scholars and rogues

Financially strapped? McCain says you're lazy!

I got this cartoon today from a Republican friend of mine in bright-red Orange County:

I know, I know, it’s supposed to be a bit of Halloween humor, and I’m not supposed to take it so seriously. But ever since John McCain seized on Barack Obama’s comment about spreading the wealth around, there has been a barrage of such sentiments that I find ugly.

Implicit in this “joke” is the assumption that any income redistribution through progressive taxation gives undeserved benefits to people who don’t work hard or make a contribution to society. The flip side to this pretentious smugness is a suggestion that rich people got that way through greater effort or superior character.  Frankly, I find that offensive.  And usually inaccurate.

If the cartoon is correct, I guess that means that my kids’ teachers, or my local cops, or the hospital nurse on a 12-hour shift who changed my father’s bedpan while he was dying of cancer, just didn’t do enough to earn their own candy. If they only have a roll of Smarties while the rich folk are gorging on whole bags of Snickers, then it’s their own damn fault.   It’s not about community, it’s about getting — and keeping — mine.  How dare they think more should be asked of those to whom more is given, when it comes to funding the public’s highways, schools, libraries, national parks, and dare I say wars?

I live in Boulder, Colorado, so I know a lot of wealthy people. And I know some of them didn’t get there solely through their own sweat equity and tenaciousness. Some are TFBs (that’s my realtor’s shorthand for trust fund babies, all those 40-year-olds who can afford $2 million houses). Some had a leg up in a family business. Others went to Stanford or Dartmouth because their parents helped get them there, whether through connections or just via membership in a socioeconomic class that values good grades, SAT prep, and the ‘right’ colleges.

What about kids who grow up in communities that don’t offer such privileges? It’s a tougher road to wealth, that’s for sure. God forbid they reap any advantages from redistribution. And what about kids who don’t want to be orthopedic surgeons or corporate attorneys, but want to teach school in inner-city New Orleans, like my friend Ryan?  Or the repairman who fixed my dishwasher, or the guy who changes the oil in my car? Lazy. Plumb lazy, lacking in ambition. No Snickers for them, by golly.

Happy Halloween, selfish Republicans. I hope you get lots of cavities.

Categories: scholars and rogues

8 replies »

  1. The fundamental problem with how the right-wing looks at economics is that they [wrongly] believe 2 things. First, simply “working hard” means you’ll get plenty of wealth. Second, anyone with [or without] wealth worked hard for it [or didn’t work at all].

    We even had someone on these boards say “if you’re doing a government job, that’s different. you’re _earning_ that money”.. Yet, the idea is the same. That pay check came from a tax payer. Wealth was “redistributed”.

    What we see being used as a common talking point is “a free check” to those “who don’t want to contribute”. The truth is, that’s a small percentage of the overall monies collected in taxes.

    The other part of this equation is that now, many many people’s retirements are tied up in the stock market. Even at that, only 40% or so of the population has money “in the market”, so it’s something that doesn’t apply to the majority. But, with so many “middle class” being roped in to caring more about company’s “bottom lines”, we have a Government that panders to companies instead of people.

    Our law makers, via our votes, decide “what’s fair”. If the public at large decides that it’s fair to tax companies at 75% of their profits instead of kicking back cash to 40% of the population (and of which, only about 10% makes “lots of money”), than that’s “fair”. That money can go to paying to have roads built, paying to cover 100% of the population’s health care (keep in mind, the top 10% or so would still pay for their “special care”, and they would try to spin that into “why should we have to pay more for our boob jobs and face lifts? Why isn’t that covered in our universal health care?”).

    The _current_ laws are set up in a way that allows the tiny minority to absorb the lion’s share of the wealth. The people have the right and ability to say “no more”. … if only the “people” weren’t so easily cowed and bullied by the rich.

    Welfare that is being paid to the precious few that don’t want to work needs to be fixed. We need to find a way to add incentive to get those people to work. If it means having them run push brooms down main street instead of using street sweeping machines, that’s fine with me. And you’ll have those that complain about “wasting money, it’s cheaper to use the machines”.. You can never please those people. But it is NOT an acceptable alternative to let someone prick have a $3 million toilet while human beings starve to death in our streets.

    I do apologize for my long dissertations. If it was easy to get in a 30 second sound bite, we’d have settled this a long time ago.

  2. I think the cartoon is hysterical! But before I majorly get flamed here let me qualify that statement…First the cartoon is a parody – if we can’t laugh at ourselves who can we laugh at? I’m a hard core lefty but don’t take myself too seriously. However I can understand Wendy’s frustration of getting this sent to her by a repug friend, I’m getting all the right wing crap sent to me from my family – I get back at them by sending it to – and I feel the junk they send me is an affront to who I am and the “jokes” that come from them aren’t funny anymore. So thanks Wendy for sharing your feelings but also thanks for sharing the cartoon – I still think it is pretty funny.

