Barack Obama

"To the Barricades, Brooklyn Yuppies!"

|

When Barack Obama pulled his proposal to tax so-called 529 plans, which help people save money for their kids' college, commentators were quick to use the episode to show the overwhelming cultural and political power of the "upper middle class." 

"The upper-middle-class vote and get on the phone with their Congressperson any time a proposal like Obama's [529 reform] comes up, ready to kill it before it gets started,"went one analysis. "The upper middle class controls the media we consume…. They run our big bureaucracies, our universities, and our hospitals. Their voices drown out those of other people at almost every turn," ran another.

With folks like these calling the shots, critics aver, we'll never be able to raise taxes to cover increased spending or, alternatively, we'll never be able to cut spending to manageable levels. In my most recent Daily Beast column, I argue that vilifying the upper middle class, especially via guilt for their success, is a mug's game and explain a preferable way forward. Instead of focusing on various ways to goose taxes on the wealthy-but-not-fabulously-rich, we need 

…to appeal to them—and all Americans—through honest accounting and a serious, adult conversation about what we can and want to afford.

Between 1965 and 2014, federal revenues averaged 17.4 percent of GDP. Occasionally we've pulled in less; occasionally we've pulled in a bit more. That includes periods when the top income tax rate was well over 70 percent and when it was below 30 percent, when capital gains were this and that, corporate taxes were higher and lower, etc. There is simply no reason to believe America will be guilted or gulled into jacking it up much more than that for any length of time. So it represents a pretty good estimate of what Americans are willing to pay for government.

How to bring spending down to that level is the conversation we need to be having, not one about how to squeeze a few more dollars out of the awful upper middle class with their Whole Foods, their artisanal cheeses, and their fancy cars. The trouble with our welfare state isn't that the numbers don't add up. It's not a math problem. It's a vision problem: There's simply no way to be all things to all people.

Full article here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Ryan Radia: Don't Extend the Dead Hand of the FCC to the Internet

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Sales jobs are hard to fill

    Why?

    At Bryant, 140 students presented mock sales pitches, and about five recruiters were on hand, said Tim Bertrand, an Acquia sales executive.

    “Every candidate that looked really good, we were going up and saying ‘We’d like to interview you now for a June job.'” The company intends to hire seven to nine contest participants.

    The contest winner, Tom Keenan, a 21-year-old senior at Bryant, says his mother urged him to enter. Days later, he interviewed for a job as a business development rep at Acquia; he starts in June.

    “If you asked me six months ago if I’d become a salesman, I would’ve said absolutely not,” he said, noting that he had assumed that “salespeople only sold products to take the consumers’ money?and that bothered me.”

    Morons A long and highly successful disinformation campaign which has completely obscured the notion of mutual benefit from trade.

    1. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, YOU ARE SHIT! Hit the bricks pal and beat it because you are going out!

    2. So how does he think all the things he’s had in he’s life were attained? Buying something is just trade,using money in place of goods,dipshit

      1. Does he honestly think he was exploited every single time he has purchased anything in his life?

        A good number of people are absolutely insane about corporations. I had a leftist friend of a friend who kept posting various anti-corporate rants on facebook. I finally asked him a couple of questions.

        1. Without corporations how do we continue to get the things that support modern life? The local food co-op is great and all but it is not going to manufacture an I-Phone or drill for oil in the North Sea.

        2. What about the millions of people who earn an honest and good living working for corporations. IF corporations didn’t exist, what would those people do?

        He didn’t have an answer. He just unfriended me with a note telling me that I should stop talking about politics on Facebook.

        1. He just unfriended me with a note telling me that I should stop talking about politics on Facebook

          That’s humorous in a wry sort of way.

          1. How is that “political”, by the way?

            1. The personal is political for these types – and you personally made him look at his own idiocy.

              That cannot be accepted.

            2. I remember a book on leadership theory I read arguing that “politics is the socialization of conflict”. John wrote something that conflicted with that hyper-fragile retard’s conception of how the world works. Thus, it was “political”.

        2. Thank you for the laugh this morning.

          Not the first time I have heard the “stop discussing politics” line after bringing up politics, but it remains so silly I can only laugh at it.

