and their ilk are the partners. They get to tell you when you are wrong, but you can’t tell them that they are wrong. What makes them arbiters of right and wrong is control of the ink. "You" don’t get to tell them how to do their job, or they will "show you."

  9. 9
    random asshole says:

    @DougJ:

    I never said it was realistic. It’s simply that the comparison is absurd.

    I’ve been having trouble phrasing my opinion on the hilarity of this entire subject of "Going Galt," but luckily, Will Wilkinson did a better job of doing it for me:

    By the way, Atlas buffs, the point of Atlas Shrugged is not that you are John Galt. The point is that you are not John Galt. The point is that you are, at your best, Eddie Willers. You’re smart, hardworking, productive, and true. But you’re no creative genius and you take innovation — John Galt — for granted. You don’t even know who he is! And this eventually leaves you weeping on abandoned train tracks.

  10. 10
    BDeevDad says:

    These folks going Galt are the same ones that say anyone can make it. So let them go. Do they really believe there is no one making less than 250k now that would not and could not take their place. Hell, they still believe that Joe the unlicensed plumber could move up to make more than 250k and be the next big time employer/businessman. They think like CNBC thinks of overpaid CEOs, that they are indispensable. I’m just waiting for the first company that outsources their CEO to India. That’s the only thing that will wake them up, maybe.

  11. 11
    Porco Rosso says:

    Oddly enough, none of the folks who are going Galt are likely to be telephone sanitizers.

    So unlike the Golgafrinchans, we’ll probably be fine.

    [/douglas adams reference]

  12. 12
    Audio says:

    The other thing to keep in mind with "going Galt" is the social contract, or devil’s bargain, we made by outsourcing all of our low-skill jobs. In order to ensure employment for the former-low-skill workers, the increasing wealth at the top was supposed to "trickle down" to those low-skill workers serving the wealthy.

    As can be seen by stagnant wages for decades, this hasn’t happened. If we can’t count on the wealthy to spread their wealth themselves, made, by the way, by blue-chip companies shipping jobs overseas, the gov’t will have to pick up the slack either through Keynsian economics or welfare.

    So the wealthy are more than welcome to "go all Galt" on us but in my mind, this is all their fault anyway. They shipped jobs to increase stock prices and then ran their companies into the ground.

    Thanks. Heckuva job, corporate America.

  13. 13
    Joshua Norton says:

    It’s like here in San Francisco where landlords complain that if they can’t raise the rents as much as they want, they’ll take their apartments off the market. As if anyone gives a shit. Yeah, shut off your income and pay your mortgage and taxes out of your own pocket. That will teach us.

    I think they’re doing the tenants a service by taking cheap-skate, greed infested landlords off the market.

  14. 14

    I was a teenage Randroid but now I thank God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster that my father introduced me to Hunter S. Thompson. After reading "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", "Hell’s Angels", and "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: 1972" I realized that getting stoned out of your skull on a variety of controlled substances and blasting through bat country at 110MPH in a convertible with one of your best friends and some good tunes would be much more fun than running off to the mountains, hanging around with a bunch of humorless drones and inventing new metal alloys all day long.

    As far as the Going Galt movement and the supposed indispensability I will counter with this quote from Charles de Gaulle.

    The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.

  15. 15
    Abidemi says:

    These people imagine themselves Dagny Taggart.

    They are much closer to Jim Taggart.

  16. 16
    Comrade Stuck says:

    When you cut thru the Galt bullshit, here is what they are mad about, and they have nobody to blame but themselves, and democracy.

    From the Wizards at Wizbang

    Obama was the Democratic heir-apparent to Bill Clinton. But where Clinton at least had the smarts and awareness to realize he needed to "use" the Republicans to advance his agenda, Obama seems not to have that desire, or more appropriately, political adeptness. His efforts and outcomes thus far illustrate his lack of political and governmental acumen. He, through his cohorts on the hill, has effectively frozen out any possible Republican support for his agenda, which has lead to scrutiny beyond what he was prepared for.

    They got no more power where it counts and what we have left are childish demands it be returned, despite the clear wishes of the voters in a democracy. And when Obama, or another dem says OK! lets hear it, — all they have to offer are failed ideas and Rovian smear tactics, and when sane people say no, we tried that, and it didn’t work, what else you have, they stamp their feet and holler sockalism, or wish for failure, or dems don’t play fair, and any other ad hominem that crosses their mind that moment.

    As has been pointed out, too many voters are dense, but not too dense to recognize crazy and clueless people in a full raging pout. Embarrassing to say the least.

  17. 17

    To put it simply, I fear that we are now ruled by incompetent egomaniacs who will never blow the whistle on each other, no matter how bad things get, because to do so would be to admit that none of them is indispensable or brilliant after all.

    Welcome back Mr. Van Winkle.

    The only difference between now and say 20 years ago is we didn’t have the internons so the mutual wank sessions were easier to miss.

  18. 18
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    The "going Galt" people remind me of the scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie fantasizes about his parents’ tearful contrition when he returns home years later, blinded by soap poisoning.

  19. 19
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Those too stupid to understand the simple arithmetic of marginal taxes should take themselves out of the market, clearly they are grossly overpaid and should make way for someone competent.

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    Randroids going Galt? Oh, yes, please. It’s about freakin’ time. Is there anything we can do to get them out the door faster?

  21. 21
    vacuumslayer says:

    Better title: Creepy Galtism.

  22. 22
    Dave C says:

    Contrary to the philosophical ideals of these would-be Galts, I think that their ultimate goal here is to start up that old racket in which, instead of paying them for goods and services, we as society pay them to cease their incessant, annoying whining. I, for one, would happily pay up to $10 per year to help subsidize them if they would just promise to go away forever (say to that island from "Lost" or somewhere equally remote and inaccessible) and never speak to the rest of us again.

  23. 23
    vacuumslayer says:

    @Dennis-SGMM:

    ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry, I can’t think of anything funnier to say. Hard to top that comment/visual.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    Country first!

  25. 25
    Perry Como says:

    I’m actively encouraging the "Go Galt" movement. I think these people should "Go Galt" loud and proud. Tell us who you are, what you do, and who your clients are. Seriously, take your binky and go home. Just leave us with the client list.

  26. 26
    dslak says:

    I’m just waiting for the first company that outsources their CEO to India.

    Didn’t Pepsi and Citibank already do that?

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    "Hey, I heard you no longer had your position, and had some money problems."

    "Me? Um, oh no, I uh, didn’t lose my job or investments, I’m, um, going Galt."

    "What? Going ‘alt’? You mean like back to the land or off the grid"

    "No, ‘Galt‘, like the hero from Atlas Shrugged."

    "I, uh, I got no idea what you’re saying."

    "I’m saying I’m withdrawing my talent from society, going on strike."

    "Oh, okay, right. Izzat what they call that now? Sounded to me like you got canned and lost a sh*t-load of money, but you were actually launching a sophisticated and daring protest."

    "Well, yeah."

    "Sure. OK. Thanks for the honesty. You should call my cousin’s kid, he’s been ‘going Galt’ for like 3 years in their basement. Sounds like you two should talk."

  28. 28
    MikeJ says:

    I sort of get the idea that some of these people know that their incomes will be lower in the coming year, no matter how hard they work. By saying now that they’re "going galt", they can, at the end of the year, still pretend that they were maters of their own destinies all along. "Teh economy sucks! It’s all my doing! Bow to me or I’ll do it more!"

  29. 29
    Martin says:

    I think the autoworkers union or SEIU or maybe teachers union should put out an ad showing regular workers saying "I am happy to pay more than 35% tax on all of my income over $250K, if it means a stronger America." Over and over. Let the wingnuts attack them for hypocrisy because they don’t earn $250K.

  30. 30
    gbear says:

    This reminds me of a plotline in The Hitchhiker’s Guide where all of a planet’s middlemen and consultants were sent off to another planet after being told that they were the only ones who could properly prepare the new planet for the rest of the population, who would be along shortly…

    Every now and then, I review my own career in terms of whether or not I’d be on that ship. Those who are considering themselves to be Galtians now would definitely be there.

    edit: Remind self to read all comments completely before posting. Porco Rosso has it covered already.

  31. 31
    Zak44 says:

    Do these clowns even know what a "marginal" tax rate is?

    I suspect not. It sounds as if they really think that earning a penny more than $250K will subject all their income to a 3% higher rate—when the reality is that only the income over that threshold is affected.

    If you asked any of these Randjobs, I’d bet you’d find they have no idea what they’re talking about.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @ BDeevDad

    I’m just waiting for the first company that outsources their CEO to India. That’s the only thing that will wake them up, maybe.

    Been saying this for the last decade or so. Everything else can be outsourced. Why not outsource the CEO’s? They’ll work for much less and do a great job. What’s not to love!

  33. 33
    JD Rhoades says:

    The whole thing is silly. Not one of these people is actually going to "go Galt." Not one. They’ll have their little tantrum, then get back to work. You know why? Because really successful people don’t just love the money, they love what they do. That’s why they work so long and hard at it, and why they’re successful.

  34. 34
    Mike G says:

    In or current economy, most of the high earners are not uniquely skilled, just better-connected or less principled to out-compete a dozen other equally- or more-skilled individuals — the party that put George W. Bush in WH should understand that well enough. And if they’re stupid and selfish enough to espouse Randidiocy, society is probably better off with the people who will quickly replace them as high earners.

    Geithner thinks that our economy would be decimated if we forcibly Galted the geniuses who ran our financial industry into the ground

    That’s not a bad idea. Perhaps they could all be encouraged to explore potato farming opportunities on Tristan Da Cunha until their corporations pay back the taxpayers the trillions they’ve looted in welfare. Or, because they’re such highly skilled and indispensible individuals, I’m sure they’ll turn that island into the Hong Kong of the South Atlantic in no time.

