Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Giving the Devil His Due

Today is 10 May 2006.

Here at the Museum of the Bourgeois, we never shrink from giving the devil his due. Today, we're paying tribute to Ben Stein.

I enjoyed the silly dry wit of Win Ben Stein's Money, until I found out that he was that Ben Stein. (When he was a flack for Nixon, he was humorously known as the "house fascist.") Given that Ben's career has continuously mixed opportunism and loathsome reaction, it's a shock to the system to discover that, on one point at least, Ben Stein agrees with the Museum of the Bourgeois.

Your attention is directed to the Business Section of The New York Times for Sunday, 7 May 2006 (p. BU4 in the National Edition). The following is from the column "Everybody's Business", by Ben Stein: "You're Rich? Terrific! Now Pay Up."

"What Congress can do, and should do is address the stunning underpayment of military men and women and the staggering budget deficits that will be a burden on our posterity for decades, by raising taxes on the rich. It's fine that there are rich people. It's even fine that there are superrich people.

But if they are superrich, they derive special benefits from life in the United States that the nonrich don't. For one thing, they can make the money in a safe environment, which is not true for the rich in many countries. It is just common decency that they should pay much higher income taxes than they do. Taxes for the rich are lower than they have been since at least World War II - that is to say, in 60 years.

This makes no sense in a world at war, in a nation with so many unmet social needs, in a nation with so many people without health care, in a nation running immense and endless deficits. ...

Whatever rationale there may have been in 2001 for lowering their [the rich's] taxes is long gone. It's time for them - us, because it includes me - to pay their (our) share. ... It's about fairness."

Now, as a democratic anarcho-socialist, I can't agree with rich and superrich being a fine thing. I would cap net worth out at no more than $1 million, and that's for the start of the process.

But, Ben does seem to get the basic principle your author has been pushing for decades: the greater the net worth, the more resources of all kinds consumed, and thus the higher the bill, the tab, the tariff, the taxes must be. That's why that tax is "progressive."

It's called "justice."

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Note: MoB will be sending this post to Ben at ebiz@nytimes.com. Dear readers might want to chime in also.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Delia Horns said...

Stein proffers a dose of right-wing codswallop every Sunday on CBS' morning program. What a jerk.

1:23 AM  

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