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Ayn Rand Made Her Do It
March 6, 2009 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Whoopi Doesn't Want To Be Overtaxed. Is she Going Galt?
posted by Xurando (112 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
i don't think I'm looking to Whoopi for leadership and/or advice..
posted by HuronBob at 7:44 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do you wanna get it comin’ and going?
posted by gman at 7:45 PM on March 6, 2009


God, these people are stupid. Obama's talking about raising taxes on very top tax bracket to 39.6%, just a bit higher than Bush's 35% rate. Under Reagan's first term, that bracket paid 50%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. During the Great Depression, it was 80%, and it went up to 90% during World War II. Here's a handy chart to compare.
posted by EarBucket at 7:50 PM on March 6, 2009 [66 favorites]


Has anyone done a post yet about how that "spontaneous" "tea party" shit was all planned weeks in advance by right-wing billionaires?

I think that would make a pretty good post.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:51 PM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Obama's talking about raising taxes on very top tax bracket to 39.6%,

It's not even "raising" taxes. He's letting a temporary tax cut expire.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:52 PM on March 6, 2009 [16 favorites]


Also note that Obama's proposed rate simply returns the rate to where it was in the 1990's, which, you may remember, were not exactly an economic nightmare. People were able to prosper perfectly well paying those rates, and the government was actually on its way to paying off the national debt.
posted by EarBucket at 7:54 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


At age 53, Whoopi finally looked at a check stub and exclaimed "what the fuck is FICA?"

Most of us do that at age 16.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:57 PM on March 6, 2009 [30 favorites]


Well, and the part that always gets neglected is that this tax rate only applies to the income earned above the designated level... The top tax bracket does NOT apply to ALL income earned, only to the income above a certain level. Below that designated level, the income anyone earns, even billionaires, is taxed at the lower rate... There's a name for that - graduated income tax.
posted by PigAlien at 7:57 PM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


John Galt is the copper-haired, white-boy protagonist in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Galt leads a revolutionary movement in which all the top leaders of the banks and corporations forsake their corporate jets and perks to work in diners or as subway repair guys. No they weren’t fired by Galt. Rather, Galt urged them to go on strike and withdraw their expertise from an increasingly socialist world. Deprived of the genius of their genius, the world economy collapses.

That's odd, because the world economy just collapsed while the top leaders worked overtime at their expertise... Wait, I get it now, the Galt thing was just a conservative fantasy for the working class who voted for them. (They like to think they'e really on strike from their unearned millions instead of admit to themselves that capitalism failed their dreams).
posted by Brian B. at 7:59 PM on March 6, 2009 [21 favorites]


But how many Oprahs does Denmark have? How many Bill Gates does Denmark have? Do you realize that 50 percent of their income every year could float an entire nation?

Gah!

Goddamn, Whoopie, get a grip. Whining about her taxes, which will go up barely a little bit. Yeah, she's just a celebrity, but I thought she wasn't this shallow.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:59 PM on March 6, 2009


Actually, that's right, they will go back to where they were, and in 2011.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:04 PM on March 6, 2009


“How did a minor-league TV figure, whose contract with CNBC is due this summer, get so quickly launched into a nationwide rightwing blog sensation? Why were there so many sites and organizations online and live within minutes or hours after his rant, leading to a nationwide protest just a week after his rant?

What hasn’t been reported until now is evidence linking Santelli’s “tea party” rant with some very familiar names in the Republican rightwing machine, from PR operatives who specialize in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns (called “astroturfing”) to bigwig politicians and notorious billionaire funders. As veteran Russia reporters, both of us spent years watching the Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and control the political landscape. To us, the uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that’s because it was.

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.”

What is Playboy’s evidence of this?

“Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people. Last August, Rosenberg, who looks like Martin Short’s Irving Cohen character, caused an outcry when he interviewed Stanley Kurtz, the conservative writer who first “exposed” a personal link between Obama and former Weather Undergound leader Bill Ayers. As a result of Rosenberg’s radio interview, the Ayers story was given a major push through the Republican media echo chamber, culminating in Sarah Palin’s accusation that Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” That Rosenberg’s producer owns the “chicagoteaparty.com” site is already weird—but what’s even stranger is that he first bought the domain last August, right around the time of Rosenburg’s launch of the “Obama is a terrorist” campaign. It’s as if they held this “Chicago tea party” campaign in reserve, like a sleeper-site. Which is exactly what it was.