        3. On another note,I once explained all the expenses and taxes my partner and I paid so they [I had 16 employees at the time] could have a job.Including matching payroll,unemployment and workers comp taxes[11 cents on every dollar they earned in WV].Talk about a dumb fucking look on there face.Over half the gross went to payroll.That’s before other expenses.

        4. He did not the HIS rants were political, did he? The ability of lefties to not recognize what they are doing is mind boggling at times.

          1. In fairness, he never said that HE shouldn’t get to talk about politics. Just John, because his words hurt puppies or something.

    3. Shoot, it’s probably been ten years now. I remember one evening watching the broadcast news (or perhaps 60 Minutes) and the interviewer phrased her question to a Big Three CEO about sales in a way that made it obvious that she thought sales of certain types of cars was dependent on the advertising the corporation did. The guy chuckled openly, and said that they were trying their best to give customers what they wanted, not tell the customers what they wanted.

      1. give customers what they wanted, not tell the customers what they wanted.

        Hey, look. We’re not Apple.

    4. Salesmen sell people things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford. Doesn’t matter if it’s soft drinks or sky scrapers. If you aren’t doing that you can’t make it as a salesman.

      1. “If you aren’t doing that you can’t make it as a salesman.”
        Sarc?
        You’re going to have a hard time selling that line to, oh RE sales folks and their customers.

        1. I dunno. An argument could be made. All those granite countertops in 2007 weren’t sold solely to those who needed and could afford them.

          1. Sure, Hamster, let’s put you in charge of what other people “need.” Oh, and then we get to decide what you need!

    5. That article could have been summarized by: “People don’t want super high-risk jobs,”

      That’s why sales jobs are hard to fill. People want income security and working on commission is scary.

      1. They are hard to fill also because they are hard to do. The reason why they are “high risk” is because most people can’t sell and don’t hack it in sales. If everyone were good at it, it wouldn’t pay so much.

      2. I have worked commission or self employed since I was 29,wait till they file a SH-C and self enploy tax form and hear them howl.

        1. oop,19 ,barber

    6. “If you asked me six months ago if I’d become a consumer, I would’ve said absolutely not,” he said, noting that he had assumed that “consumers only gave money to take the salespeople stuff?and that bothered me.”

  2. See Richman is trolling for page views again. Prolly get another 700. None from me though.

    1. But you just gave reason another comment and another page view, and that’s enough feedback.

  3. Meet the Press: anybody who doesn’t worship that dunce in the White House is a RACIST!

    1. Yup. Saw it was on. They were slurping on Axelrod. Barf.

  4. It is not good to get into the game of demonizing entire classes of people. If bad laws create barriers to trade and benefit certain people, the solution is demonize the law not the people who benefit from it. Demonizing the people just plays into leftist class warfare. It is a bit hard to object to the left’s war on their various “others” if you are doing the same thing yourself. Moreover, if the government creates a system that can be gamed, you can’t blame people for gaming it. You blame the government for creating the system that allowed them to do it.

    1. Brute force left

      The problem, as various capital-“F” Fascists and National Socialists and Communist politburos and Vox readers all discovered in their turn, is that even if these dispassionate and disinterested managers existed ? and they don’t ? bureaucracies do not have the collective cognitive firepower to replace markets, or even to intelligently guide them. From the Soviet five-year plans to Obamacare, all central-planning exercises begin in hubris and end in chaos.

      And when the chaos comes, the natural thing to do ? the imperative thing ? is: find someone to blame. The planners and schemers are intellectually incapable of dealing seriously with the fact that the project that they have set for themselves ? substituting their own judgment for that of the billions of better-informed parties in the market and coming up with superior outcomes ? is an impossible one.

      1. The ideology is never wrong. It is always the fault of wreckers and saboteurs. The central planners cannot admit that people will behave in ways they can’t predict or will game the system such that it ensures its failure. To do that is to admit the truth, which is that they can’t succeed in what they are doing. So when people inevitably act that way, the planners claim it is because of malevolence and not the inevitable result of their schemes.

        Criminality is a problem that can be solved and or limited. Human nature is not such a problem. So when human nature ensures their plans will always fail, planners pretend its criminality and something that can be fixed if we just give them more power and try harder.