  35. 35
    Pablo says:

    The beautiful irony of this idiotic Galt movement is that one of the villains of the current financial movement is certainly the Randian (randy?) genius Alan Greenspan.

  36. 36
    clone12 says:

    I just want to point out that most of the "elites" whose ability that actually come close to being a John Galt aren’t Randian libertarians at all. Warren Buffet voted for Obama, Albert Einstein was a socialist and 61 American Nobel Laureates in science endorsed Obama.

  37. 37
    jcricket says:

    They’ll work for much less and do a great job. What’s not to love!

    Actually, judging by a couple of recent massive accounting scandals from CEOs of Indian companies we’ve already succeeded at "outsourcing" our particular brand of capitalism successfully. They’re no different than us.

    Now the Vietnamese or Thai, they might still be uncorrupted, or at least corrupted in a transparent manner.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:

    I never said it was realistic. It’s simply that the comparison is absurd.

    Okay, good! I was worried.

  39. 39
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Zak44,

    The other thing the utterly fail to grasp is *we’ve already taken delivery on the materialistic crap and now someone has to pay for it*. Childlike to think that some magical fairy will come along and pay their share of the run up national credit card. Unpatriotic, craven, economic draft dodgers.

    I also expect this is a manifestation of the latent fear that their skills are fundamentally useless, so rather than face the paralyzing fear of being slapped in the face by the All-Wise market, they will withdraw their offerings before society, shaken down to a skeleton of the truly necessary, has no room for their meaninglessness.

  40. 40
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Anyone remember the ridicule several people got for saying, "If Bush wins, I’m going to …"? Well, not so much for saying it, but for then staying right here and doing what they’ve always done?

    I do. I happen to think the ridicule was deserved.

    Same thing this way. If they really go Galt, I won’t particularly miss them – there are far too many people able to do what they’re doing, possibly better. However, if they DON’T go (and I imagine that’ll be the majority) they deserve at least as much ridicule as they gave the "liebrals of Hollywood".

  41. 41
    malraux says:

    I haven’t actually read Atlas Shrugged, (started it, but found it rather unreadable), but if I understand the wikipedia page:

    John Galt invents an alternative energy device and then goes off the grid. Sounds more like a hippy than a republican. Moreover, is there anyone who things that basic research into alternative energy would be done by private companies instead of at state funded institutions?

  42. 42

    is there anyone who things that basic research into alternative energy would be done by private companies instead of at state funded institutions?

    Ummmmm…Iron Man fans? Also?

  43. 43

    Vincent Gallo

    …is a gigantic douche-bag.

  44. 44
    Napoleon says:

    I have been thinking the last few days about how the threat of "going Galt" is really only a subset of a larger thing you see from the right. You could call it stomping their feet and holding their breath, but I think it is more accurate to characterize it as implicit or, in some instances explicit, threat to ignore society’s social contract or actively work to undermind it, with no concern whether it is legal or not, all in an attempt to get their way.

    Two examples of things Bush said in this vein, which when they occurred stunned me, but when taking into account he truly came from the radical right, it should not have. When pushing his tax plan in one speech he said something to the effect of "hey if we don’t make these cuts the rich will find away around it". The only reasonable interpretation that could have been given to the quote was that the rich would simple ignore the existing law and instead of trying to enforce the law society should just give in to them. The second was during his attempt to privatize Social Security he straight out stated something to the effect the Federal Government would default on the bonds the Social Security Administration had bought with the excess payroll taxes they had been collecting. Keep in mind that far more is owed by the US Gov. to others then the SS Admin. on those bonds, but he decided to specifically note that the US Gov would simply not pay what it owed to SS, and so the public should go along with his privatization plan.

  45. 45
    former capitalist says:

    Am I getting this right? Let’s say you make a million dollars a year. Then, let’s assume that your tax rate on the $750K above the $250 taxed at the "normal" rate, is an additional 6%. The resulting additional tax is $45000, if my math is correct. So, these idiots are willing to forego $705K to avoid the higher tax rate? Who wouldn’t do that?

    Geez. Again.

  46. 46
    JL says:

    MSM and talk show hosts went Galt a long, long time ago. When John Boehner said that we should freeze spending, was he asked "Wasn’t that what Hoover did?" When Shelby said, let the big banks fail and not to nationalize them just like the little banks, did anyone point out that FDIC actually does nationalize banks before turning them over?

  47. 47
    ksmiami says:

    Wait I thought Galt actually believed in innovation and science. That pretty much excludes the trogolodytes these days, but if these so called indispensible people really want to quit and go live in the hills, I doubt they will be missed at all…

  48. 48
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Keep in mind that far more is owed by the US Gov. to others then the SS Admin. on those bonds, but he decided to specifically note that the US Gov would simply not pay what it owed to SS, and so the public should go along with his privatization plan.

    And it was St. Ronnie Reagan whom we can thank for that clever bit of accounting. I remember that Bush speech clearly too. It was one of those moments that his child-like mind did what most child-like minds do: speak the absolute truth as a distillation of complex concepts he’d been hearing from others. SS *is* just an IOU from one part of the government to another part. The notion that they (a republican "they" anyway) have no balls to honor that contract. Yeah, scary f*cking moment. But I’m sure he was merely repeating what he’d heard–almost as a kind of angry warning if I remember his defensive tone.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    Martin says:

    is there anyone who things that basic research into alternative energy would be done by private companies instead of at state funded institutions?

    Well, they used to – at least to some degree. A lot of industries did this sort of thing, actually (Bell Labs, Xerox PARC, etc.), but that was when we had more of a long view than we do now. Programs like this just can’t easily make it past the quarterly earnings statement now.

  51. 51
    Church Lady says:

    I know that I will be hopped on from all directions, but I think I can add a tiny bit of insight into the "going Galt" idea from the perspective of many friends of ours.

    These are all people that are small business owers, employing anywhere from 20 to 100 employees or so. All started their own businesses and have spent years building those busnisesses up. All are in their very late forties to very early sixties. While considered wealthy by some, none are tooling around on private jets, riding on yachts on the French Riviera or confirming their plans for the Hamptons this summer. In other words, while high income earners, their income levels are not really what one would normally associate with the term "rich" and they do not consider themselves to be so. In terms of lifestyle, all consider themselves to be upper middle class. If I had to guess, I would estimate their annual incomes anywhere from $250K to less than $500K per year. To the best of my knowledge, all of these businesses are incorporated, so business taxes are paid separately from personal income taxes.

    These are all people that not only the federal government, but also state and local governments, rely on more and more to fund operations. Most of them feel that not only are they giving at the office, by way of the myriad of taxes that a business that employs others pays, but they are giving more and more at home, in the way of not only increased income taxes, but increased property taxes as well. They support the economy not only with their own earnings, but with the income, health insurance and retirement benefits that are paid to their employees.

    While some may look at reducing their personal incomes as a way of perhaps protesting paying for ever increasing government or programs that they do not support, I haven’t heard anyone actually articulate this thought. Instead, it seems to be a feeling that they worked hard for years expanding their businesses while forfeiting time that could have been spent with families or pursuing leisure activities. Now, they are looking at the future landscape as it regards what they will keep in their pockets vs. what will be demanded from them in the form of taxation and some are deciding that it just isn’t worth it. It’s not just the increase in marginal rates, it’s the cap on certain deductions, the rumblings of an increase in payroll taxes on only people in their financial position, means testing to receive Social Security benefits they paid into the system for years for, and the threat of Washington and their state and local governments dreaming up new ways to use them, and only them, to close deficits in government spending. Slowing down won’t put them in a bread line or force them out on the streets to live, it will just reduce their income some. As most have children that have either already graduated from college or will do so within the next few years, it is income that they can give up without really affecting the lifestyle they now enjoy.

    One could look at them as selfish, for not wanting to contribute an ever increasing amount of income that they generate to the common good, but that would ignore the human psyche. In general terms, humans typically are very selfish and make decisions based on their individual wants and needs and weigh what will benefit themselves and their loved ones the most when making those decisions. Politicians in do the same to a large degree. It’s easy to castigate the 5% in favor of the 95%, asking the 5% to pay for all the new programs, because the 95% are where those re-election votes are. The idea of things like universal heath care and a free education through college probably would not be as popular with the 95% if they were being asked to contribute, in the form of increased taxes, to pay for it, but, so far, they are not. It’s the 5% and some of them are thinking that it will be just easier to join the other 95% by giving up some personal income.

  52. 52
    Indylib says:

    Obama is starting to push back against the "socialist " bullshit – the sad thing is that it came from the "libral media" NYT.

  53. 53
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    You’ll sing a different tune when the folks running the indispensable Creation Museum go Galt.

  54. 54
    vacuumslayer says:

    One could look at them as selfish

    This one will. Everyone’s got a story. Everyone works hard. Everyone has to pay his or her fair share.

  55. 55
    malraux says:

    @Martin: But even the basic research was often government funded, and certainly government involved. Kinda going at random, but looking at nobel prizes for Bell Labs, the discovery of the cosmic background radiation (which led to what was arguably the most important science experiment ever) was done with an antenna used to support NASA experiments. Sure, a lot of this feeds back into corporate profits eventually, but a lot of it relied on government funding.

  56. 56

    The idea of things like universal heath care and a free education through college probably would not be as popular with the 95% if they were being asked to contribute, in the form of increased taxes, to pay for it, but, so far, they are not. It’s the 5% and some of them are thinking that it will be just easier to join the other 95% by giving up some personal income.

    ORLY?

  57. 57
    jenmcb says:

    I am going Galt and not looking back, starting March 19th at 6:28 pm!!!!!
    Wish me luck!

  58. 58
    MikeJ says:

    Local time or Greenwich? British Summer Time or universal time?

  59. 59
    Indylib says:

    @Church Lady:

    These are all people that are small business owers, employing anywhere from 20 to 100 employees or so

    Could you please frikkin’ explain to me why these people, some of which must surely pay huge costs for employee health care would not support a healthcare plan that would take the burden off of the individual employers?