This looks like more than a coincidence. This is now a very serious charge.
posted by robbyrobs at 8:07 PM on March 6, 2009 [20 favorites]


yeah, they can work less and the slack will be taken up by mega-corporations

what a blow for personal freedom that's going to be!
posted by pyramid termite at 8:15 PM on March 6, 2009


Who exactly is thinking about Going Galt? Lisa Schifferen at The Corner has the rundown:
The doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives, serious small-business owners, top salespeople, and other professionals and entrepreneurs who make this country run work considerably harder than pretty much anyone else
Um, er. This engineer doesn't make anywhere near enough money to be in the top tax bracket and was out of work involuntarily for three months because the startup that he worked for crashed and burned last Fall because of the credit crunch. I guess that if I hadn't found a job before unemployment ran out I would have had to "go Galt" involuntarily but that wouldn't exactly have been a protest. Who the hell do these people think makes more than $250,000 a year?
posted by octothorpe at 8:23 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


To all who would "Go Galt", I say do it. Drop out of society and play golf. Better yet, go on a round-the-world golf tour. Tune in, turn on, and drop out. Take yourselves out of the equation. Make it happen, Randroids! Show us all your iron wills! I dare you.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:24 PM on March 6, 2009 [37 favorites]


Some of these clips are from April/May 2008, before Obama was the Democratic nominee, let alone the president. At the time, Whoopi seemed to be saying that her taxes were going to go up regardless of who became president, McCain or Obama. She wasn't specifically reacting to Obama's current progressive tax proposals. Check the dates on the links, people.
posted by jonp72 at 8:24 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Going Galt, my ass. I don't know what's more ludicrous, the idea that the economy will crumble if 0.1% of the population stops working, or the fact that Rand included *herself* among the indispensable geniuses who stopped working and went to live in Galt's Gulch.

And my opinion of Goldberg has declined severely.
posted by orange swan at 8:36 PM on March 6, 2009


She's only famous because people don't know better.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:39 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Galt is a fucking moron. That's right, I said it.

To think that the world would collapse without the "genius" factor is ludicrous, especially in a time when genius can be crowdsourced. Ayn Rand would have hated Wikipedia. She would have hated Mefi. She would have hated blogspot. Fuck her.
posted by mark242 at 8:41 PM on March 6, 2009 [29 favorites]


If people think selfishness is what's going to save us now, we're all doomed. Btw, the vast majority of doctors, lawyers and other "knowledge workers" voted Obama knowing full well that he intended to raise taxes on the rich and thinking that it was about time.

People with college degrees and higher overwhelmingly voted Obama. People in New York, Boston, Silicon Valley and all the other places where such folks congregate: not many McCain voters to be found there.

If the bankers and corporate money manipulators want to quit or think that not allowing high bonuses will cause a brain drain-- let them. I'm sure there are plenty of people who need jobs who will be happy to take over.

I suggest they try volunteering to work construction, waitressing, nursing, becoming a home health aide or janitor while contemplating how much harder they had to work when they were rich.
posted by Maias at 8:44 PM on March 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


If people think selfishness is what's going to save us now, we're all doomed. Btw, the vast majority of doctors, lawyers and other "knowledge workers" voted Obama knowing full well that he intended to raise taxes on the rich and thinking that it was about time.

yes.
posted by docpops at 8:47 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't believe how fucking tone-deaf these assholes are.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:47 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, the threat of "Going Galt" has worked great for the recipients of the bailout monies.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:48 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also:

According to the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, sales of Atlas Shrugged hit an all-time high last year, and have “almost tripled” in the first seven weeks of 2009 against last year.

Traditionally, when times are hard people retreat into fantasy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:49 PM on March 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Galt urged them to go on strike and withdraw their expertise from an increasingly socialist world. Deprived of the genius of their genius, the world economy collapses.

A noble effort, but too late, I fear. If only they had had the foresight to go on strike a few years ago, our current troubles would doubtlessly have been averted!
posted by alexei at 8:50 PM on March 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Maybe I should have read the entire article, but it seemed like Whoopi was arguing less about whether she should have to pay taxes, and more about how they should be taken, with a bit more of an explanation. It seems pretty clear that, at the least, she's not dodging taxes like those "clever" folks on Wall Street (though maybe she should get a better accountant).

That said, I thought she had a decent point about how various taxes just get lumped on. It really pisses me off how my phone bill lists something like 5 different fees and taxes, that takes the plan from $69.95 all the way up to over $90. They charge $2 here and $5 there for FCC stuff that seems like it should just be a cost of doing business. If they're gonna pass it on to the consumer, they should at least include the price up-front.
posted by explosion at 8:57 PM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


This looks like more than a coincidence. This is now a very serious charge.

Garden variety political theater . . . OR TREASON?!?!?!
posted by grobstein at 8:58 PM on March 6, 2009


Galt urged them to go on strike and withdraw their expertise from an increasingly socialist world.

