Stories in yesterday’s news show us again the most sacred political principle for the GOP and all too many establishment Democrats: DON’T TAX THE RICH! Any hardship is acceptable, any inhumane circumstance tolerable, so long as the poor carry the burden and the super rich remain undisturbed.
While Congress fails to extend federal unemployment insurance, states slash the safety net even further. North Carolina leads the way, slashing maximum benefits from 73 weeks to 20. The plight of millions around the country is expressed in a typical story (NY Times, 1/22/14): Alnetta McKnight ran out of unemployment insurance and food stamp benefits and now she and her 14 year old son are living ‘on next to nothing’. “I worked for 26 years; I lost my job through no fault of my own. This is what I get?”
Still, the system really “works”. Unemployment is marginally down in North Carolina. As Wells Fargo’s Mark Vitner notes, “odds are they exhausted their savings, and they’re probably going to go ahead and take a job they wouldn’t have taken previously.” The news writer comments: “But statistics don’t tell the full story. North Carolina still has nearly 350,000 listed as officially unemployed, and many more, including those living in depressed rural areas, have given up even looking for a job. For them, the safety net is gone, and largely out of sight, countless families have slipped deeper into poverty.”
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Then there is the news from New York. Governor Cuomo has rushed to confront Mayor DeBlasio, who proposes to provide universal free preschool and to fund it through a “small soy latte tax” on New York’s rich. Cuomo, who has previously largely ignored the issue, now says he can fund preschool while actually cutting taxes on the wealthy. As the Times editorializes: “How the governor can cut taxes by $2 billion and provide adequate services — including a new preschool program — is a mystery.”
Meanwhile, the stock market rides along at all-time highs.
Never mind. JUST DON’T TAX THE RICH!!!
(Note added 1/24: One of the periodic tremors shook the market today. Not to worry — the profits of the 1% find a way to go up even when the market "corrects".)