Courtesy of Balloon Juice I stumbled on this post this morning, which is very interesting and you should read the whole thing, and by the end of it your jaw will be dangling open. The guy being taken to task is some law professor (whose wife is a doctor) in Chicago who, with an apparently straight face, argues that with a family income of ~450 grand a year, they are just getting by with a few hundred disposable dollars a month. Somehow it’s lost on him that the costs of private school for 3 kids, a couple expensive cars, mortgage on a million-dollar house, payments on a half-million dollars of student loans, a housekeeper and a gardener, plus what looks like 100k+ a year of money socked away in various retirement accounts are all things you don’t have if you’re just getting by. You can only get any of that stuff if you are (wait for it) pretty fucking rich.
The amounts are all laid out in the DeLong post and it makes me shit blood from my ears to think this guy is moaning about a 3% tax increase on less than half of his income. My advice for him is, pick your dumbest kid and pull them out of private school and let them go to whatever terrible underfunded public school they have in your neighborhood of million-dollar houses. You’ll be able to pay the slightly higher tax bill comfortably and maybe even have the few extra bucks you don’t seem to have now to take the family out to Applebee’s once in a while. I hear they have a bitchin’ salad bar.
Why is it the few rich people who actually know they’re rich seem to all be pointy-headed liberal economics professors nobody will listen to? On that note, here’s a clip from yesterday’s Krugman:
Among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago.The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way….
You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence. It’s partly a matter of campaign contributions, but it’s also a matter of social pressure, since politicians spend a lot of time hanging out with the wealthy. So when the rich face the prospect of paying an extra 3 or 4 percent of their income in taxes, politicians feel their pain — feel it much more acutely, it’s clear, than they feel the pain of families who are losing their jobs, their houses, and their hopes.