Bathtub reading for a Labor Day

A week of school out of  the way, perhaps.  One convention down, one to gird up for.  Last long weekend of a mosquito-plagued summer.  Enough rain to quench the wildfire danger, perhaps, while washing away the town outside the levees.

English: Millard Fillmore helped build this ho...

Millard Fillmore bathed here: Fillmore helped build this house in East Aurora, NY, in 1825, moving in with his wife Abigail in 1826. They lived here until 1830. It is the only surviving residence of Fillmore, aside from the White House. Good image created and copyright held by Yoho2001 Toronto, ON. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever the justification, a good stack of stuff for a good, long soak.

Wait.  The tea is cold.  Bother.  Why don’t they make tea dispensers for the bath tub?

13 Responses to Bathtub reading for a Labor Day

  1. JamesK says:

    Jim writes:
    I can only draw one conclusion about Tea Party America based on their rhetoric and voting record.

    That they’re stupid ignorant little pseudo-fascists who like being led around like sheep about to be slaughtered?


  2. Jim says:

    For the record, I oppose the concept of working for equal outcomes for all citizens. But that is hardly what American Democrats and liberals are after. We desire FAIR, not equal, outcomes. There is a difference, but as long as the “you want everyone exactly equal” meme has an easily-led audience, it will persist.

    As to taxation, how did the wealthiest 1% do when their tax rate was an astonishing 91%? Did they end up in bread lines? Were they forced onto the dreaded dole? Did they have to forgo that summer home in the Hamptons in order to purchase new shoes for Muffy and Biff? No, no and no. In fact, the wealthiest Americans did just fine. They continued to get rich.

    So what was the difference between then and Tea Party America? Back in the “Socialist” era of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon, the rich got richer…the middle class got comfortable…and the poor had somewhere to turn.

    I can only draw one conclusion about Tea Party America based on their rhetoric and voting record. I hope someone can disabuse me of this because I really don’t like thinking so little of my fellow man. It seems quite clear to me that they are fine with the rich getting richer. (And so am I.) But they are unwilling to allow the middle class to get comfortable or the poor to have somewhere to turn. Not because they hate the middle class or the poor. I won’t believe it. Rather, it’s because they believe they are next in line at the teat. Once the Koch Brothers are sated, it will be MY turn to suckle. And the others can root, hog or die. Am I wrong?



  3. JamesK says:

    The last time the income gap became this wide and the last time so much of the wealth of this country was flowing to the few at the top, David, the Great Depression was the result.

    And Hoover’s laissez-faire response which is basically what the GOP wants to do only made it worse. What got us out of the Great Depression was a massive government stimulus program. Now it happened to be part of that stimulus program was World War 2 along side the New Deal but sure did put a lot of people to work who hadn’t been at work before and got them making money so they could pay their bills and buy things. And the greatest economic boom this country has had which was the post-war years was the result.

    Lets see what David Stockman, Reagan’s architect of supply-side economics is now saying about the GOP:

    “(Extending the Bush tax cuts is) rank demagoguery. We should call it for what it is. If these people were all put into a room on penalty of death to come up with how much they could cut, they couldn’t come up with $50 billion, when the problem is $1.3 trillion. So, to stand before the public and rub raw this anti-tax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves.”[20]

    “The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”

    You say you want the rich to pay more and yet you support a party that wants to drop their taxes to nearly zero and that wants to make it all but impossible to ever raise taxes with their new proposal to require a two thirds majority to increase taxes…continuing the GOP’s rich tradition of screwing democracy and screwing over the finances of the country..just as they did in California.

    Unless you’re one of the 1%, David, it’s time you abandon your party. Because it for damn sure has abandoned you.


  4. Ed Darrell says:


    Not taxing the rich exacerbates our problems. Unfairly taxing the middle class and giving huge tax breaks to the rich and Titanic tax breaks to the Super-rich is class warfare, and destablizing to national governments and nations.