I could live in a world deprived of the genius of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Can we start with them?
posted by rokusan at 9:02 PM on March 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Some poor schmoe may be "overtaxed" when bloggers dig into that domain (thehopeforamerica.com) and turn its owner's life upside down. YAAC: Yet Another Anonymous Conservative who just KNOWS God is on his side! Supposedly a fellow in Wake Forest NC, but... using a secret identity to host religious-based political commentary? Bad move, papa -- ya might as well paint a target on your ass! lolz

The domain is hosted and managed in UK -- how American! Hmmm... also sounds suspiciously like a stunt Limbaugh's promotional agent would pull, trying to build traffic for Rush's latest drug-addled fantasies... it's sooo tempting to start digging...
posted by unblinking at 9:04 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Who exactly is thinking about Going Galt? Lisa Schifferen at The Corner has the rundown:

This little snippet of Schifferen's post is one of the dumbest things I've read on the internet in a long, long time:

> So, what happens when the heart surgeons, dentists, litigators, and people who employ 10 or 20 other people in their mid-size businesses decide that they don’t want to pay for the excessive, pointless spending that the president finds so compelling? Instapundit speculates on people “going John Galt.” I think golf — a time-intensive sport that the hard-working have eschewed for the past decade or two because it took too long — will make a comeback.

Yeah, over the past decade or two "doctors, lawyers, engineers, executives, serious small-business owners, top salespeople, and other professionals and entrepreneurs" have positively abandoned golf courses, which have been filled with bank tellers, janitors, short order cooks, Wal-Mart greeters, waitresses and security guards.

Meanwhile, in the real world, golf courses are fucked.

I mean...she's saying doctors and lawyers and salespeople don't golf? Really?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:05 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


genius can be crowdsourced

Uh, what?
posted by xmutex at 9:08 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I heard Whoopie recently say Sean Hannity was her friend. To me, she didn't give nearly enough when arguing with Hasselbeck about McCain/Palin. Joy Behar rocks! She says the things I like to hear. They're all completely dizzy, except for Joy and Barbara (and Barbara's just working -no- babysitting). Rachel Maddow, Oprah Winfrey, Gwen Ifill: television worth watching. If I hear about something on The View, I'll YouTube it. Whoopie's gone the way of the Miller.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:09 PM on March 6, 2009


This from Newsweek pretty much sums up the idiocy of these people:

My personal favorite was a piece from ABCNews.com, which had to be rewritten and reposted because the original was so poorly done. (The revised version isn't much better.) It quotes a dentist who is contemplating reducing "her income from her current $320,000 to under $250,000 by having her dental hygienist work fewer days and by treating fewer patients. [That way, she] would avoid paying higher taxes on the $70,000 that would be subject to increased taxation if Obama's proposal is signed into law."...

Finally, there has been a near total absence of discussion of what higher rates will mean in the real world. Say you're a CNBC anchor, or a Washington Post columnist with a seat at the Council on Foreign Relations, or a dentist, and you managed to cobble together $350,000 a year in income. You're doing quite well. If you subtract deductions for state and property taxes, mortgage interest and charitable deductions, and other deductions, the amount on which tax rates are calculated might total $300,000. What would happen if the marginal rate on the portion of your income above $250,000 were to rise from 33 percent to 36 percent? Under the old regime, you'd pay $16,500 in federal taxes on that amount. Under the new one, you'd pay $18,000. The difference is $1,500 per year, or $4.10 per day. Obviously, the numbers rise as you make more. But is $4.10 a day bleeding the rich, a war on the wealthy, a killer of innovation and enterprise? That dentist eager to slash her income from $320,000 to $250,000 would avoid the pain of paying an extra $2,100 in federal taxes. But she'd also deprive herself of an additional $70,000 in income!

Can she, or we, really be that stupid?

posted by afu at 9:10 PM on March 6, 2009 [27 favorites]


She says the things I like to hear.

I too love it when I hear my own opinion echoed back at me from television personalities. There's just no time in the day to hear someone who disagrees with you.
posted by xmutex at 9:11 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Can she, or we, really be that stupid?

a) YES WE CAN!
b) Americans can do anything!
posted by you just lost the game at 9:14 PM on March 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Another (pseudo)celebrity whose last big cultural moment was winning an Oscar for "Ghost" complaining about her lot in life. Let me get out the violin.
posted by blucevalo at 9:14 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


This little snippet of Schifferen's post is one of the dumbest things I've read on the internet in a long, long time:

You must not read The Corner very regularly. They serve up some of the stupidest stuff on the internet on a daily basis.
posted by octothorpe at 9:15 PM on March 6, 2009


I too love it when I hear my own opinion echoed back at me from television personalities. There's just no time in the day to hear someone who disagrees with you.