    And for idiot’s sake, just because the current planned increase is only targeted for those who make 250K or more a year, I haven’t heard anyone promise not to ever raise taxes on any of the other 95% ever.

    And don’t give me this shit about how the other 95% isn’t asked to contribute anything. My husband and I made enough the last 3 years to pay income taxes that contributed to a complete governmental clusterfuck that included paying Halliburton millions in no-bid contracts, offering Exxon-Mobile huge tax loopholes, and paying top Federal employees named by Shrub to NOT enforce regulations all over the government. And not once did we ever consider trying to find a way to cut back, just enough so we didn’t owe any taxes come April. I am damned well prepared to pay higher taxes to support the things I agree with.

  60. 60
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    John Galt would never have slept with Glenn Reynolds.

    Of course not. Libertarians don’t believe in helping someone out of pity.

  61. 61
    Jager says:

    My best friend, when I was a kid, was John Galt. (spelled Gault) He disappeared after his Mother died and according to his sister, sold the family assets, took all the cash. He hasn’t been seen or heard for over 30 years. He must have taken the book seriously, I shouldn’t have loaned it to him!

  62. 62
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Church Lady:

    Not going to hop on. Same ole song and dance though. Sounds like most will still do OK with a devastating 4% increase in taxes, say like those terrible Clinton years. And if they are going to project, maybe they could also do it with the prospect of Universal Health care that would offset that 4 percent with room to spare.

    Otherwise, if they want to jump ship to join us 95 percenters living on easy street, I say there’s always room for one more in the peasant class.

  63. 63
    Martin says:

    But even the basic research was often government funded, and certainly government involved. Kinda going at random, but looking at nobel prizes for Bell Labs, the discovery of the cosmic background radiation (which led to what was arguably the most important science experiment ever) was done with an antenna used to support NASA experiments. Sure, a lot of this feeds back into corporate profits eventually, but a lot of it relied on government funding.

    Yeah, some of it did, but not all of it – and they still deserve some credit. Around 1/3 of all research funding to engineering schools comes from industry. Science doesn’t do nearly that well, and the remaining 2/3 is almost exclusively public funding (some private gifts). And industry does give quite a bit of material support as well. Our $100M clean room was almost entirely gifted from industry. Now, they get something out of this – they get access to a clean room that they don’t need to support 24/7, but it’s a good partnership deal and it came with minimal public support – and the university gets a rather good research facility.

    The nature of industry R&D has definitely changed a lot – and they did do a lot more direct R&D in years past with their own funding. Overall, more and more R&D is dependent on government, no question.

    And I’ll offer up this alternate deal on Galtism: I’ll voluntarily pay 39% on every dollar above my current income that people can secure for me. Get me a raise and I’ll pay the maximum rate, even though it’s probably at least double my current bracket.

  64. 64
    jcricket says:

    Moreover, is there anyone who things that basic research into alternative energy would be done by private companies instead of at state funded institutions

    Libertarians say this kind of thing all the time. That if the government would just stop crowding out the private sector, the problems of the poor would go away (b/c private charities would figure it out), all the basic research would get done (b/c private companies would fund it on their own), and so forth.

    Much like Ayn Rand, Libertarians are complete morons when it comes to their understanding of both economics and basic human nature.

  65. 65

    @Comrade Stuck: Sorry Stuck, but the subtext indicates that you are indeed one of the hoppers. Although put very nicely, I must say!

  66. 66
    Josh Hueco says:

    This whole ‘going Galt’ thing reminds me of teenagers who contemplate committing suicide just to fantasize about how broken and grief-stricken their parents, friends, teachers, the world, etc. etc. etc. will be after they’re gone. Except in real life the world goes on without them.

  67. 67
    Martin says:

    Could you please frikkin’ explain to me why these people, some of which must surely pay huge costs for employee health care would not support a healthcare plan that would take the burden off of the individual employers?

    Most of them do. Hell, even the automakers came out in favor of it. The only thing really holding any of them back is the worry that it’ll cost more in public hands than in private hands. That may well happen – it’s pretty easy to design something that is worse than what already exists – but at this point I think it’s actually pretty easy to design a system that would be cheaper overall. The economics in the current setup are so horribly fucked up that even if you just flattened the whole system out without trying terribly hard to find cost savings, you should come out well ahead.

  68. 68
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Church Lady: Some quibbles and objections.

    Quibble – Any household making over $250,000 is in the top 2%, not top 5%, of the national earners. The sunset of the tax reductions will not affect 98%, not 95%, of the public.

    Objection – I am aware of their belief they are upper middle class. As I said on another thread, I listened to a couple claim they weren’t rich because they didn’t make a million a year, but "only" about $800,000. Middle class is popular for self-identification – both poor and rich have negative connotations – so self-labeling isn’t trustworthy.

    National median household income is in the range of $50,000. I will contend that anyone making five times that is rich. I think the breakline is somewhere between two and three times the median income for household, but five times is way past that point.

    In parallel, I will maintain that anyone who is the owner of a business that has 50-100 employees is not middle class. Using Census data, companies with 20 or more employees form 2.5% of the total firms in the United States. In other words just as with income these are the top 2%ers.

    Point of consideration – Do you know (or can you guess) what these folk who make $250,000 think the low end of middle class might be? In my experience it’s somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000, or around the 80-90% income breakline. In other words, the ones I knew felt that 1% of the US population was rich, 9-19% was middle class, and 80% was poor. The ones you know may feel differently – my knowledge is a datapoint aka anecdote, not definitive. Nonetheless, the idea enrages me as it came with the "well, the poor will be with us always" and all the rest of that… crap attitude.

  69. 69
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @AhabTExpropriator:

    Sorry Stuck, but the subtext indicates that you are indeed one of the hoppers

    Church Lady every so often delivers the angst of the upper middle class, usually with some dubious calculations, but well meaning I think. I hopped on once, but it paled in comparison with others who understand finance better than I, which is almost everyone excepting Cole.

  70. 70
    Church Lady says:

    @vacuumslayer:

    1. They already are paying their government mandated fair share based on their current income levels.

    2. They will continue to pay their government mandated fair share, albiet at a lower rate BASED ON a lower income.

    No one is talking about evading income taxes.

    The only argument I can think that you are making is that everyone should be forced to make the absolute maximum amount of income they are capable of earning. Otherwise, your comment doesn’t make any sense. Do you have a problem with someone voluntarily slowing down and making less income?

  71. 71

    @Comrade Stuck: I am well aware, and I meant only to complement you on the decency of your mild retort, as everything I had tried to write had involved egregious use of the term "fuck."

    Then Kirk Spencer came along and knocked it out of the park, both in terms a factual basis and manners, letting nary an "asshole" or other epithet escape his keyboard.

    Well done all around!

  72. 72
    ColoRambler says:

    That if the government would just stop crowding out the private sector, the problems of the poor would go away … all the basic research would get done…

    It apparently never occurs to them to actually apply this logic in reverse — i.e., pony up some serious cash voluntarily and thereby try to crowd out the government, at least in one or two specific areas. You want a widely-used, private alternative to federal funding of scientific research? Go ahead — create one. Scientists don’t really care where the money comes from; offer them a better alternative (less bureaucracy, faster turnaround, more topics funded, whatever) and they’ll take it. Yes, it’ll cost billions of dollars, but isn’t that what voluntary contributions from millions of people are for?

    So what are they waiting for? The end of federal funding so they don’t feel "crowded out"? Too bad — if I want to make an operating system, I don’t get to tell Microsoft to knock it off while I get my product off the ground. Deal with it.

  73. 73

    government mandated fair share

    What, precisely, does this mean? You mean someone figured out what government resources people use, and we are paying a la carte now? Well, I am not using the Armed Forces in Iraq, so can I get that prorated?

  74. 74
    jcricket says:

    The economics in the current setup are so horribly fucked up that even if you just flattened the whole system out without trying terribly hard to find cost savings, you should come out well ahead

    The most expensive national healthcare system is in Switzerland. Switzerland spends 4x what England spends, and something like 2x France, Germany, Canada and Japan spend. It’s the only one approaching the US in terms of cost. Their system still costs 1/2 what ours does (as a % of GDP), provides universal coverage, has no waiting periods or pre-existing conditions, and has a mixture of public/private options. Oh, and they get better health outcomes on nearly every measure.

    We couldn’t design a more fucked up, expensive, less effective system if we tried.

    Actually, I take that back. What McCain and other conservatives/Libertarians are proposing – "throw everyone to the individual market and let the magical free hand fix everything" (or occasionally, "just do nothing, it’s fine") – would be worse.

  75. 75
    D-Boy says:

    Can Vincent Gallo please deny us his beautiful movies as well

  76. 76
    Church Lady says:

    @Indylib:

    Probably most would love to have the government take over health care expenses. I think where some of the objection comes is that not everyone is being asked to help foot the bill – only the 5%, and some are expressing a desire to opt out of that group.

    You are right in that, at some point, everyone will have to pay for it, if only because the upper income tax payers can’t cover that nut on their own – their just are not enough of them. If you want to ascribe blame for the current belief that only the "rich", i.e., top two tax brackets, will pay for this proposed program, blame the Obama administration for the 10 year budget they released. That budget is based on the belief that these particular tax payers will be the only ones called on to pay more in federal income taxes.

  77. 77
    vacuumslayer says:

    @Church Lady:

    No, I don’t. I invite them to "slow down." It certainly won’t be any skin off my nose.

  78. 78
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @AhabTExpropriator:

    and I meant only to complement you on the decency of your mild retort,

    It’s the new Stuck, as opposed to say, during the dark Bush years and fighting with Hillary supporters during the primaries, and I forgot you’ve been around awhile. Must be the musical handles.

  79. 79
    Perry Como says:

    Do you have a problem with someone voluntarily slowing down and making less income?