    People don’t get rich without markets. Rich people got that way by selling a service or product that others want or need, and can afford to buy. People who are out of work cannot buy stuff. People who have wages that don’t rise, pay far less in taxes, and buy a lot less stuff. No demand, no businessman gets rich.

    Making sure the middle class is prosperous provides a tide that rises and takes the yachts of the rich with it. Trickling water out the sump of the yachts can’t lift the boats of the poor, even, and will eventually leave the yachts high and dry.

    We become a richer nation when the wealth goes to the people who work, to laborers, and not to money.

    People aren’t rich because they are smarter than those who are poor, and they kept their money while the poor blew it. Supply without demand is called bankruptcy. Demand creates a need for supply. If we push the supply side, we create a bubble economy that is doomed to fail in classic economics of the Austrian school — we’ve had at least two massively painful lessons in that in the U.S., in 1929-1933, and in 2008-2009. Trickle down is an insult, and doesn’t help anyone’s economic status. “Supply side” never got published as a paper by Art Laffer for a good reason — there are no data to support it.

    You wrote:

    Here’s the breakdown , the top 1% pays 37% of federal tax revenue the Top 5% pays 59%, top 10% pays 70%, top 25% pays 87%, top 50% pays 98%….so half the population basically pays nothing into the federal coffers….yet those bastard rich guys are the source of all our woes. Give me a break.

    Then it is patently unfair, unjust and immoral for the top 1% to GET 85% of the tax breaks and 85% of the growth in the economy; Those “bastard rich guys” (your term) are coasting on the taxes of the poor, according to your figures. Give you a break? You didn’t bother to do the math — you don’t deserve one. Neither do you deserve to get so royally screwed by the rich guys, either.

    More taxes on the rich. Stimulus to get the economy moving, to employ the middle class, to create more taxpayers, higher wages to those taxpayers, and things will start to get better.


  5. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    JamesK….do you actually know any conservatives? You know , real ones , not the caricatures you are ranting against.

    Lets dad who is a lifelong Republican. My family, most of whom are lifelong Republicans, my mom who was the same. Several of my friends and oh yes…me from 20 years ago. Plus reading Barry Goldwater’s “Conscience of a Conservative” several times over my lifetime. I understand actual conservatism better then you which is why I know for a fact you and your party aren’t conservatives.

    Would you like to try again? Oh and please don’t say the word caricature since that’s what you and your fellow Republicans have been doing to Democrats for decades and Obama for the last 4 years. Eastwood’s little thing with that empty chair is a perfect metaphor for how the Republicans have been dealing with the President. Do they deal with the real President? No..they’ve conjured an imaginary one that they use to scare the American people with.

    To quote:
    If taxing the rich would solve anything I would be all for it, but it wont and it would have other consequence

    Well lets see. WHen taxes on the rich was 90% we built the highway system, we beat Communism, we conquered space, we rebuilt Europe and Japan. All classes were seeing their wealth grow at 90+%. The United States became the technological and educational leader of the world and we became the world’s strongest country economically and militarily. And that’s just the short list.

    Taxing the rich won’t solve everything..but it will solve a lot of things. And for damn sure cutting their taxes has not solved a damn thing.

    To quote:
    , they are small business owners who we need to actually start employing people again

    And yet your party voted against a bill designed to make billions of money available to banks so they can loan that money to small businesses. And then your party wants to get rid of the SBA through it’s zeal for cutting spending at all costs. How you think that helps small businesses I have no idea.

    I have no problem in cutting taxes on small businesses and simplifying the tax code for them, David, but your party doesn’t want to do that. And then your party thinks that Bechtel Corporation, for example, which is the largest engineering firm on the planet and employs 50,000 people should be allowed to continue to file taxes as a small business.