Yea, I should listen to someone I don't agree with, like Hasselbeck. She's full of well-thought-out arguments for conservatives. She's a deep well of..something.
posted by Flex1970 at 9:26 PM on March 6, 2009


OK, stupid me, I did not in fact check the dates on the links, which led me to believe that Whoopi Goldberg was talking in March 2009 and not May 2008. Live and learn.
posted by blucevalo at 9:28 PM on March 6, 2009


"no taxation without representation"

what
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:29 PM on March 6, 2009


Yeah, Whoopi Goldberg is an idiot. But she once starred in a buddy cop movie with a Tyrannosaurus rex, which makes up for a lot (in theory, if not in practice).
posted by brundlefly at 9:30 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Got Gelt? Go Galt!
1 800 POOR TAX
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:34 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


When Whoopie Goldberg goes back in time and DOESN'T make Eddie, that's when I will listen to anything she has to say.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:38 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Noo! Guinan, what's become of you?
posted by agress at 9:39 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


You shouldn't think of Galt without BTAF's take
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:42 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not just any old tyrannosaurus rex, either.

It was a tyrannosaurus rex from the future.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:51 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The top tax bracket does NOT apply to ALL income earned, only to the income above a certain level. Below that designated level, the income anyone earns, even billionaires, is taxed at the lower rate

If you're a billionaire, the fact that your first $164k of income is taxed at an aggregate of 24% doesn't really make up for the fact that the rest of it is taxed at 33% and 35%. And if you have $1M of income, the aggregate rate is 33%, almost up to the top marginal rate.
posted by smackfu at 10:04 PM on March 6, 2009


Under Reagan's first term, that bracket paid 50%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. During the Great Depression, it was 80%, and it went up to 90% during World War II.

I wonder if there have been studies on how raising the tax rate would lower the tax income? It seems intuitive.
posted by smackfu at 10:09 PM on March 6, 2009


It really pisses me off how my phone bill lists something like 5 different fees and taxes

Almost all of which are made up out of whole cloth by the Phone Company and almost none of which are actual taxes levied by any Federal, State, or Local government.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:14 PM on March 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let them go Galt. They ARE replaceable.
posted by markkraft at 10:17 PM on March 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Galt urged them to go on strike and withdraw their expertise from an increasingly socialist world

Indeed, wealthier communities are over-represented in the 'voted overwhelming for Obama' category.


And if you have $1M of income, the aggregate rate is 33%, almost up to the top marginal rate.

A-yup. But that's the only way to maintain a sustainable Very Large society and Very Large economy simultaneously. Things fall apart otherwise, as we are clearly seeing. The infrastructure is in ruins, because taxes were cut. Etc.

Look to the countries that are doing things right, and emulate them, and improve upon their methods. What's the aggregate rate in countries where people are healthy, well-educated, productive, and happy?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 PM on March 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you're a billionaire, the fact that your first $164k of income is taxed at an aggregate of 24% doesn't really make up for the fact that the rest of it is taxed at 33% and 35%.

I can't agree. Being taxed at a rate that's 8-10% higher than that of someone with an income near the median doesn't seem like a horrible tradeoff for making an amount that's an order or more of magnitude larger than said median.

Not to mention that if you're a billionaire, chances are a good chunk of your income comes from capital gains, which are taxed at something like 15% right now, putting you in a tax bracket at or below nearly everybody except those making less than $8000 per year. And you don't pay any social security taxes past the first 100k or so. Seems a little regressive, doesn't it?
posted by weston at 10:28 PM on March 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


Whoopie's right! We should go back to America's golden age, the 1840s, when Libertarianism ruled, free enterprise reigned, and slavery-- oh shi---
posted by dirigibleman at 10:31 PM on March 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


From tHfA, above:
Political parties aside, I am an American. I love this country. And I would like to see this country continue to set the standard for liberty throughout the entire world. Unforunately, I don't see us headed in that direction. Instead, I see us adopting socialist ideology from European states as a solution to complex social and financial problems. I see an expansion of the welfare state, much higher taxes, and an unnecessary debt for our children to bear. And that's just 2009.
Socialist ideology from European stats that — aha! — seem to actually work, sometimes with great success, sometimes with obvious flaws.

Why on earth wouldn't an enterprising Republican emulate those acclaimed Confederation Fathers and steal the best European ideas for the nation? Learn from the mistakes of others, steal great ideas, and do it better. That's what America is supposed to be about.

I do not see why a Good Republican can't promote government provision of public opportunity: the basics of health care, education appropriate to modern times, and access to affordable housing. Provision of post-graduation education opportunites, counting toward substantial tax credits, to encourage job skills upgrading and/or specialization. A real kick in the pants for the economy.