    I’m not sure that anyone is saying the Galters shouldn’t be allowed to stop working, we’re just mocking them for being WATB. One of the good things about having a free market is people can drop out if they feel like it. If there is still demand for the Galters’ services, other people and businesses will fill the gap. If these middle class folks makin’ $800,000 a year want to take their binky and go home, fine. There are lines of people that would be happy to take their places.

    These people are not John Galt. Nobody is going to miss Dr. Mrs. Perfessur if she drops out of society.

  80. 80
    dslak says:

    I’m seeing two problems with Church Lady’s friends possibly "going Galt."

    1. It’s not financially advantageous to forego increased income simply to avoid paying a higher marginal rate, so one could rationally do so only for reasons other than utility. Some of Church Lady’s friends are apparently just going through burnout, which leads to point 2.

    2. If people currently engaged in a lucrative business decide to cut back, they’ll simply create a niche that will be filled by someone else. Not everybody (hardly anyone, really) with a good idea and the willingness to bet on it is going to be constrained by Randian fantasy.

  81. 81
    Church Lady says:

    @Ahab: Mandated in the meaning that no one gets to decide what they would voluntarily care to pay. The government sets the rate of taxation on income and the rules for determining how the amount of taxes due on that income will be determined.

  82. 82
    Comrade Darkness says:

    1. They already are paying their government mandated fair share based on their current income levels.

    During most of St. Ronnie’s reign that was 50%.

    This top rate is long after their SS tax has fallen to zero on monies over ~100k too. Looking at that from under that mark, that looks like the el cheapo zone of taxation between 100-250k.

  83. 83
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    All of sudden, ‘NOW’ we are ruled by incompetent ( insert favorite adjective here)? More likely, throughout human history the sheeple have been ruled by such, which only becomes obvious or of concern when times get tough ( Marie Antoinette, anyone?). And hey, if all the rich want to go Galt, I say more power to em’, although, I agree with Atrios that there is little indication of any actual Galtism taking place. Say that reminds me, what happened to all the tea parties ( Partea, baby!)?

  84. 84
    Church Lady says:

    Perry, Vacuum and dslak – Exactly. But then, why the uproar over people thinking about "going Galt"? Why do some consider it to be some type of threat? Some people are saying that they will purposely slow down, earn a little less, and take a little time to smell the roses. That is their perogative, and I see it as a good thing. Others will have the opportunity to take up where they are leaving off, and have the opportunity to increase their income and, conceivably, their income taxes. Presumably, the Treasury can see the same amount of revenue coming in, but it will just be coming in from different people. Why is that such a problem for so many? If it wasn’t, no one, including this blog, would be writing about it.

  85. 85

    @Church Lady: And the government has decided to change what their "fair share" is. Which is good for me, is it good for you? My money says YES.

  86. 86
    Indylib says:

    @Church Lady:

    Why do some consider it to be some type of threat?

    I haven’t seen anyone here taking it as a threat, it’s being mocked as idiotic and infintile.

  87. 87
    Perry Como says:

    But then, why the uproar over people thinking about "going Galt"?

    Because it’s funny? If someone wants to work less because they want more free time to spend with family, pursue a hobby, etc., no one would look twice. It’s the stamping of the feet and holding of the breath and the LOOK AT ME I’M STAMPING MY FEET AND HOLDING MY BREATH inherent in the act of saying "going Galt" that allows us to mock them.

  88. 88
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Church Lady: No one is "going Galt&quot (or going to "go Galt", for that matter);. The whole non-phenomenon is a GOP rhetorical device intended to deceive us into maintaining or lowering upper-bracket marginal tax rates. It’s being written about because the GOP’s media write what the GOP tells them to write. And we’re mocking it because the GOP — as someone (Chaucer?) said of "the Devil" — "cannot endure to be mocked".

  89. 89
    Kirk Spencer says:

    But then, why the uproar over people thinking about "going Galt"?

    Uproar?

    How often were various celebrities ridiculed for saying they’d move to Canada if Bush were elected? How much worse was it when they didn’t go?

    Same shoe, different foot.

  90. 90
    AnneLaurie says:

    I am going Galt and not looking back, starting March 19th at 6:28 pm.

    Got laid off, did you? My sympathies, and I hope your sojourn in the Galtian wilderness lasts only as long as your resources hold out.

  91. 91
    El Cid says:

    I encourage, nay, beg, every single solitary Republican and libertarioid in the country to ‘go Galt’ and withdraw their awesome creative powers from the economy.

    I even more encourage them, though, of course, this is all just a stupid game from the typical treason and anti-tax fantasy club for loudmouth, sh*t-for-brain cowards, to find their government-free nirvana in the world and flee to it, say, Somalia or many areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Unfortunately, this is yet another bad joke from people who just sit around and fantasize that someday the world will revert to the pre-Civil-War South and somehow they’ll be in the tiny number of plantation elites instead of the vast, sh*t-poor majority.

  92. 92
    slightly_peeved says:

    The idea of things like universal heath care and a free education through college probably would not be as popular with the 95% if they were being asked to contribute, in the form of increased taxes, to pay for it, but, so far, they are not.

    They are in the rest of the world. I certainly don’t earn in the top 5%, but I either have to take out top-up private health insurance (about AU$120 a month) or I have to pay an extra levy to help cover the cost of medicare.

    Here and in the rest of the world, threatening to dismantle the universal healthcare system is the simplest and easiest way to lose elections. In polls, people are happy to pay more tax if it results in improved medical care or medical facilities. They don’t like government waste, but since everyone gets care, the waste is an annoyance rather than a deal-breaker.

    In every real-world test, your thesis has been disproved.

    They already are paying their government mandated fair share based on their current income levels

    Compared with who?. In most other countries, they’d pay more. In any other time in the US’s history, they’d pay more. The actual situation is the reverse of what you describe; rather than courting the 95%, the Republicans have been courting the 5% and then suckering everyone else into thinking that they’ll be one of those 5% any day now. Just as what is being presented as a tax hike is actually a cessation of a tax cut; what they perceive as an attack on them is merely the cessation of the continual reach-around they’ve received over the past few years.

    Then again, my country was originally a penal colony, which is about as anti-Galt’s gulch as you can get. We seemed to do alright.

  93. 93
    Church Lady says:

    Well, I’ve got to check out of this discussion – the grocery store beckons. My only point was as to why some people seem to be considering taking a slight decrease in income. As to whether or not it is the right thing for them to do, that will depend on their individual circumstances. What I don’t see is anyone actually stamping their feet or holding their breath. Rather, just discussing the idea of slowing down a little.

  94. 94
    Martin says:

    But then, why the uproar over people thinking about "going Galt"?

    Because they’re retards, violating their own promoted self-worth to society without even realizing it.

    These people are so goddamn stupid that they don’t realize that by ‘going Galt’ they’re throwing away 61% of their income for no reason. If they want to cut back to enjoy time with their family, that’s just fine – but apparently their family was worth less than 65% of their income before.

    Their rationale for doing what they are proposing doing is fucking stupid and it makes them look like greedy assholes for even suggesting it in the terms they are. You have to compare their attitude to that of the person working two jobs and bringing in $25K or even $50K who doesn’t have the liberty to say ‘fuck you’ to society for the hardships they have endured to get their top 2% income. The $250K folks have earned their reward, and it’s not enough. It’ll never be enough, so fuck their attitude. And I hope they do go Galt. That gives me a better chance to take their job.

    (And lest you think I say those things as someone on the sideline, that’s essentially the speech I gave my mom a few weeks ago, who is in the 2% club and was bitching about the tax changes. I love her dearly, and I know they work hard, but so does everyone else, and she’s forgotten the years long ago when we were poor and they busted ass and got nowhere, and if not for food stamps we would not have had food. She HATED being on food stamps. Everyone does. She forgot that. I never will.)

  95. 95
    slightly_peeved says:

    If it wasn’t, no one, including this blog, would be writing about it

    If Paris Hilton slipped on a banana peel, banged her head on a series of frypans hanging from a rack before falling out of a window and landing in a conveniently-placed truck full of mousetraps, I’d sure as hell be writing about it.

    It wouldn’t be a threat though.

  96. 96

    @Church Lady:

    spoiled poor, blah, blah, screwed rich, blah, blah

    I have noticed this "persona" has a tendency to dress up the right wing blatherings in some personal anecdote that is completely unverifiable and worse, stupid.

    I am an employer (was anyhow) and one thing an employer gets pretty familiar with is the tax load on their employees. That employer may decide to ignore it and whine about his horror show taxes or they may take note of at tax time. So lady, you’re anecdotal poor poor employers are either a fiction, or they are liars. Considering the source, I’d say the liar claims churchly connections.

    You really need to bring a better game.

  97. 97
    Perry Como says:

    I have noticed this "persona" has a tendency to dress up the right wing blatherings in some personal anecdote that is completely unverifiable and worse, stupid.

    Yes, it’s concern trolling.

  98. 98
    Brandon T says:

    A lot of this "going Galt" stuff seems to come from junior lawyers and specialist physicians, who make very high income from long hours, but are asset-poor. Often they live in areas with high cost of living (think NY, SF, etc), and don’t feel particularly "rich"–and "resent being taxed as if they are".

    I’d argue that they aren’t really rich, although the protestations a lot of them make about being "only upper middle class" are pretty false.

    But there is a legitimate concern on their part, which is that they’re taxed like people who make their salary AND have million dollar homes, substantial investments, etc. And I’d agree that this is sort of fundamentally unfair.

    But why is there never a discussion on higher taxes on income from investments or wealth? It seems like wealth is a much better predictor of "ability to pay" than income is; and higher taxes on forms of wealth could definitely be substituted to make tax policy more "fair" to income-rich, asset poor folks.

    Does it sound too "soc ialistic" or something?