  3. Ok, i’ve been holding this in for too long…

    Let’s talk about wealth redistribution. Your income taxes are collected by the federal government and spread around to where Congress sees fit. A large proportion of them end up being used to purchase military hardware. Yes, some of that is needed in the name of “national defense”. But what of the tax dollars that are given as aid to a nation like Georgia that then uses those funds to purchase military hardware from the likes of Boeing and Lockheed-Martin? (watch the news closely, announcements of “foreign aid” are often quietly followed by announcements of contracts to purchase military hardware by the same nations that just received the aid)

    First, your wealth was redistributed to a foreign nation (as far as i can tell this is generally an anathema to conservatives); after that it was again redistributed to military contractors. Is it not socialism to redistribute wealth to these companies? If it is not, then i want an explanation of why it is not from someone. They didn’t “earn” the money in the “market”…that is, i did not decide to buy any of the the hardware.

    I didn’t work hard just to have my money given to Georgia to buy weapons…even if those are weapons “made in America.” Why is it ok to “spread the wealth around” in order to buy weaponry but not to make sure that Americans have enough to eat? And don’t give me the “weapons manufacturers earn the money”, because the farmers earn the money too.

  4. If wealth redistribution, or whatever we’re calling it, is objectionable to so many people, I wonder if those same people believe children have to earn the right to an education?

  5. Taxes were written into the Constitution. Taxes are paid in some form in every nation and State in the world. Always have been, always will be. Governments need money to function and they get that money through taxes. The alternative would be Government (i.e. the public) owned businesses that compete with the “free market” and are essentially “not for profit” in that the money goes into a giant general fund for Government, right?

    Only, the business owners out there don’t want that. They want services for free, they want roads for free, they want fire departments for free, they want police for free, they want a military to protect them for free, on and on and on.

    The biggest problem is that the right-wing is lying once again. “Redistribution of Wealth” is not something _exclusive_ to Socialism. It’s something every nation on the planet does, and has done, and will have to do forever. Calling it “a tenant of Socialism” is cherry picking information to feed to idiots who can’t ever think past what’s fed to them by the media.

    Socialism, as an economic model, is about a LOT more than “taxes on the rich”. Socialism is public (with no private) ownership of the means of production (all businesses, really), right? Or am I missing something here. Spreading the wealth isn’t exactly the founding principle of Socialism.. yet, the idiot masses are being fed that line, which amounts to a lie.

    The other fact people love to leave out, and I think it’s the most important fact being left out of the discussion, is that WE have allowed law after law to come to pass that allows the precious few to absorb all that wealth in the first place. Laws that protect the very wealthy but have nothing to do with the average person. If we made laws that allowed the few to take so much, why is it not “fair” for us to either make laws that helps the vast majority, or make tax policy that limits just how far those laws can be pushed? That is, in a DEMOCRACY, the PEOPLE decide what’s fair economically, and they simply dictate what they want done. Period.

    I think the only problem with “Socialism” as it’s being laid out there is how it’s tied to the bigotry of the average joe. “you’ll be giving a great life to some dirtball who doesn’t want to work for it while you struggle and bust your ass just to get by”. That is simply not the reality of a Socialism, but an uneducated people don’t know that, don’t get that, and accept the lie fed to them from the ruling elite who benefit the most by blocking a Socialism.

    Companies are not people, they have no innate rights. It was folly to amend the Constitution for the ruling elite so they could start rigging the game. And Education, teaching critical thinking, showing people alternatives and letting them see some truths that are outside of what’s being fed them by the ruling elite.. that’s probably the most important thing we can do to make a better world (and the ruling elite knows that, and that’s why they keep blocking quality education).

  6. Isn’t it rather ironic that the same John McCain who’s accusing Barack Obama of being some class of a “Manchurian Candidate” himself stands accused of the same charge?

    And Another Thing:

    Is it any wonder that some of the biggest (and most blatant) names in the “home business,” “work-from-home” and “cashflow gifting” games targeting the same Lower Classes the GOP forever sees to be “in need of empowerment” are probably closet Republicans themselves?!

  7. I, Too, got that from a uberconservative friend. And I too, was offended.

    Those lazy nogood bums who want it all for free… the Boogieman of Wealth Redistribution and Socialism cleverly disguised as Taxes is trotted out every 4 years. Funny how it is not percieved to be socialism when we are asked to BAILOUT wall street, airlines, insurance agencies, mortgage lenders, gas companies, and so on. We are told that if they fail, the world will stop as we know it. But ask that same Neo Con about extending Medicare, or Veterans Benefits, or bailiing out those forclosures… THAT would be SOCIALISM…

    Thos lazy good for nothing workers…. Tax Them, but give tax CUTS to my wealthy friends as that is SOCIALISM. Evil health care… We and Germany remain the only two western nations without health care. Oh, wait, McSame says we all have acces to an emergancy ward… and he wants to tax health care….

    Its only socialsm if Dems and liberals do it. It is saving our country if GOP does it.

    I wish I could fall and get 700 million for it.

    Penny wise pound foolish and greedy. GOP has come to stand for Get Our Percentage…