It's fiscally conservative in that it recognizes the required costs of maintaining a great society, but takes extra effort to make sure that money goes to the things that help more people make more money. The more more-productive people, the fiscally-better-off the country.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:40 PM on March 6, 2009


It staggers me that the banks have used the argument that salary caps would cause them to lose top CEO talent. Uh, would that would be the top CEO talent that created this nation-sized bag of flaming excrement? The question isn't "why would this be bad?" it's "why wouldn't this be cause for rejoicing in the streets?"

Mere incompetence would be a vast improvement over active plunder. You can only lose so many billions by accident; it's nothing to what genuine venality can do when it really applies itself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:52 PM on March 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


And if you have $1M of income, the aggregate rate is 33%, almost up to the top marginal rate.

Good. We need more redistribution, because without it the rich get richer via parasitical rentierism.

Speaking with my usual Georgist hat on, in a perfect world we would increase the tax burden on rents -- from land, natural resources, spectrum and reduce if not eliminate the burden on capital and wage income.

But we don't live in a perfect world, all we have is the 16th Amendment that came from a less dysfunctional period of our history -- little known fact that the first income tax was essentially a Georgist tax on rents given the brackets -- the income tax kicked in at 1% @ $3000 ($60,000) to 6% surtax @ $500,000 ($10,000,000).
posted by troy at 10:55 PM on March 6, 2009


"Some of these clips are from April/May 2008, before Obama was the Democratic nominee, let alone the president. At the time, Whoopi seemed to be saying that her taxes were going to go up regardless of who became president, McCain or Obama. She wasn't specifically reacting to Obama's current progressive tax proposals. Check the dates on the links, people."

It doesn't matter very much. Hearing rich people whine about taxes is just about the lamest thing ever. Yeah, your taxes went up. 2 years from now, barely. The tax cuts we got came with a price. We can't pay for the stuff we got.

And it's true, the "taxes" on phone bills mostly aren't taxes and sometimes are just made up. But as far as real taxes, the telecoms got huge breaks in their taxes to roll out broadband, and they never spent the money they agreed to spend. We still got stuck with the bill.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:59 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Has anyone done a post yet about how that "spontaneous" "tea party" shit was all planned weeks in advance by right-wing billionaires?

And there were. like, a whole 20 people who showed up. Some of whom wore poop hats.

This is what a failed 18th century ideology has descended to. Poop hats.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:16 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Atlas Shrugged was a commentary about communism, and it falls apart as a critique of simply increasing taxes. In the novel, the "leechers" abuse the nation's best and brightest in a groupthink notion of collective need, destroying any incentive to work except a decent man's desire to make things better around him. John Galt is a personification of the idea that sometimes the best way to make change is to let the damage run its course, then rebuild from its ashes.

But that is not the same as taxing people making over $250k fractionally more to support the innovation, infrastructure, and environment that is necessary for good growth, but not in the immediate interests of a yearly/quarterly-profit driven market. I also like this bit from the last article:

> The point is that you are not John Galt. The point is that you are, at your best, Eddie Willers. You’re smart, hardworking, productive, and true. But you’re no creative genius and you take innovation — John Galt — for granted.
posted by Galt at 11:20 PM on March 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


wtf
posted by dydecker at 11:28 PM on March 6, 2009


Once you go Galt...

uh...

you admit it's your fault?
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:30 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


She's an actress. She's good at pretending to be other people and saying what other people tell her to say. That's all. Why would anyone pay attention to her statements on economics?
posted by pracowity at 12:13 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know, I've always wondered, and my Rand-loving friends never care to answer...

Who cleans the septic tanks in Galt's gulch? Which of the billionaires, geniuses and captains of industry goes around in the garbage truck each week? Or is there a rota? Does the brillient young composer pick oranges for minimum wage when he's not busy writing music?
posted by ubernostrum at 12:35 AM on March 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let 'em take a walk. More jobs for everyone else.
This all seems predicated on the idea that we're a pure meritocracy. We're not. I mean - Whoopi Goldberg? She's a talented individual. Ok. But she's a performer.
So's Dolph Lundgren. He turned down a Fulbright scholarship to MIT. Obviously even a middlin celebrity like Lundgren can make way more than he could as a chemical engineer.
So some people go for themselves instead.
I understand the urge to spit on one's hands, hoist the black flag and cut some throats. Or even split from the program. Take your 'genius' and go home.
But genius must produce. It's not a matter of reward. The reward is in the knowing and the doing itself. Einstein wasn't thinking "man if I come up with how energy relates to matter I'll make some big bucks" he just dug the ideas and wanted to hang out with people who were into that too and come up with interesting stuff. That's the incentive.
As it is - we pay people to dig ditches and clean septic tanks because there's no reward otherwise inherent in that work.
Someone who has a chip on their shoulder about contributing to society - well no duh they don't want to pay back into the system that's given them so much in the first place. Hell, they're ready to drop tools and walk the moment it's not all about them.
"But I am sick and tired of being taxed because I’ve done well for myself....Should you, because you make a dollar more than so and so be taxed differently?"