  99. 99
    gwangung says:

    But why is there never a discussion on higher taxes on income from investments or wealth? It seems like wealth is a much better predictor of "ability to pay" than income is; and higher taxes on forms of wealth could definitely be substituted to make tax policy more "fair" to income-rich, asset poor folks.

    Hm. Well, fundraisers know that the big gifts come from assets, not income. If major wealth is from income, it’s not particularly noteworthy to fundraisers.

    Just a data point.

  100. 100
    Laura W says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I have noticed this "persona" has a tendency to dress up the right wing blatherings in some personal anecdote

    Chuck, for whatever my reasons, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you here about Church Lady’s "persona" status. I’ve read her posts for many months now, I know she seems to trigger reactions in a lot of people, but who among us does not? I don’t understand why she elicits such reactions, but that’s just me not understanding stuff.

    I believe she is sincere in what she lays out here. And for all of the "push back" she receives, which is a very nice term for what gets directed her way, I can not recall a time in which she became nasty or mean in her rebuttals or further elaborations on her perspective. She continues to try to explain her take on the issues in a civil and thoughtful way — agree or disagree with her.

    A few months back, I was waging a campaign to convince John to adopt a little JRT in SC who needed a good home. Church Lady jumped into the thread to encourage him to consider it, and she stated that she would do so herself if she did not have a couple of her own with pricey vet bills. No "persona" goes to that extreme to convince a group of strangers on some blog that they are authentic.

    Thoughtful dissent and diverstity are allowed here at BJ, and I always cut people extra miles of slack if I know they are fur friendly. I just feel she gets a bad rap and handles it far better than I ever would.

  101. 101
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Question: How will anyone know when someone goes Galt? Seriously. No one making a shit-ton of money is going to stop when their income reaches 249K and those who might do that (Although I think that there will be a confirmed unicorn sighting first) simply won’t be noticed in the white noise of economic slow down.
    – Or did I miss the "I’ve gone Galt, neener, neener!" checkbox on this year’s income tax forms?

  102. 102
    Perry Como says:

    No "persona" goes to that extreme to convince a group of strangers on some blog that they are authentic.

    You might be surprised.

  103. 103
    Perry Como says:

    How will anyone know when someone goes Galt?

    We won’t see a revolutionary motor that will change the world. OMG IT’S ALREADY HAPPENED!!!!1

  104. 104
    Laura W says:

    @Perry Como: I don’t understand your link, but it really doesn’t matter. I made my statement based upon what I have observed and "intuited" about Church Lady for several months. Maybe I’m naive and a gullible rube in this case. I’ve been duped by liars and narcissists more than once in my life. Worse things could be said about me.

    It wasn’t mean to start any sort of battle. Just felt like something I wanted to say in the moment.

  105. 105
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Perry Como:
    Is that anything like the 200 MPG carburetor?

  106. 106
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    Randjobs

    Si! Muy mas win!

    This whole Goin’ Galt nonsense is the "Objectivist" Rapture.

    Just leave me your stuff and don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

  107. 107
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As everyone else has so eloquently said, if they are going to take their ball and go home there are thousands of people standing on the sidelines waiting to bring their ball into the game.

  108. 108
    John Cole says:

    @Brandon T: Very good points.

    Look, a couple things here. I don’t blame people for not wanting to pay more in taxes than they do now. Who does (save a few eccentrics like Warren Buffett). I think it is completely reasonable for people to not want to pay more in taxes than they do now. I also don’t know how some people survive with the costs in some locations. I have no idea how someone raises a family on a policeman’s salary on long island.

    Additionally, I make nowhere near 250k a year and probably never will unless my chinese fortune cookie numbers hit it on the powerball, so it is easy for me to dismiss the concerns. I do know one thing- the more money I seem to make, the faster it goes. So I don’t begrudge people making 250k or more one penny.

    For me, what makes me mental is the childish attitude on display. No one wants to pay taxes. No one wants to pay for programs they don’t like. But what would all of these folks have said if the DFH anti-war crowd said “fine. I’m not paying taxes until the Iraq war is over?” What do you think the response would have been then? What were they saying when Alec Baldwin was going to move to France?

    Another thing that is offensive is that they simply don’t seem to understand how the brackets work. I can’t think of a situation in which someone making 275k will bring home less pay than someone making 249,999 pay.

    Third, it is the magnitude of the freakout and the lies- this is not socialism, this is not soaking the rich, and this was part of the plan when the taxes were cut in the Bush administration- one day they could possibly expire. It was the law as it was written then. They had no problem with it then, now it is coming to an end, circumstances have changed, so the taxes will revert back.

    Finally, I am just sick of all the faux-populism.

  109. 109
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    You are only a true Aussie if you can trace your roots back to someone who was transported for stealing a loaf of bread, or fighting in the streets *snark*

    My cousins (live in and around the Sydney area) on their dad’s side come from ‘Yorkie’ who was apparently deported to Aus for fighting in 1700 and frozen to death. (their mum’s side of course – my side – were much more gentile! and simply emigrated)

  110. 110
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @John Cole:

    John I agree with you completely. The majority of people who are making 250 + have absolutely no interest in making 249 or less. It is not in their nature. Sure there are the odd few, as said above, who are going to take their ball and go home, but when the MAJORITY of the country, the MAJORITY of the populace, the MAJORITY of the voters make less than 250K then guess who is going to keep winning elections?

  111. 111
    jcricket says:

    But why is there never a discussion on higher taxes on income from investments or wealth

    I am 100% for this. Capital gains should be taxed at regular income rates. There should be a mild exemption for estates (say $1m) but beyond that they should be taxed at regular income rates.

    And people making more than $250k from regular wages need to pay 40% or more, bringing us back to Clintonian levels (at least).

    This increased taxation should be used to pay for healthcare, shoring up Social Security, shared infrastructure repairs, etc.

    We’ve been redistributing wealth upwards for so long that those people you describe (Fortune magazine called them "high earners, not rich yet" – HENRYs) have no idea how good they have it or how their success has been predicated on fucking over the rest of us. When Fortune ran a magazine article bemoaning the plight of these people under Obama they were pilloried. Again, sucks if these people don’t "do any better" under Obama, or even do slightly worse. But the rest of us have been doing incredibly worse for 30 years now.

  112. 112
    jcricket says:

    the MAJORITY of the voters make less than 250K

    A super-duper-mega-majority. 95% of the population makes less than that. 90% of the population makes less than $100k or so. Frankly, there aren’t enough $250k+ earners to stop anything should the rest of us get our act together and support more progressive taxation/legislation.

    Short of going Galt, which I would welcome. I know tons of people making $100k who would gladly take over the business niche vacated by someone making $250k who leaves the country to avoid taxes or whatever.

  113. 113
    Svensker says:

    I have no idea how someone raises a family on a policeman’s salary on long island.

    A Long Island cop is prolly making about $110K a year (after 6 years), plus fab bennies and pension. He is probably married to someone who is bringing home $50-60K as a teacher or city employee, with good bennies as well. (That is a HUGE generalization, but a lot of the folks in that tranch whom I know tend to stick with the union jobs and marry other folks with union jobs.) Don’t weep for them — they’ll both retire after 20 years with 80% pension and full bennies, as well. It’s the guys who are trying to run the corner stationery store and pay for their own retirement and health care who are up against the wall right now. I know this personally, since one of these non-union small business owners is moving in with us next month when he becomes homeless.

  114. 114
    Brandon T says:

    The majority of people who are making 250 + have absolutely no interest in making 249 or less. It is not in their nature.

    I’ve probably harped on this before, but I don’t think the point can be made enough: there are many reasons why a person would want to work at a job, entirely independent of income/compensation.

    Maybe I have a different perspective on it than a lot of people because my dad is a self-employed contractor who never got a college degree, but it seems to me that one big advantage of high-income "white collar" type jobs is that–they don’t involve manual labor, or irregular pay schedules! I’m a scientist myself, so not particularly highly paid, but I’m aware of the fact that even when I only make marginally more income than my dad did from his business, I’ll never work nearly as hard for that income.

    There’s a similarly facile comparison between those friends of mine from high school who graduated college vs those who didn’t complete a college degree. Many of the college-educated friends are, in this environment, stuck in sort of crappy entry-level jobs or graduate programs where they don’t make that much more than the non-college people–except that the non-college people work multiple jobs 50+ hours a week.

    This is aside from the fact that a lot of people actually enjoy their jobs, in terms of either the work they do or the power/influence they have. It just boggles me that these people talk like income is the only incentive consideration for a job…

  115. 115
    Matthew Hooper says:

    Re: Church Lady – I feel that’s it’s proper netiquette to respond with force in kind. If someone wants to play nice, play nice. If someone wants to be flaming and insulting, well, honestly, a flame war like that can be fairly entertaining.

    We can still have civil disagreements about public policy. Or at least,we used to be able to, and I pray with all my might that we still can, or this country is truly in trouble. I know that is sure doesn’t look like the right is playing nice… but then you run into posters like Church Lady. Savor them. Treasure them. Because if we’ve got a prayer, it’s because of people like them, who try to persuade instead of bully.

  116. 116

    @Laura W:

    I just feel she gets a bad rap and handles it far better than I ever would

    This is scarcely the first time I’ve called this one out for lying BS. Since I play this game in public and do so with my real name I’ve gotten to know people who play this game of BS.

    the "going Galt" idea from the perspective of many friends of ours.

    Oh really. Do you have any idea how large a company it is that employes 20-100? Do you know anything about S-Corp? Once you get past 20 employees in any community you are operating in a pretty rarified environment. "She" may know many, but in that case you can probably make some educated guesses about what her theme is going to be. "She" hands out a consistent line of horseshit, cats to the side – and she didn’t TAKE the damn cat.

    Let’s just start with SS/FICA which stops at $93K, do some subtraction, that leaves $157,000 that is not taxed at 15.43%, NOT TAXED. How about capital gains, NOT FICA/SS subject & taxed at 15%. Supposedly this "Lady" knows something…repeats Republican talking points as personal anecodtes and I’m supposed to buy?

