Jim, you suggested we both respond to this Kathleen Parker column. I have a bit of a soft spot for Parker ever since she criticized Bush in the last couple years of his administration, knowing that she would (and she was) excoriated by the conservative pundit class, which allows no dissent or questioning whatsoever.Here, she does make a few good points, though she deals in generalities, and even when she says the evidence supports something, she offers nada in the way of specifics. We’re just supposed to believe her that evidence shows Obama’s policies haven’t worked.
(This continues to be my favorite bit of hypocrisy from the Right. They rail on and on about how Obama’s policies have destroyed the country. Of course, as the chart here shows, the current Republicans have broken all records for using the filibuster. So to be honest, you can’t say Obama’s policies have failed. All you can say is that the Republicans have blocked them from being tried. But to keep whatever in she still has with the Right, even Parker can’t admit that.)
At least she does point out the hypocrisy of saying the poor pay no taxes because it is just income tax they don’t pay. What she doesn’t say is that overall they pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes–when counting state, sales, property and all other taxes–than do the wealthier. And looking at the tax brackets; to avoid paying any income tax you have to make less than about $22,000 for a family of four. To me, the scandal isn’t that they don’t pay income tax, but rather that we have such a large underclass in our society that makes so little in income they fall below the minimum required to pay taxes. Rather than tax lower incomes, we should work to raise incomes, and in that way generate more tax revenue.
It is good that Parker calls out the Republicans for the absurdity of their no tax increase pledge. I can’t right off think of another conservative who challenge Grover Nordquist so directly. So while I don’t agree with her on much, I do respect her for being a member of the reality based community.
Lastly, she chastises Obama for class warfare. Isn’t that getting a bit old? I guess it falls under the “if you repeat a lie enough times….” She of course ignores the fact, which we have discussed in detail on this blog, that in the past generation production has gone way up, overall wealth of the country has gone way up, and, as the CBO report just confirmed (and which we already knew from other studies), all of the income gains have gone to the top one percent. Everyone else is working harder, producing more, and gaining nothing in an economy where everything costs more. And yet they say that the 99% are waging class war on the one percent. Please.
The Occupy movement isn’t anti-capitalist. We realize that capitalism is an engine to create wealth and opportunity and has historically brought millions and millions out of poverty. What we are protesting is that capitalism is broken in America today, and rather than lift people out of poverty it is pushing people into poverty, while the top one percent builds their fifth house in the mountains and quadruples the size of their fourth home on the coast of California.


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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