Uh, done well for - yourself? So you just created theater? Built the road from your house to the studio? So, should I, because I make a dollar less than so and so get less interest on my money? Kills me that someone in entertainment is saying this. Not that it's not hard work or earned, but it's a luxury. And one a hell of a lot of people can't afford.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:25 AM on March 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Whoopi Goldberg — Salary: $7,000,000 for Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)

And apparently her salary for The View is 2,000,000 a year. Not because she's smarter, or better, or more talented, or works harder than anybody else, but because she got some lucky breaks.

Meanwhile, I've just seen people with fucking doctorates and expertise you can only dream of laid off. I know people with masters degrees and JDs who cannot find a job anywhere. There are brilliant, brilliant, people who work their asses off whose jobs have been outsourced, who have been laid off, or who are taking whatever they can get to get by. I also know people who are geniuses who make very little money because they decided that helping people was more important than making a lot of money or getting your face on the cover of a magazine or starring in a shitty movie. People are losing their jobs, their livelihoods, their homes,their health, abandoning their pets, because they can't find a job. Because some people who are "smarter" than everyone else watched The Producers, and thought "Hey, that looks awesome! I wonder if we can do that with insurance?" and thought it would work forever.

Wow. Eighty-five different kinds of fuck you, Whoopi Goldberg, you venal, selfish hack, if you think you're being overtaxed. There isn't a microscope in the whole world powerful enough for you to see the size of the violin I am playing for you.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:27 AM on March 7, 2009 [33 favorites]


I do not see why a Good Republican can't promote government provision of public opportunity:

Because then they'd be socialists, apparently.


*facepalm* *headdesk* *fistdrywallholeSHIT*
posted by louche mustachio at 1:37 AM on March 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I do not see why a Good Republican can't promote government provision of public opportunity

Truman, and later Eisenhower, appointed Hoover himself to review the postwar New Deal state.

This was before the Republican party was taken over by the Birchers, Millenialists, Segregationists, and assorted mirror-world Bolsheviks who promptly ran roughshod over the "Rockefeller Republican" faction of their party.
posted by troy at 1:50 AM on March 7, 2009


I'd like to see those poopy heads wearing some *real* poop hats. I'd be happy to chip in with some poop for them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:14 AM on March 7, 2009


If you're a billionaire, the fact that your first $164k of income is taxed at an aggregate of 24% doesn't really make up for the fact that the rest of it is taxed at 33% and 35%.

If you're a billionaire, you should spend a good portion of your day saying ecstatic prayers of thanksgiving that you live in a country where enough taxes are taken from you and enough social services are paid out to keep the knives of the poor away from your throat.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:20 AM on March 7, 2009 [46 favorites]


"Can she, or we, really be that stupid?"

Oh ya. I'd put a rough estimate of 50% of the people I offer overtime hours to refusing because they "don't want to get into a higher tax bracket" or because "the goverment will just take it all in taxes". We're talking a 50% raise for the exact same work; I'd kill a kitten1 to get a raise like that.

Of course it maybe just an easy excuse for refusing the work for other reasons.

[1] Not really, but I'd give a kitten a really harsh look. [NOT KITTENIST]
posted by Mitheral at 2:24 AM on March 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


but takes extra effort to make sure that money goes to the things that help more people make more money. The more more-productive people, the fiscally-better-off the country.

This echoes what I believe the "mission statement" of government should be -- to guarantee access to that which is necessary to become and remain a productive member of society.

This trivially breaks out into socialized education, medical services, and community transportation. [n.b.: I'm a left-libertarian so generally I'd be happy to say after that you're on your own.]
posted by troy at 2:26 AM on March 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


to keep the knives of the poor away from your throat

unfortunately, this is not the moral highground, and politicians win by motivating people to identify their cause with the moral highground -- cf. the successful rollback of gay rights in California late last year.
posted by troy at 2:28 AM on March 7, 2009


And my opinion of Goldberg has declined severely.

Now now. I hear she was great in that movie where she plays a cop whose partner is a talking dinosaur.

As for them "going Galt," well, they're certainly flattering themselves. I think they'll be in for a rude awakening when they find out that their success comes more from luck and knock-on benefits of being rich more than any intelligence on their part.