    I do a business that is hugely dependent on trust, you have no idea how dependent and the cost of broken trust. I have some legal recourse but in the end it will require a minimum of 1 year and legal costs will take any "profit" that was involved, in the end I will be lucky to satisfy suppliers. I take lying very seriously. This is a liar. By either repeating them or simply making them up.

    You don’t care for my tone, apparently. Well, I’m within a week or so of losing it all and I’ve made a large portion of my living from these people and I can tell you that my welfare or making any sort of a living is not on their radar, period – ever. What I get is complaints about cost and they’re lookng at guys who make 1/10th of what they do. So I’ll just let these little lies go? Not real likely.

  117. 117
    Brandon T says:

    Also, over the years, I’ve heard a lot of my parents’ neighbors (who do have sort of typical college-educated white collar jobs) complaining about how their job is too much stress, too little compensation, and too much tax; and that they should have followed the career path of the electrician they know who makes $100k a year.

    A couple of them have actually looked into this, and strangely they don’t bring up this gripe anymore.

    I think there’s this sort of zombie meme that jobs that don’t require a college degree are somehow "easier"–it’s the only way I can explain Republican attitude toward the UAW and such.

  118. 118
    DougJ says:

    Chuck, for whatever my reasons, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you here about Church Lady’s “persona” status.

    I have no idea if Church Lady is a persona or not. If a persona is sufficiently well done, then I think we should just treat him/her as a real person.

  119. 119
    Perry Como says:

    It just boggles me that these people talk like income is the only incentive consideration for a job…

    That just shows how out of touch you are with Real Americans(tm), the Americans that make over $250,000 a year.

  120. 120
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @DougJ:

    I have no idea if Church Lady is a persona or not. If a persona is sufficiently well done, then I think we should just treat him/her as a real person.

    If memory serves, Church Lady used to be Solotron or Soloron or something similar, and would fuel epic threads on the alleged smearing of H. Clinton during the primaries. After that I believe she switched handles and began defending small bidness owners against the taxing ravages of Comrade Obama. If I’m wrong about this, I will feel like an idiot. Nothing that unusual.

  121. 121

    […] of this is to say that this new conservative notion of “going Galt” is absolutely ridiculous.  The Washington Independent’s David Weigel gives a good description […]

  122. 122
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Svensker: So fisking tired of this.

    No, that cop and that teacher will not make 80% of their salary, not even on Long Island. Unlike most of the "cops and teachers make SOOO much money" posts your salary items are actually close to being on line (need 12 years to reach teh $110,000 point, assuming no increase in rank, excluding overtime, etc.) But I am getting sick and tired of the "retire with 80%" BS.

    Only people I see getting that are executives – and even that’s uncommon.

  123. 123
    The Moar You Know says:

    The idea of things like universal heath care and a free education through college probably would not be as popular with the 95% if they were being asked to contribute, in the form of increased taxes, to pay for it, but, so far, they are not. It’s the 5% and some of them are thinking that it will be just easier to join the other 95% by giving up some personal income.

    @Church Lady: I’m late to the thread and this probably won’t get read, and that’s too bad.

    Your post is bullshit. I am one of those people. I employ 40 people. Due to current circumstances my income is currently under $250k per year, but if my business survives the next two years it won’t stay that way. You’re talking about a 5% increase in the marginal tax rate for a down payment on national health care.

    Do you know what I pay for health insurance? Do you have ANY FUCKING IDEA what it costs to insure employees?

    I pay twenty thousand, that is twenty thousand American dollars a month, not per year, for 16 people on one plan. I pay eight thousand per month more for the other 24. That is at least $360,000 per year that I spend to insure 40 people. That amount isn’t fixed, by the way. It increases 20% per year.

    You could ram my marginal taxes up to 70% on the 250k limit and I would still be making tons more money if we instituted national health care. It is my largest single expense – more than my building mortgage, more than all my utilities combined, more than my 401k contributions for my employees. Get this health insurance monkey off my back and you’ll see my business take off like a rocket.

    You are a propagandist spewing talking points. You don’t know any business owners. Not a one of them would say anything remotely as stupid as what you are peddling here.

    I see Chuck Butcher has figured you out as well.

  124. 124
    gwangung says:

    We’ve been redistributing wealth upwards for so long that those people you describe (Fortune magazine called them "high earners, not rich yet" – HENRYs) have no idea how good they have it or how their success has been predicated on fucking over the rest of us. When Fortune ran a magazine article bemoaning the plight of these people under Obama they were pilloried. Again, sucks if these people don’t "do any better" under Obama, or even do slightly worse. But the rest of us have been doing incredibly worse for 30 years now.

    You know, I’ve defended this kind of people as not being RICH rich—their salaries are high but given their geographic location, it eats into their buying power, yadda yadda yadda.

    But you’re right…they have it pretty good. Because the key thing is NOT RICH YET. They WILL get rich if they have half a brain–and it’ll STILL be that way under Obama’s plan.

    Aint crying for them….just saying they aren’t as rich as many people think…but they sure as hell can afford the nick under this particular plan.

  125. 125
    El Cid says:

    @The Moar You Know: But that’s just the trick — they talk as if they give a damn about the minor small business upper middle classes in order to support policies aimed at helping centi-millionaires and billionaires. As much as they yap about their fantasy small business Galtians, they don’t give the slightest sh*t. Their robot memes are all about the billionaires — the real upper classes, in other words — but they’ve got to dress it up in yeoman duds to sell it.

  126. 126
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @DougJ:

    If a persona is sufficiently well done, then I think we should just treat him/her as a real person.

    Which begs the question. How many real persons have you been, Dougj. I know, a gentleman never tells.:)

  127. 127
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @The Moar You Know: and Chuck Butcher, I have to step to church Lady’s defense here, at least in part.

    Yes, it is possible Church Lady knows some people who own businesses of 20+ employees who are saying this. I know of two, myself. Note, please, that CL doesn’t say he/she knows that the people he/she knows are telling the truth. They’re saying it, and he/she is apparently credulous enough to accept their telling the truth.

    Now, CL may know better, but due to my own experience I know that what was said could be literally true.

    I would hope he/she does the math and applies a bit of skeptical review before continuing to regurgitate the liars’ claims.

  128. 128
    DougJ says:

    You could ram my marginal taxes up to 70% on the 250k limit and I would still be making tons more money if we instituted national health care. It is my largest single expense – more than my building mortgage, more than all my utilities combined, more than my 401k contributions for my employees. Get this health insurance monkey off my back and you’ll see my business take off like a rocket.

    Yup. Well said.

  129. 129
    The Moar You Know says:

    I think it is completely reasonable for people to not want to pay more in taxes than they do now.

    @John Cole: Actually, John, it is not reasonable. We derive a tremendous number of benefits from the tax dollars that we pay, and the more money you make, the more you benefit from a society that has a sound infrastructure – that infrastructure allowed you to make that money in the first place.

    Our infrastructure is not sound. We’ve deferred payment on it for as long as we can, and we need to start paying to bring it up to snuff. You don’t get something for nothing, amirite?

    I don’t like paying taxes, but realize that I’m going to have to pay more to preserve the American way of life. So be it. The alternative, not paying more taxes, has a very predictable outcome. First you end up looking like downtown San Francisco. Then Tijuana. Then Rio de Janiero. After that, Nigeria. The end game comes when you wind up looking like Somalia.

    No thanks.

  130. 130
    DougJ says:

    Which begs the question. How many real persons have you been, Dougj.

    About seven or eight. But the guy who did Blogs4Brownback took it to a new level and I gave up because I realized I could never compete with him. That guy, who I won’t name or identify by persona, is a genius.

  131. 131
    Svensker says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    But I am getting sick and tired of the "retire with 80%" BS.

    OK, so how much do they retire with?

  132. 132
    Church Lady says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Chuck, your withholding tables are apparently out of date. 2009 Social Security withholding is based on a maximum of $106,900. The last time the maximum was under 93K (your figure, not mine), was 2005, when the maximum income for withholding was 90K. It was inflation adjusted to $94,200 in 2006.

    Not to be nitpicky (well, given your screed, yes I am), Social Security is actually only one component of FICA, the other part being the Medicare tax. Medicare taxes are payable on ALL wage income – there is no limit.

    I do, in fact, know what is involved in owning a company with twenty or more employees. My husband and I, along with his brother and his brother’s wife, have one and there are currently 21 employees on payroll. We started it in 1992 and were dead broke for a number of years as we built the company up, many times having to put basic living expenses on credit cards. When we had enough history and customer base built up to actually get a line of credit from a bank in order to expand and hire more employees, we had to guarantee the loan with every asset we owned, even our life insurance. If the business had failed, we would have been dead broke. So yeah, I do know what it is like to stuggle and I do know what setbacks are like. Right now we are dealing with cash flow problems caused by a combination of some customers’ business slowdowns and others being slow to pay their bills. All we can do is our best and hope that the economy starts to turn around.

    And yes, many of our friends own their own businesses, most probably considered moderately successful and some what I consider wildly successful, like the local architecture firms two different friends own that each employ over 100 people.

    I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time right now and I hope that you are able to hang on and that your situation will improve. Given the current state of the economy and the housing market, I do not envy anyone involved the the building trade.

  133. 133
    Church Lady says:

    @Laura W.: Thank you.

  134. 134
    DougJ says:

    My sympathies, and I hope your sojourn in the Galtian wilderness lasts only as long as your resources hold out.

    You don’t make her vacation sound like much fun.

  135. 135
    The Moar You Know says:

    @El Cid: I know they don’t. Here’s the real problem for me, politically; Republicans absolutely don’t give a shit about my welfare, they’d be perfectly happy to have three mega-corporations run all of America.