    Let me tell you a little piece of history. Back during W’s early presidency the Republicans wanted to get rid of the estate tax. They claimed that they were doing it to help small businesses and family farmers. Except their plan would get rid of the estate tax for everyone…for the small family farmer as well as the Koch brothers. So Tom Daschle offered a compromise. The Democrats would agree to exempt every estate under $100 million from the estate tax.

    The Republicans response? To reject it. So much for their concern for small businessmen and family farmers. Because yeah I come from a farming family..and I guarantee you there is no family farm on this planet that is worth more then $100 million. Your party is being blatantly dishonest when it says it wants to help small businesses and family farms.

    To quote:What you need is reform in the taxation system so the big fish actually do pay more.

    And yet your party wants to ensure that the rich pay nearly nothing in taxes. They want to get rid of the estate tax, the capital gains tax and the carried interest tax. That’s all according to Paul Ryan’s plan which yes I’ve read.

    You are aware that if Paul Ryan’s plan had been in effect the last couple years Mitt Romney would have paid just under 1% in taxes right? Because the only federal tax he would have had to pay is the income tax…that is the tax on the money he made giving speeches. Because that is the only direct tax he would have had to pay. This despite he made nearly $50 million dollars last year..approximately $49.7 million dollars of which he would have paid absolutely no federal taxes on.

    You want the big fish to pay more in taxes? Then you better rethink your support of the GOP.

    To quote:
    People arent poor because other people are rich. Supply comes first then demand.

    People are poor because the rich have stagnanted their incomes for 40 years, child. that is fact. People are poor because your party has tilted the economy to favor the rich over everyone else..that is fact.

    From 1947-1979 the incomes for the classes rose at the following rates:

    For the Bottom 20% it grew at 116%
    For the next 20% it grew at 100%
    For the middle 20% it greet at 111%
    For the next 20% above that it grew at 114%
    For the top 20% it grew at 99%

    Since 1980..since the GOP became dominant this is the income growth rate:
    Bottom 20% grew at 15%
    Next 20% it grew at 22%
    Middle 20% it grew at 23%
    The next 20% above that grew at 33%
    Top 20% grew at 9% but if you minus out the growth rate of the top 1% that rate drops to 31%
    Top 1% grew at just under 300%

    Now tell me…do you really want to claim that change hasn’t screwed things up?

    And doesn’t lead demand..demand comes first because if there is no demand for a product, David, then there is no supply for that product. Supply side economics is nothing more then 40 years of failure.

    Demand comes first. There will be no economic prosperity, there will be no jobs created if demand doesn’t rise and demand comes from the middle class and the poor, not the rich. You can give the rich all the money on the planet and they will not create one job. No company is going to create jobs out of the goodness of their hearts. After all the more people they employ the less profit they have because employees are an expense. Companies will only create jobs if there is enough demand for their products to justify the creation of those jobs..that the profit gained will outweigh the expense of paying more people.

    You can sit there and deny that all you want but you simply don’t understand economics. When Henry Ford first built his cars noone was buying them because noone was able to afford them. What did he do? Did he pay himself more? Did he demand his taxes be lowered? Did he hire more people out of the goodness of his heart and hope that the demand for his cars would magically increase? No.

    He paid the workers he had more so now they could afford to buy his cars therefor increasing the demand for his cars therefor providing him the reason to hire more people which he then paid who then turned around and bought his cars and the products of other companies increasing their demand and increasing the number of their employees. That is how the economic cycle actually works. And Henry Ford became a very rich man…all because he paid his employees more.

    Trickle down is is a failure. Wealth doesn’t flow from the rich down, David. It flows from the poor and the middle class up. I’m not trying to be insulting here but this is really the only accurate term for them..the rich are parasites. Now sometimes parasites provide needed things and the rich do do that..but only if the body they are attached to is strong. And here the body they are attached to..the middle class and the poor are becoming weaker. Because the “parasites” are sucking too much blood…the rich are taking too much money and too much of the wealth.

    You should read that link I gave you to Nick Hanauer’s speech.

