In a single sound bite the Democrat candidate running against Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., said what President Obama has been fumbling to say for months: the socialist collective trumps individual initiative. According to Ms. Warren, a factory owner who moves goods, hires educated workers and is protected against "marauding bands" is enabled to do so only because "the rest of us paid" for the roads, schools and police.Good. Now that they brought it up, let's take a look at what Ms Warren actually said. Here's the youtube clip:
What offended Scaife's braintrust starts at about :52 seconds in From the Washington Monthly:
I hear all this - this is class warfare, whatever.That's what she said. And she's right. And what does the braintrust get wrong? It's in the next paragraph:
There is nobody in this country that got rich on his own. Nobody.
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Even ignoring, as Warren does, the factory owner's risk and investment, the successful company developer pays both income and corporate taxes when about half the country pays no federal taxes at all.Really? Half the country pays no federal tax? First some boundaries. From the Dailykos:
They get this figure from federal income taxes - 50% of adults are not paying any income tax. But this is because many Americans are retired, unemployed, or so under the poverty line that their income is cancelled out by tax credits. Still, most of these pay many other taxes, including...And see that part about tax credits? I thought the GOP was in favor of tax credits. I guess just not if they help the unemployed or the retired or the poor.
State Income Taxes
Gasoline Taxes passed on to the consumer
"Sin" Taxes on items like alcohol and tobacco
Property Taxes (Home, Car, ect)
Social Security Deductions
Worker's Compensation Deductions
Mandatory Pension Contributions
Special taxes based on phone and internet use
Tolls, Tickets, and Fares for use of Public Transportation and Public Roads and Bridges
Taxes and Fees for Air Travel such as "9/11 Security Fee" [emphasis added.]
Krugman has some more info:
As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.And:
Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.
The budget office’s numbers show that the federal tax burden has fallen for all income classes, which itself runs counter to the rhetoric you hear from the usual suspects. But that burden has fallen much more, as a percentage of income, for the wealthy. Partly this reflects big cuts in top income tax rates, but, beyond that, there has been a major shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work: tax rates on corporate profits, capital gains and dividends have all fallen, while the payroll tax — the main tax paid by most workers — has gone up.And:
Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr. Ryan has called the deficit an “existential threat” to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat.So yea, let's talk about class warfare.
Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you’re wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.