    Democrats don’t give a shit about the welfare of the small business owner, either, but right now at least they are looking at getting the health insurance monster off my back, and for that alone I will support them until it hurts. I deal with VERY skilled employees and I can’t NOT offer health insurance, but a few more years of climbing premiums and it won’t matter because I’ll have to throw in the towel on the whole operation.

  136. 136
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @DougJ:

    The murky world of spoof. It’s the modern ghost story.

  137. 137
    Church Lady says:

    @Comrade Stuck: The only other name I’ve every posted under here was my own, Lynne, and that was at the beginning and only for a very, very short time. The moniker "Church Lady" was assumed at the suggestion of another frequest poster, one whose name I don’t recall. John Cole knows who I am, knows that I am real, and knows that I post here under only one name.

    Please feel free to feel like an idiot.

  138. 138
    El Cid says:

    @The Moar You Know: I don’t think that the Democrats as a party give much of a sh*t about small business in general, but I think it’s pretty arguable that what they would do for the nation is much, much better for small businesses than what Republicans have done and would do.

    There’s simply no question that the small business within which I work would be doing better now and would be doing better in the future had the nation been run by a number of relatively sane politicians proposing a much better mix of sane vs. awful policies. Even to the owner, the tax situation is literally the last thing on his mind.

    But, then, there are other factors: despite a lot of rhetoric, most people don’t work for small businesses, and small businesses don’t do the heavy dropping of campaign donations. It’s more of a niche market of political influence, mostly relevant to particular localities or to a few issues.

  139. 139
    Church Lady says:

    @The Moar You Know – You bet I believe those insurance figures you give. Our health insurance plan is currently costing us almost $15K per month for the 21 employees we have. Our plan renewed in February, and only went up 10%, which was less that the 15% increase we got hit with in 2008. The husband of one employee is currently on the waiting list for a lung transplant. We figure that when he finally gets the transplant he so desparately needs, the cost will cause our already astronomical premiums to really skyrocket.

  140. 140
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Svensker:

    OK, so how much do they retire with?

    According to New York Law, 50% of "final average salary" (average of highest three consecutive years salary) after 25 years service. For service beyond 25 years the benefit is increased by 1/60th (1.67%) of the salary per year of extra service. As a result, 40 years of service would provide a retirement benefit of 75% (50% +15/60) of the final average salary.

  141. 141
    Kirk Spencer says:

    minor correction on previous post – the 25 year bit only applies to the law enforcement officer.

    The teacher gets 1/60th per year of service *IF* she gets classified as a state employee. If she gets to 40 years of service her retirement will be 2/3 her highest average salary. County employee retirements are lower.

    In both cases the odds are much more likely they’ll retire at about 30 years service – just for point of reference.

    [edit – NOW the ‘edit the message’ buttons come up. sigh]

  142. 142
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Church Lady:

    Please feel free to feel like an idiot.

    LOL. Done!

  143. 143

    […] really can’t improve on what John Cole said.   […]

  144. 144
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    What The Moar You Know said about health care costs rings true to me. So Church lady, what do you and your husband do about providing health care for your employees? Nada? Offer it only to full-time employees, and then make sure the bulk of your workforce is part-time? Long probation period prior to qualifying, then dump most before they qualify? Or do you pony up? Just askin’, ma’am.

  145. 145
    Davis X. Machina says:

    But I am getting sick and tired of the "retire with 80%" BS.

    A Maine teacher can retire on 80% — but only after 40 years.

    Minimum age for a full pension is 62. To have forty years in at 62, you’d have to start the day after college graduation, basically. Basic pension is calculated at 2%/year of the average of your last three years’ compensation. So someone with 30 years in gets 60% of the average — say, $30,000 if they were making $50,000 when they retired.

    We don’t pay SS on our salaries, so we don’t collect much SS — I have some quarters from long ago — and if we collect on via a spouse’s SS, it’s diminished.

  146. 146
    demimondian says:

    @Laura W: You know about the cabal of trolls here, right? Well, it’s widely bruited — I wouldn’t know if it’s true — that the creators of Blogs 4 Brownback were the BJuice Trolls. If so, the primary authors of that blog spent many, many months building up the personae they used.

  147. 147
    Church Lady says:

    @Et Tu: All employees are covered and we have always paid 100% of the premiums, including the coverage for their dependants. The coverage is a PPO through Humana and includes prescription coverage. We also provide dental insurance through Guardian. We only employ full time workers. The only people not covered are the occassional temp workers needed in the warehouse during especially busy times, and they are almost always obtained through a temp agency.

    The cousin of one of our employees was working on a part-time temp basis in the warehouse and we were planning on putting him on payroll as a full time employee at the beginning of the next pay period. He got ill at work and wound up having to go by ambulance to a local hospital emergency room. He was in the break room, doubled over, and we were scared to death that he was having a heart attack. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing more than a severe muscle spasm, but he racked up a pretty big medical bill in the process of determing that. As he had not yet gone on payroll and was not covered under our insurance, we paid for it out of pocket. He was hired at the beginning of the next payroll period. He is our twenty first employee.

    We also have a company sponsored retirement plan and match employee contributions up to 3% of wages.

    It’s a family business and we do our best to treat our employees like family. It may be why we very rarely have any turnover.

  148. 148
    Laura W says:

    @demimondian: Well, I’m sure that’s a fascinating backstory if you’re 12 and are into that sort of diabolical nuance. And if you have nothing else to do in life but spend many, many months building up multiple personae with which to "trick" blog commenters. What sport. If I were a blogger with a widely-read and oft-linked blog wishing to be taken seriously for my contributions, I would certainly welcome – even nurture – this sort of attention. Christ.

    My point was, I believe Church Lady is a genuine small business owner who posts here in good faith and tolerates the near-constant ridicule and derision thrown at her far more gracefully than 95% of the other posters.

    How the rest of you amuse yourselves is up to you.

  149. 149
    Jess says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    Similar story here in Mass–for a state college professor, the MAXIMUM benefit is 80% of highest income, but very few put in enough years to earn that. If I can keep working into my 70s, my state retirement will be about 60%. Meanwhile, I’ll still be paying off student loans for most of my career.

    One of the (many) things that pisses me off about the self-importance of those high earners who resent paying high taxes, is that their successful career and personal safety is reliant on those who work just as hard but who chose careers (because of opportunity, personal satisfaction, whatever) that pay less, despite being crucial to society. For example, since I work for a state college, my income is never going be much more than the median, so that’s my contribution–dedicating my skills and labor to helping the next generation achieve the American dream, but accepting only a modest compensation in return. I’m happy to do it, but I’d be even happier to get a chance to "re-educate" those assholes who have the nerve to suggest that people like me are the parasites.

  150. 150

    The bracket taxable income for those in the 35% bracket is $733.3 billion. Here is the government data.

    4.6% of $733.3 billion is only $33 billion.

    We just spent $400 billion on Fannie-Freddie in the first six weeks of the year that Orszag said would probably cost us nothing. Raising the top marginal rate to 39.6% does not address anything. It is just more deception from the Obama Administration.

  151. 151
    slightly_peeved says:

    You are only a true Aussie if you can trace your roots back to someone who was transported for stealing a loaf of bread, or fighting in the streets snark

    We’re more welcoming these days; if you’re willing to fight in the streets, it’s ok. A couple of states (SA & WA I think) get a bit upset about the whole ‘penal colony’ thing, since they weren’t penal colonies, but I’d take penal colony over Galt’s gulch anyday. Less smug.

    Both my parents emigrated, though I think one distant relative got transported.

  152. 152
    DougJ says:

    Well, I’m sure that’s a fascinating backstory if you’re 12 and are into that sort of diabolical nuance.

    It’s more like performance art.

  153. 153

    This is what happens when you kick out all of the guys who know how to steal food and fight in the streets.

  154. 154

    And that is what happens when you have had a couple ‘they did not come for me this weekend’ cocktails.
    Link.

  155. 155
    Jrod says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: I’m convinced. We need to raise taxes on capital gains as well.

  156. 156
    Et Tu Brutus? says:

    @Church Lady: commendable, ma’am- I’ll assume your business enjoys an enviable profit margin for you to be able to pay 100% premiums and provide dental. I mentioned things like part-time workforce and excessive probationary period as ways for employers to avoid health care costs, because I have experienced them repeatedly in my more than 30 years of work experience- with everyone from the Federal government, small business, to even the academic institution where I’m currently employed ( graduate degree, which I will be paying off forever).

    Healthcare costs ( as well as workman’s comp& unemployment) make it exceedingly difficult for many businesses to compete, hence the migration of jobs elsewhere ( free market, bottom line, profit margin, etc). A slightly higher tax bracket for those enjoying the better part of the American Dream ( as opposed to nightmare) should not be to high a price to pay for a more successful nation, should it?

  157. 157
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Is there one example of someone threatening to "go Galt" who actually makes over $250K? Someone whose story actually checks out?

    I get the impression that Rand devotees talking trash are movement conservatives who want to believe they will make over $250K in the future.

  158. 158
    Kyle says:

    You are only a true Aussie if you can trace your roots back to someone who was transported for stealing a loaf of bread, or fighting in the streets

    I have a friend who can trace his ancestry to the Ned Kelly Gang (famous 19th century bushrangers/outlaws), which is even more prestigious.
    Aussie bumper sticker: "Thank God the Americans got the Puritans and we got the convicts".

  159. 159
    Martin says:

    A Maine teacher can retire on 80%—but only after 40 years.
    Minimum age for a full pension is 62. To have forty years in at 62, you’d have to start the day after college graduation, basically. Basic pension is calculated at 2%/year of the average of your last three years’ compensation. So someone with 30 years in gets 60% of the average—say, $30,000 if they were making $50,000 when they retired.

    According to my little calculator, at 62 I’d retire with 85% salary. If I can make it to 67 I’ll get 100%. That’ll be 42 years service. Fuck, that’s depressing.

    But yeah, 80% isn’t all that uncommon, though I do get paid shit, so consider that it’s 80% of shit.