    You can give the rich tax cut after tax cut after tax cut and they will create no jobs and no economic prosperity. It wasn’t George W Bush’s spending that was the wasn’t his spending that crashed the economy it was his wars and his tax cuts. Your party has convinced itself that the problem was something then it actually was.

    Yeah we have to get spending under control but that should be done after the recession is completely over with and the economy is strong. Because no matter how much your party claims to hate government spending government spending still goes into the economy and therefor still strengthens it. When the rich/businesses aren’t spending and the middle class and the poor are spending all that is left is the government. The economy needs priming and the only one available to prime the pump, so to speak, is the government.

    And austerity has never worked to get a country out of a economic downturn. Because austerity is nothing more then taking money out of the economy. Great Britain has tried austerity the last few years and the only thing it did was put them right back into the recession.

    To quote:Lower costs on business, especially small business, will allow investment

    Two thirds of businesses in this country pay no federal taxes because they use every trick in the book, legal and sometimes illegal, to get out of paying taxes.

    Where’s the investment? Where’s the job creation? Apple, just to use them as an example, is currently sitting on 40 billion dollars. That’s more then the GDP of some nations. See them adding a lot of jobs here? The Koch Brothers paid themselves a joint $15 billion dollars last year. How many jobs are they currently in the process of creating?

    You want investment? Then right now the government of this country should be pouring money into the economy. One of the best ways to do that would be infrastructure construction and repair. Does your party want that? wants austerity.

    And yet if the government did that a lot of construction workers would be employed, they’d be making money and they’d be spending that money buying the products of companies therefor making those companies profit and increasing the demand for their products and causing them to hire more people.

    You can believe that supply side nonsense from here until doomsday and it simply will never work. It’s time your party admit that it’s big giant economic theory is a failure. Because the country simply can not afford this experiment with supply side economics any longer.

    Companies will not invest until demand for their products goes up and demand for their products will never go up until the average worker makes more and people have enough money to buy their products. Companies do not create jobs out of the goodness of their hearts.

    To quote:
    Here’s the breakdown , the top 1% pays 37% of federal tax revenue the Top 5% pays 59%, top 10% pays 70%, top 25% pays 87%, top 50% pays 98%….so half the population basically pays nothing into the federal coffers….yet those bastard rich guys are the source of all our woes. Give me a break.

    Ah yes..the big lie. Yeah you see the reason the top 1% pays 37% of federal tax revenue is because they have about 35% of this country’s wealth. The next 9% have 40% of the country’s wealth. The 50-90% percentile have 26% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 50% of the country has just under 3% of the wealth. So naturally those with the most are going to pay the most. Well unless your party wins. As for the half of the population who pays nothing into the federal coffers yeah that’s a lie too. First off..they don’t pay the federal income tax. But they pay quite a few other federal taxes. Like the payroll tax and the federal gax tax for example. They pay no federal income tax and pay attention here: BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO POOR.

    And lets do bother to remember that the reason they pay no federal income tax is because of the Earned Income tax credit…one of the ideas that Ronald Reagan liked because it helped the poor make it without setting up another federal government program. So you’re kvetching that we give a tax credit to the poor that helps them be less poor? And your answer is what? To get rid of it? To make them pay the federal income tax? How does that do anything but make them more poor and therefor more dependent on government assistance programs?

    I have a better solution. How about we make sure they’re paid more so therefor their income is above the EITC limit and therefor they have to pay the federal income tax? Or does that make too much sense?

    So at the moment we have you the conservative..a member of the party that supposedly reveres Reagan acting completely contrary to reagan’s thoughts while me, the liberal, actually agrees with Reagan? And you’re saying I don’t know what real conservatism is? Sure you don’t want to reexamine that statement? otherwise thank you for proving my belief that if Reagan was alive today your party would either kick him out or lynch him.

