Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rand Paul's New Gospel: No rich, no poor

Rand Paul seems to be an innovator in religion, as well as in economics, sociology, and anthropology. His perceptions transcend the parochial traditionalism of religious icons like Jesus, not to mention the commonplaces of moral philosophers and economic analysts like Adam Smith or the cliches of Marxist analyses of alleged "classes". And he does it all with just a few words, saving us from heavy reading and the uncomfortable process of deep thinking and reflection. All it took was a brief explanation to Wolf Blitzer in early November about why he opposes rolling back the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 a year, if single, or $250,000 a year, if married. (See

First there was the ringing statement of his new gospel's revolutionary insight: "Well, the thing is, we're all interconnected. There are no rich, there are no middle class, there are no poor; we all are interconnected in the economy."

(Commentary: with that, Senator-elect Paul neatly bypasses the largest single body of teaching contained in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Christian New Testament. There are no rich to be sent empty away, as per Mary and the Magnificat. The difficulty of getting a camel, or a Mercedes, through the eye of a needle is only a thought-experiment, not a warning to an imaginary class of monied people. Woe to the rich? A fantasy of the hyper-religious.)

Next came, not a mere flight-of-the-imagination parable, but a telling example that revealed the implications of the new Good News: "You remember a few years ago when they tried to tax the yachts. That didn't work. You know who lost their jobs? The people making the boats, the guys making $50,000 and $60,000 a year lost their jobs."

(Commentary: the main problem was that they taxed only new yachts. Those who have the money to buy a truly expensive boat found it easy to buy their expensive toys overseas and then bring them home to the USA tax-free, as used yachts. The fact that a poorly designed tax fell afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences doesn't mean that taxing the wealthy is generally a bad idea. It's just that a luxury tax on a very expensive item is relatively easy to evade.)

Then, the truth behind the truth: "We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people, so just punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone."

(Oops, uh, I mean "Commentary": I thought there were no rich. Logical consistency doesn't seem to be the new gospeler's gift area. However, his clear meaning is that we're all dependent on rich people, even if they don't exist, so we'd better treat them very well. I'll leave it to you who are reading this to come up with Biblical passages that he has deftly obsoleted.)

Finally, the call to a new and higher moral standard: "Let's not punish anyone." This is accompanied by a vision of the coming reward. The new morality finds its highest expression in a tried and true commandment: "Let's keep taxes low and let's cut spending."

(Commentary: punishment is not banned so easily. Cutting spending always punishes someone. Keeping taxes low for the highest earners disproportionately rewards those who have already benefitted disproportionately from "the system" and its physical, institutional, legal, and intellectual infrastructure. A concomitant reduction in spending takes away disproportionately from those with less or with little. So it's natural that cutting spending and collaterally damaging the poor is popular with the many of the rich. It's viewed as just another "externality" -- if they forget about the possibility that cutting government spending at the wrong time may hurt the economy and their own interests. Regardless of that, if they can keep the PR working right, punishing the poor and the middle can even become popular with some of the poor, with more of the "working poor", and with lots of those in the middle. And so we have the mordantly amusing reality that many of the never-to-be-rich are ardent supporters, right now, of continuing the tax cuts for the highest brackets. That's not surprising. For a long time, people with low incomes and little, if any, wealth have been opposed to "Death Taxes" even though they've been levied only on the portions of estates that were above $3.5 million. In 2011, after a year of no estate taxes, the tax will be imposed on the amounts above $1 million or, if a pending bill is passed, $5 million. Either way, most people have no prospect of having estates large enough to be subject to the dreaded Death Tax. They'll still oppose it, though. As the NY State Lottery advertising slogan puts it: "Hey, you never know.")

Rand Paul and the NY State Lottery must be co-religionists.

1 comment:

Master prophet e. bernard jordan said...

This is a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! I hope to read more of your post which is very informative and useful to all the readers. I salute writers like you for doing a great job!

Prophecy news watch