In fact, I've noticed that most rich people aren't really very bright, and those that are know better than to take Ayn Rand seriously. With the Galt wannabes out of the picture, it'll be more opportunities for the more sensible folks.
posted by JHarris at 2:55 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


This looks like more than a coincidence. This is now a very serious charge.

It also looks, somewhat creepily, like the plot for an as-yet-unwritten James Ellroy novel.
posted by permafrost at 3:29 AM on March 7, 2009


Oh ya. I'd put a rough estimate of 50% of the people I offer overtime hours to refusing because they "don't want to get into a higher tax bracket" or because "the goverment will just take it all in taxes". We're talking a 50% raise for the exact same work; I'd kill a kitten1 to get a raise like that.

Why the hell do people do that?!?! Seriously. I work an hourly wage job. I take all the OT I can get. I've heard a few people bitch about extra taxes, but those are people that don't get why they're taxed at all and think the government is robbing them. I usually have them tuned out.
posted by Talanvor at 3:58 AM on March 7, 2009


Wow. Talk about misrepresenting what Whoopi said. She said she didn't mind paying higher federal income tax. Does that sound like "John Galt"? What she said, was she didn't like the idea of being hit on endlessly with tax on everything.

I don't have any idea, nor is it really my business, how much Whoopi makes. Some how, I don't think she pulls in that much, these days. When did she last do anything significant? And that's not to dis Whoopi! I'm rather fond of her. It is more to say, "Hey, Whoopi, get off your ass and do something entertaining". Ha, then she can make some more money, and pay some more taxes, and help this sorry nation out of the hole it's in.
posted by Goofyy at 4:12 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Going Galt? What a ridiculous charge. Raise taxes back to 90% or so and perhaps, but what really happens is that energy that could have gone to productive use just gets funneled into finding tax shelters.

However, Obama should not be raising taxes on anyone at this time. We are in a recession that looks increasingly like it might become a depression and he wants to raise taxes? That is just stupid. It is not just a tax on the wealthy, but primarily on the upper middle class. The wealthy have all manner of tax shelters available to lower their effective tax rate that are simply not available to those of lesser means. Moreover, it is the upper middle class who spend big in our economy. There has been a lot of talk about the multiplier effect of various ways of injecting a dollar into the economy. Well, taking one out from such profligate spenders has an effect much more than that single dollar.

There is a very real political danger here too, one too often ignored by politicians. An effective tax system has most citizens in the system, has them pay according to their means, and has them feel comfortable with both the overall fairness and how they are treated. Some right wingers keep putting forward proposals which would drop earners of say less than $50K from the system. Not good. If and when they come back into the system they will often be resentful, despite their otherwise economic good fortune, and be more likely to become anti-tax allies for this group. Keep them in the system, but keep their tax burden low as they can't afford much, especially those at say sub $30K or those supporting a family. At the other end the general method used to stealthily increase tax on the upper middle class is to phase out deductions etc. at higher income levels. This tends to create a bubble in which the upper middle class pay even higher rates than those of greater wealth. Tax cuts are touted as part of the tax bill but they don't qualify. This all builds resentment. Many of these people were supporters of Obama knowing full well what they faced. However, the manner in which it is done is a bit of a slap in the face. Tax stimulus rebate, except for you. Still paying your student loans, sorry no tax break for you. Rather than create artificial indexing through eliminating access to deductions, grow a pair and index the rates. That would also push a bit more of the burden up the chain.
posted by caddis at 4:41 AM on March 7, 2009


If higher taxes dissuade this genius from making Sister Act 3: Operation… Bad Habit then Obama has done his job.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:42 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can anyone really argue that people in the highest tax brackets are more important to society than those in the lower ones? I'd much rather live in a country without over-paid actors, athletes and bankers than one without sanitation workers, teachers and house painters. How many billionaires actually do anything useful?
posted by octothorpe at 5:07 AM on March 7, 2009


If I recall correctly, Whoopi grew up in the Chelsea Houses project in Lower Manhattan. What does she think paid for that? There's plenty of legitamite crtiticisms of the public housing system but...they don't fall from the sky lady.
posted by jonmc at 5:47 AM on March 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


*Goes Wesley Mouch*
posted by lukemeister at 6:28 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, what happens when the heart surgeons, dentists, litigators, and people who employ 10 or 20 other people in their mid-size businesses decide that they don’t want to pay for the excessive, pointless spending that the president finds so compelling?

They bitterly regret voting for Dubya and vote for Obama.
posted by orange swan at 6:41 AM on March 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Her complaint about the death tax is idiotic. Of course the money gets taxed twice, It gets taxed for every transfer between two people! Two people, two tax events!