    See actual conservatives don’t want no government. Actual conservatives want good efficient government that steps into help when the “free market” fails. Actual conservatives will raise taxes on the rich to get out of a financial hole because they understand that making the middle class and the poor pay the entire burden, as your party wants to do, is disastrous to the country. At the moment that makes liberals far closer to being actual conservatives then the supposed conservative party.

    Sorry you can jack the taxes on the rich to 90%, and no I’m not advocating that or is any other Democrat, and the rich will still be far richer then everyone else and the country won’t suffer for it. the proof? There was still rich when the taxes on them were 90% and the country saw an economic boom that it hasn’t matched since your party became dominant. So yeah your party can agree to to raising taxes on the rich back to the rates they were under Clinton or Reagan and we agree that there should be spending cuts and tax reform. But on one caveat. The spending cuts start at the top down and they wait until after the recession is completley over and the economy is strong enough to absorb th hit, and we get a say in where those spending cuts occur. and no there will be no privitization of the post office, medicare or social security. Privitization of government services has never saved the country or the government any money or made those things more efficient.

    Oh one more thing..those spending cuts are going to include the military. We spend more on our military then the next 30 countries combined. It can take a reasonable hit. and you can kiss all the tax credits and the loopholes that the rich get goodbye. for example that tax cuts for millionaires estates that costs us $12 billion a year…yeah..they dont need that.

    To quote:The USA is trillions in debt, its interest bill is staggering….and you want the rich to pay some relative pitance in comparision

    First off..we’re in less debt now then we were coming out of WW2. Secondly..your party is largely responsible for that debt with its tax cuts and its stupid wars. Or rather the Iraq war we should never should have fought and the Afghanistan war that your party fought incorrectly. Then there is the fact that for the first time in the history of the United States..the government of the United States didn’t raise taxes temporarily to pay for a war. Your party put those two wars on the country’s credit card.

    As for the rich paying more in taxes yeah I seem to recall your party saying “Everyone must sacrifice to get out of this financial whole.” I assume when they said “Everyone” they actually meant everyone. Or are you going to admit they were lying? And if wer’e so in debt then why is your party planning to give the rich 4 trillion dollars in more tax cuts? Do you know how much of Paul Ryan’s hoped for 5 trillion dollars in cuts to federal spending actually goes to paying down the debt and deficit? 1 trillion dollars. He wants to use only 20% of his planned cuts to supposedly shrink the economic hole. 80% of that 5 trillion dollars he wants to hand over to the rich.

    Most of the debt will be taken care of when the economy is recovered and the economy won’t recover if you have the government start taking money out of the economy through less spending. And lets do bother to remember that when the rich did pay more in taxes just 12 short years ago..we had a budget surplus. Hm…i wonder what happened to change that. Ah yes..the GOP happened.

    THe united States is trillions in debt and you want to make the middle class and the poor pay for it? What in God’s name do you think is going to be the result? Because it sure as **** isn’t going to a strong economy.

    Trickle down is a failure. tax cuts to the rich are a failure. Spending cuts that harm the middle class and the poor are a failure. Getting rid of medicare and social security and pell grants and stafford loans is a failure of an idea.

    No matter which way you cut it, David, the GOP has become the party of failure. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt..they are the paid for whores of the 1% and care nothing for the rest of us. And you can sit there and argue it and hem and haw all you want but you are simply wrong. The history of this country for the last 40 years proves you wrong.


  6. David xavier says:

    JamesK….do you actually know any conservatives? You know , real ones , not the caricatures you are ranting against.

    A couple of points, yes Bush was a disaster , and an Obama/Bush tag team is a bigger disaster. If taxing the rich would solve anything I would be all for it, but it wont and it would have other consequences as a lot of the rich arent ‘corporate/Hollywood’ squillionaires ( who will find someway to minimse any tax rise) , they are small business owners who we need to actually start employing people again. What you need is reform in the taxation system so the big fish actually do pay more. But at the momment we need investment and confidence and more taxation aint going to grow that pie.