  5. There’s so many ‘classes’ I need a scorecard.There’s also the fact people go in and out of them.

  6. Man, those busses and trains are really turning the tide!

    “Bay Area transit ridership down despite subsidies, enticements”
    […]
    “Despite tens of billions of dollars in government subsidies and countless incentives, the percentage of Bay Area commuters taking mass transit hasn’t gone up a bit in more than two decades ? in fact, it’s declined.”
    The rest of it is behind a sign-in wall at : http://www.sfchronicle.com/bay…..ate-result

    The dead tree (complete) version says it’s dropped 14%
    Not to worry, I’m sure moonbeam’s choo-choo will turn things around.

    1. If you can’t sell trains to people in San Fransisco…

    2. Hold on, let me guess, there’s mention of gentrification and Google/tech employees sullying poorer locales with their disgusting money and raising the standard of living to the point where the existing residents are literally forced to flee or resort to cannibalism to survive behind that paywall?

      Just a hunch based upon other articles touching upon the topic I’ve read.

      1. There was that a bit further on. These two guys are about the only columnists in the Chron who do not constantly lick state butt. Oops; there’s a token Repub.
        They have even gone so far as to point out the idiocy of ‘rent control’, and you can tell they are not read by the masses since they were not lynched.

    3. That fucking medium speed rail Union givaway makes me fucking livid every time I hear about it. It needs to die.

    4. Some paywall sites allow you through by accessing them from a search engine. If you type the headline into google and add the site, you can get to the entire article. For example, type into Google:

      Bay Area transit ridership down despite subsidies, enticements site:sfchronicle.com

      Then, click the appropriate link (typically the first one).

  7. It is not good to get into the game of demonizing entire classes of people.

    But you have no problem demonizing about ninety per cent of the world’s population. Pick a hobby horse, and ride it, wouldja?

    1. Understanding that human nature mostly sucks and people will happily victimize you if it suits their purposes is not demonizing people. It is understanding reality.

      Do libertarians “demonize” 90% of the world when they explain to socialists how no one is ever going to give up their self interests and work for the common good? By your logic they are.

      I am sorry the world isn’t the way you would like it to be Brooks. You are lucky and live in a place where reality is likely never going to interfere with your fantasies. So, enjoy it I guess.

  8. Je suis kulak.

    1. That or a wrecker.

      1. I reckon so.

  9. human nature mostly sucks and people will happily victimize you

    It must suck to be you. How do you make it through the day?

  10. Oh, noooooo!

    So what of the sometimes overheated rhetoric, often from Democrats trying to prove a political point?

    “If this goes to shutdown,” Mikulski said, “this could close down ports up and down the East Coast, because if you don’t have a Coast Guard, you don’t have the ports. You don’t have the ports, you don’t have an economy.”

    But if the department loses its money, the Coast Guard will stay in operation and so will the ports.

    There would be one big change, though. Most workers would not get paid until the shutdown ends, a circumstance guaranteed to put pressure on members of Congress hearing from constituents angry about going without their paychecks.

    Making employees come to work without pay is “a real challenge” for them, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Is this what’s got you so riled up, John? Afraid you won’t get paid for commenting on HnR?

    1. No. That won’t effect me. With any luck they will shut it down for a year.

  11. Oooo, yaya, sloppy seconds of the Daily beast … AGAIN.

    1. For real.

      I’m not sure what the point is of Nick’s D.Beast/Time Mag/etc contributions (other than its a paycheck that isn’t coming from Reason) – the audience reaction there seems to range from conservative rank-dismissal to left-wing vilification.

      IOW, i’m generally not seeing a whole lot of that oft-mentioned “Libertarian Moment” in the reception.

      I mean, THIS is what is probably an example of the “I’m an Informed Millenial”, Brooklyn-Yuppie reaction to the piece =

      “What has to be affirmed is that there is no such thing as “government spending” in the abstract, only government spending on specific things. Merely not increasing taxes, without addressing directly how the money is being spent, helps no one and creates distortions. The public sector unions and pensioners will continue to feather their nests, while things even Gillespie wants the government to do will suffer. I will not sign on to Norquistism”

  12. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
    This is where to start???.

    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.