  160. 160
    Martin says:

    Raising the top marginal rate to 39.6% does not address anything. It is just more deception from the Obama Administration.

    Take it up with the Republicans. They’re the ones that wrote the bill in 2000.

  161. 161

    So, Church Lady’
    You’re making the case that you have 21 employees and nothing like $250K income. I don’t find that particularly strange and I don’t find it means someone is failing particularly with the health plans you offer your employees. Now, if you don’t mind my asking, wtf is up with the major stupid statements you’ve managed?

    You apparently have, or seem to claim to have, some idea of what is going on with your employees and yet you pass on the Galt thing with a straight face? You explain it as though there is one iota of sense in it. How many people are you going to try to be nice to at the same time?

    A good friend, former general contractor is a bigoted son of a bitch, sex and race and I’ve told him to his face. We’re friends because in spite of his bs he’d never do any such thing in his personal or business life. He’s an asshole that way, but he’d never treat such an employee badly, it makes not a bit of sense but friend or no, I’ll not defend his shit here or anywhere. If your friends say stupid shit to you and you bring it here and rationalize it exactly what reaction would you expect?

    Yes, you’re right 93K was two years ago. Still, that’s $147K that’s outside the 15.7% which is sizable, in fact it reduces the total tax load from that to 6.4% of income on 250K, not bad. So +4% is a big deal on over 250K? That’s assuming they’re even taking 103K in salary rather than the lion’s share in dividends or bonuses or rents or…

  162. 162
    itsbenj says:

    well, this was all ripped apart somewhat several days ago when people first started suggesting it. the reason its a bogus argument is that once you start making $250,000 per year or more, your entire tax rate doesn’t just suddenly jump to %39, it is only income above $250,000 which is taxed at that rate, the rest is taxed at its own respective rate. so, if they cut back enough hours to make $249,990, this does not "save" anyone any money. it just means that they make less total, and don’t pay the higher rate on income over $250K (which if they were to, would still leave them with more money, so they’re just shooting themselves in the ass, really).

    stupid, spiteful people willing to hurt even themselves in the service of their own ignorance.

  163. 163
    BigSwami says:

    I’d like to take time to rebut the criticism of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism as being a poor philosophy. While it is most certainly poor, it’s not a philosophy at all.

    As humanity developed secure, civilized lifestyles, humans stopped thinking so much about survival. Philosophy was conceived as a way to think about how to live out a human life in a way that was best. Objectivists answer that call with a bizarre non-sequitur: to scratch and claw your way to the top, just as any animal would, disregarding our inherently human capacity to understand the perspectives of others.

    It employs the language of philosophy, but it does so with the goal of invalidating the entire basis for philosophy. It’s like debating fossil evidence with a creationist.

  164. 164
    danno says:

    Vincent Gallo is most definitely a libertarian of the most extreme variety, so I think the chances of him being a Randian are very good.

  165. 165
    Craig says:

    Also, if Jesus could get down here and Rapture a few of these idiots, that would be really appreciated.

  166. 166
    winstongator says:

    I think the rate for >250k is going to go from 33% to 36%, and it is the rate above 400k is the one going from 35% to 39.6%.

  167. 167
    Jeff the Zombie says:

    I make a little over the median income, and I’d gladly pay more taxes if it meant some people got to eat a little more, or had adequate health care.

    We all benefit by keeping our entire population afloat — without government infrastructure and social programs, we end up living in the third world.

    Or to put it in a more cynical way — either pay now in taxes, or ultimately pay for that big nice fence around your house or apartment building, and the armed bodyguards and armored cars you’ll be using to protect yourself from the desperately impoverished people who want what you have. That’s what the "upper middle class" of Brazil do, by the way.

    The Galtists just don’t have a clue about the society they live in — the New Deal made their wealth possible. Do they really want to live in 19th Century America? In terms of development, it wasn’t much different than today’s "developing economies." They should be happy to pay more in taxes — the Western world is what it is because of the social safety net, not despite it.

  168. 168
    GuyFromOhio says:

    Much html code has been spilled about the wingnut obsession with “going Galt” in order to avoid paying a 39% marginal rate on income over 250K a year.

    Time for a blogger ethics panel?

    I suspect the imminent lower standard of living (translated = end of mindless consumption) in our country, our world, will come as a nasty shock to the ten-yr-olds, in parallel with a similar demise of The Politics of Teh Stoopid (that’s the GOoPers), topped with a quaint flameout of the traditional media. What has visited the plague upon Wall Street soon shall haunt the Murdochs and Reynolds of the media world, and no longer able to make a decent living peddling the shit journalism upon which these empires were built, they’ll find some other line of work, leaving Rachel Maddow to rule them all.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

  169. 169
    r€nato says:

    as others have ably pointed out, many of the neo-teabaggers/neo-Galt’ers don’t do anything which Rand would have considered productive work which contributes to the wealth of society.

    I think somehow society will get by just fine with a few less reich-wing bloggers and academics.

  170. 170
    Don says:

    I really wouldn’t be surprised if a number of these Galtholes really DON’T understand how the tax brackets work; a surprising number of people don’t. They plug their numbers into TurboTax – or hand over their papers to a preparer – and get back a total.

    I’d have thought that would be different with small business people but a lot of the ones I know hand off a lot of that kind of think to bookkeepers. In all but one of the cases I know it’s a smart move on their part – it keeps their time free to concentrate on the business, and looking back on my own failed venture I wish I’d handed off more of that kind of thing and spent more time gathering business.

    However it does seem to leave a lot of them completely disconnected from the underlying facts and reasons why some things are the way they are.

    All of this is purely anecdotal, though, so perhaps only my friends are morons.

  171. 171
    Tyro says:

    Instead, it seems to be a feeling that they worked hard for years expanding their businesses while forfeiting time that could have been spent with families or pursuing leisure activities.

    Whoah. You mean that sacrificing all that time and expending all that effort just "doesn’t seem worth it" in the end, despite the material wealth it may provide, when you could live a pretty decent lifestyle instead focusing on other important things in life? Holy COW, I never would have realized!

    Everyone knows that the hard work of building a business or working in a profession which requires long hours is done simply because you’re passionate about it. Sure, the money is great, but it’s never going to seem "worth it" if you look at it in such stark terms, given the sacrifices. Do they want a cookie for figuring out, in late middle age, that it isn’t worth the headache unless you want to do it for its own sake (and for the independence and autonomy)?

    I feel sorry for these guys not because they’re buckling under the pressure of 90s-era tax rates but because they were sold a false bill of goods regarding what was important in life and what they would get personal and societal rewards for. However, since I’m planning on taking the same path they took, it will be nice if they ratchet things down a bit and see me as someone to take over their workload rather than a competitor to be crushed.

  172. 172
    Dr. Squid says:

    @AhabTExpropriator:

    Vincent Gallo

    …is a gigantic douche-bag.

    …who expects us to pay for the "genius" of Chloe Sevigny sucking his microschlong.

  173. 173
    gsp says:

    an exceptional post. You are a real asset to B-J.

  174. 174
    Steve Dutch says:

    I vote Republican because I think having liberal crackpots on the Supreme Court is worse, even, than having conservative crackpots in the other two branches.

    But since 2006 the conservative side of American politics has gone screaming bat-guano insane. They won’t part company with the anti-evolution crowd, they are wrong on every single environmental issue, and lately they’ve let Rush Limbaugh (shudder) drive their positions on the issues. Instead of following the old adage "when you’re in a hole, stop digging," conservatives have called for heavy machinery.

    All this talk about going Galt or an uprising of the "bubbas" reminds me of the leftist revolutionary fantasies of the ’60’s. They were going to bring down The System. But when four – count ’em – four students were shot by the National Guard (admittedly a needless tragedy), they were horrified. What did they think would happen in a revolution? How many guys got killed at Lexington? It was all idle chatter and Kent State proved it.

    So nobody is going Galt. The people who are threatening to go Galt stand to lose too much if they do. They’ll lose money, maybe, but more important they’ll lose power, prestige, and their trophy wife will find somebody else. And nobody will miss them in the least, because there are a hundred underlings who can move into their positions and do just as good a job – for less pay. And they know it.

    And the "bubbas" will not rise up in revolt. They value their pickups and boats too much. It riles them no end that a black guy is in the White House, but not enough to risk their stuff. On the other hand, if the recession impoverishes the middle class, and they lose it all anyway, it might just get very ugly. See Germany, 1933.

  175. 175
    John says:

    wow. without their leadership whatever will happen to the economy?

  176. 176
    Eran says:

    I read Atlas Shrugged in the attempt to win college money from an essay contest; needless to say I didn’t bother writing the essay. I had nothing to say that the foundation wanted to hear. Ayn Rand’s philosophy fails in the same way that most others fail: for it to work, society must simplify itself into easily identifiable good guys (industrial geniuses) and bad guys (socialist morons), with nothing in between. Manifest destiny at its worst.
    I consumed so many grains of salt along with this book, I had to stop halfway through and get a drink of water. Read this only if you are a student of ethics or philosophy, and would like a little practice in dissembling false premises.

  177. 177

    […] Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Creeping Galtism "What I think is more insidious, though, than wingnut dentists’ cutting back their hours or Mrs. Instapundit cutting back on whatever it is that she normally does, is the widespread belief among elites that they and their colleagues are indispensable men." (tags: politics economics randroids comments) […]

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  1. […] Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » Creeping Galtism "What I think is more insidious, though, than wingnut dentists’ cutting back their hours or Mrs. Instapundit cutting back on whatever it is that she normally does, is the widespread belief among elites that they and their colleagues are indispensable men." (tags: politics economics randroids comments) […]

  2. […] really can’t improve on what John Cole said.   […]

  3. […] of this is to say that this new conservative notion of “going Galt” is absolutely ridiculous.  The Washington Independent’s David Weigel gives a good description […]

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