    People arent poor because other people are rich. Supply comes first then demand. So the entrepreneur and small business owners actually did build it, employed poeple whio pay taxes and then paid taxes on the profit. Lower costs on business, especially small business, will allow investment and increased employment which will provide people with a wage and structure in their lives. Structure allows for the formation of families and less dysfunction, less abortions , drug use, maliase etc. You need a pro business government in this country now , so that business confidence can recover. They will not invest if there is some clown running the show. If the rich get richer …who freaking cares, its that everyone else has jobs and wealth is being created. To get tied up in proportions and shares of a pie and misses the actually job of wealth creation.

    Here’s the breakdown , the top 1% pays 37% of federal tax revenue the Top 5% pays 59%, top 10% pays 70%, top 25% pays 87%, top 50% pays 98%….so half the population basically pays nothing into the federal coffers….yet those bastard rich guys are the source of all our woes. Give me a break.

    The USA is trillions in debt, its interest bill is staggering….and you want the rich to pay some relative pitance in comparision…but you dont want to reduce the size of the government ? In California , the state will go broke because they refuse to reform the public sector – especially the entitlements… is like going to sleep in the snow all the while ressuring yourself that you will wake up because “were going to tax the rich”. At some point you have break yourself free from your ideological slumber.

    Your blog , leave the last word to you guys…Im just a tourist here, keep safe , no matter who wins in November will remain dark and cloudy for some time.


  7. JamesK says:

    First off..its not our fault you teabaggers didn’t bother to learn what the term meant.

    Secondly..yeah you don’t get to whine about us insulting the tea party when your party has done nothing but insult Democrats for decades now by accusing us of being socialists or unAmerican or the rest of all the various insults your party has used to demonize Democrats and liberals.

    And then there is the insults you guys have been leveling at Obama for the last four years. And this is just a short list:

    Obama is a socialist or a nazi or somehow both at the same time.
    Obama is a colonial African dictator.
    Obama is a tyrant or that his political model is Robert Mugabe
    Obama is secretly a Muslim
    Obama wasn’t born in the United States
    Obama hates whites and is seeking to destroy the United States because of our past history with slavery.
    Obama appeases our enemies and is in bed with terrorists.
    Obama is the anti Christ.
    Obama isn’t a real American, he doesn’t understand real Americans and that he is “other”
    Obamacare sets up death panels to decide if senior citizens live or die.
    Obama plans to put whites in slavery.
    He’s a “skinny ghetto crackhead”
    Obama really didn’t deserve to get into Columbia and Harvard Law.
    Obama is a “power hungry black man” or perhaps he’s a “raghead” and one of his daughters is “ghetto street trash” and a “typical street whore.”
    He’s going to replace the White House easter egg hunt with a watermelon hunt.
    Obama hates Christians.
    Obama ordered a bust of Winston Churchill removed from the Oval office “because of his anti-colonial hatred for the West.”
    Obama’s wife is a close relative of a gorilla and that Obama is a monkey.
    Obama can not “relate to the American Experience.”

    And you want to whine about us calling the teaparty “teabaggers”? First off…you guys used the term first. long as your party is being far more insulting then you are in no position about any insults leveled at the so called “tea party.”

    So you can stop acting like my best friends little sister when she’d whine that we weren’t letting her play baseball with us when we were kids because she thought the rules of if you hit the ball when you’re up to bat and someone catches the ball before it touches the ground you’re out…didn’t apply to her because she was a girl.


  8. JamesK says:

    Oh and apparently the crowds for that “Big Ad” for that beer commerical were made with Massive, the same program that Peter Jackson used in his Lord of the Rings films.


  9. JamesK says:

    If your a fan of fantasy, Ed, then I suggest “Here there be Dragons” which is part of the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series.


  10. JamesK says:

    If your party, child, was really interested in increasing economic productivity your party would not be demanding the end of medicare, social security and the rest of the safety net. And your party would be demanding that companies pay their average workers far more then they’re paying.

    But no..your party is perfectly fine with the pay of average workers being stagnant for 40 years while the pay of top executives of those companies go through the roof. Hell your party is downright gleeful when those companies demand concessions from those workers, ship their jobs overseas and those top executives give themselves fatter salaries and astronomically increased bonuses all at the same time.

    Which is why your party refused to get rid of tax cuts and tax loopholes that companies get to enjoy when they ship US jobs overseas.

    The more your party screws over the average American the better your party thinks the United States becomes.


  11. JamesK says:

    But hey if you don’t believe me then lets see if you’ll believe one of the of the original investors in know..who you believe is a “job creator” and if we just give him more money he’ll create jobs:

    It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

    Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

    I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software. I founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion. I was also the first non-family investor in Inc. (AMZN)

    Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

    That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

    Theory of Evolution

    When businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it is like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it’s the other way around.

    It is unquestionably true that without entrepreneurs and investors, you can’t have a dynamic and growing capitalist economy. But it’s equally true that without consumers, you can’t have entrepreneurs and investors. And the more we have happy customers with lots of disposable income, the better our businesses will do.

    That’s why our current policies are so upside down. When the American middle class defends a tax system in which the lion’s share of benefits accrues to the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

    And that’s what has been happening in the U.S. for the last 30 years.

    Since 1980, the share of the nation’s income for fat cats like me in the top 0.1 percent has increased a shocking 400 percent, while the share for the bottom 50 percent of Americans has declined 33 percent. At the same time, effective tax rates on the superwealthy fell to 16.6 percent in 2007, from 42 percent at the peak of U.S. productivity in the early 1960s, and about 30 percent during the expansion of the 1990s. In my case, that means that this year, I paid an 11 percent rate on an eight-figure income.

    One reason this policy is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, I go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

    It’s true that we do spend a lot more than the average family. Yet the one truly expensive line item in our budget is our airplane (which, by the way, was manufactured in France by Dassault Aviation SA (AM)), and those annual costs are mostly for fuel (from the Middle East). It’s just crazy to believe that any of this is more beneficial to our economy than hiring more teachers or police officers or investing in our infrastructure.

    More Shoppers Needed

    I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the tens of millions of middle-class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.

    If the average American family still got the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would have an astounding $13,000 more in their pockets a year. It’s worth pausing to consider what our economy would be like today if middle-class consumers had that additional income to spend.

    It is mathematically impossible to invest enough in our economy and our country to sustain the middle class (our customers) without taxing the top 1 percent at reasonable levels again. Shifting the burden from the 99 percent to the 1 percent is the surest and best way to get our consumer-based economy rolling again.

    Significant tax increases on the about $1.5 trillion in collective income of those of us in the top 1 percent could create hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in our economy, rather than letting it pile up in a few bank accounts like a huge clot in our nation’s economic circulatory system.

    Consider, for example, that a puny 3 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million would be enough to maintain and expand the current payroll tax cut beyond December, preventing a $1,000 increase on the average worker’s taxes at the worst possible time for the economy. With a few more pennies on the dollar, we could invest in rebuilding schools and infrastructure. And even if we imposed a millionaires’ surtax and rolled back the Bush- era tax cuts for those at the top, the taxes on the richest Americans would still be historically low, and their incomes would still be astronomically high.

    We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

    So let’s give a break to the true job creators. Let’s tax the rich like we once did and use that money to spur growth by putting purchasing power back in the hands of the middle class. And let’s remember that capitalists without customers are out of business.

    (Nick Hanauer is a founder of Second Avenue Partners, a venture capital company in Seattle specializing in early state startups and emerging technology. He has helped launch more than 20 companies, including aQuantive Inc. and, and is the co-author of two books, “The True Patriot” and “The Gardens of Democracy.” The opinions expressed are his own.)


  12. JamesK says:

    Yeah if tax hikes end up choking tax revenue then you’re going to have a fun time explaining why when both Reagan and Clinton raised taxes it did the exact opposite. Lets see what Reagan said on the matter: “The nation is still recovering from a crushing recession that sent unemployment hovering above nine percent for two straight years. The president, mindful of soaring deficits, is pushing bold action to shore up the nation’s balance sheet. Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share,” he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, “sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that’s crazy.”

    Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. “Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,” he demands, “or less?”
    The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: “MORE!”
    The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan.”

    What? Reagan was wrong? Would you like to call him a socialist now?

    And as for wealth creation..yeah wealth creation should be for everyone and not just the 1%. For 40 years now it’s been almost entirely for the 1%.

    “Tea party types intuitively understand that the economic imperitive pays for all the bells and whisltes”

    *Falls over laughing* No they are intuitively ignorant when it comes to such things. They have bought into the right wing magic pixie dust that says if the middle class and the poor (which is what most of the Teabaggers are) make themselves poorer and give more of their money to the rich that the rich will, in a fit of beneficience, reward the middle class and the poor for making that sacrifice by elevating them to the ranks of the rich. And just like in Peter Pan…everytime someone like you says the stupid crap you say a member of the middle class dies. Or rather the middle class dies bit by bit.

    If your party’s ideology on taxes was correct, child, then we’d be swimming in jobs and prosperity for everyone thanks to George W Bush and the GOP from 2001-2008. We aren’t. What happened? Your party crashed the economy and it along with the teabaggers seem to think that if you just repeat exactly what W and the GOP did then it will somehow have a different result now. That is AA’s definition of insanity. Curious isn’t it that the GOP just spent an entire week at the RNC pretending that the George W Bush presidency simply never happened. Gee..I wonder why. Oh wait..could it be because the George W Bush presidency and all those conservative platitudes you’re spouting finally beyond a doubt got proven to be abject failures and your party is hoping to God that the people are stupid enough to forget that. And the sad thing is..the teaparty, at least, is exactly that stupid.

    And as for paying down debt..yeah if the teaparty and the GOP was interested in that they wouldn’t be seeking to expand the military budget while simutaenously giving $4 trillion dollars in tax cuts to the 1%. And cuts don’t stimulate economic productivity. At least not tax cuts to the rich. One can make an argument that tax cuts to the poor and middle class since, unlike the rich, the middle class and the poor will actually spend the money buying stuff which means there will be increased demand for companies products which means they’ll hire more people to meet that increased demand which means more people will have more money to spend which means those people will buy more products and so on and so on.

    Trickle Down is an abject failure. Trickle…putting money into the hands of the middle class and poor actually works. It’s what worked for Henry Ford when he decided to pay his workers more so they could actually buy his cars and its what has worked for the United States when it had its greatest period of economic expansion..that would be 1947-1979 when the taxes on the rich were upwards of 90%.


  13. David xavier says:

    Big Beer Ad, Queenstown New Zealand, 2005 . Its riffing off the “Lord of the Rings” and set in similar location. Carlton Draught isnt a bad drop …I’m on the low carb stuff now though.

    Why the “teabagger” insult..its so unworthy. Its the addressing of the economic imperitive which freely allows wealth creation which in turn enables (through taxes) , to keep the city all shiny and the alabaster polished. When the tax coffers are low then the shine dulls a bit, we tighten our belts…or do we go to loan sharks to fund our ‘keeping up appearences’ while we raise taxes that actually end up choking tax revenue. Actually Obama said this- It was better to raise taxes and make everybody pay there ‘fair’ share , even if it resulted in less economic activity and less tax revenue. Equality and ‘fairness’ become the (very subjective) imperitive…its that misguided. Tea party types intuitively understand that the economic imperitive pays for all the bells and whisltes , infrastructure and services….that’s why they want smaller more efficient government , less taxes to spur economic activity, and pay down debt ( interest payments wto China will fund the entire peoples Army)- in essence structural reform away from the bloated trainwreak that the Bush/Obama period has delivered to them.


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