If money is transferred between ten people in ten transactions, it will be taxed ten times. But each person in that chain would be part of two transactions and see it taxed twice.

When you get paid, you get taxed, and when you spend your money the store gets taxed.

And anyway the "death tax" is actually a tax on the people who receive the money, not on you.
posted by delmoi at 8:16 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the rich & powerful are not truly afraid of the poor, they are merely uncomfortable around them.
posted by Mick at 8:35 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's call whine-one-one, she needs a wahmbulance to take her to the wahspital.
posted by kldickson at 8:58 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


And there were. like, a whole 20 people who showed up. Some of whom wore poop hats.

That's all kinds of crazy there. Incredible. I love the guy with the half-assed "GOLD IS MONEY" sign. The revolution will come from an anti-abortion, evolution denying, ex-doctor and his merry men of "GOLD IS MONEY" sign holders! Anytime now.

WHOOPI: I don't mind paying them. I resent this idea that everything I do now is taxed. And I get no bang for my buck.

Funny, how Europeans seem to get bang for their buck in their system. They pay more and get more. Perhaps Whoopi should consider that her taxes, by world-wide standards, are extremely low and she's not getting anything back because she's barely putting anything in.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:14 AM on March 7, 2009


Does anyone have that condensed version of Atlas Shrugged that somebody posted in the comments awhile ago? Not the McSweeney's version re: the financial crisis.
posted by tehloki at 9:16 AM on March 7, 2009


Whoopi: I can't imagine what somebody who's just living, literally, paycheck to paycheck is going through.

The idea here is that you (rich) pay more so they (poor) pay less. Suck it up.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:17 AM on March 7, 2009


tehloki,

Well. there's this.
posted by lukemeister at 9:31 AM on March 7, 2009


Can anyone really argue that people in the highest tax brackets are more important to society than those in the lower ones?

Good point. In a demand economy like ours, taking money from the poor at any stage undermines spending on a wide range of basic goods and services. Ayn Rand is her own worst enemy here. To justify any income tax, people must be tax free all the way to their success, and if and when they do succeed, they then pay it back on a fair basis where everyone pays the same percentage on the same dollar earned (or, progressively). Of course, this would offend those who believe that wealth is created by cosmic law, either in a god-given vacuum, or by some fate where natural genius always ends up in charge. Both are childishly stupid beliefs given the evidence, which brings us to her childhood. I'm thinking that Ayn Rand never got over her obsession with strong leaders. They were both her saints and devils and she spent her entire life reconciling the two. This internal contradiction goes a long way in selling her beliefs to people with lifelong abusive authority issues.
posted by Brian B. at 9:44 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I suppose that before raising taxes on the highest incomes, it'd be smart to plug the tax loopholes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:49 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear weirdly Christian John Galts,

Don't let the door hit your asses on the way out.

PS: I hear Ragnar Danneskjöld has been active off the coast of Somalia -- you guys should totally go there!
posted by bjorkbjorkbjork! at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


(not specifically directed at Whoopi, who is atheist, heh)
posted by bjorkbjorkbjork! at 10:11 AM on March 7, 2009


I feel the government should use taxes to equalize that which most needs equalization, namely corporations. I'd propose eliminating most individual income tax in favor or a hybrid sales tax and corporate income tax. So corporations would pay tax based upon a base rate plus a logarithmic function of their income. Individuals would also pay income tax at the corporate rate but only after say the first couple million per year.

Why? Well, monopolies are quite simply more dangerous than rich people. You know, mergers usually harm customers, employees, and even stock holders, while benefiting only executives. A logarithmic corporate income tax would mean that two things : huge companies will always pay more taxes after they merge, and a big company buying a small company will massively increase the small companies tax costs. We'd obviously still have inheritance tax reducing the money passed on to kids of rich people.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:16 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


However, Obama should not be raising taxes on anyone at this time. We are in a recession that looks increasingly like it might become a depression and he wants to raise taxes?

in 2010. He just proposed a trillion-dollar deficit for 2010 so I think it's good management to show the bond market that we're not going Weimar or Zimbabwe here.

And I reject your assertion that taxation takes money out of the economy. The way I see it, every bond that is sold is a tax that should have been paid.

The problem is that there's $15T of M3 out there now (compared to $5T in 1996) and it's hard for the USGOV to tax money that has escaped our borders.
posted by troy at 10:16 AM on March 7, 2009


Why don't we immediately end Bush's temporary elimination of inheritance tax? And plug other tax loopholes like fff proposes.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:25 AM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


To all who would "Go Galt", I say do it. Drop out of society and play golf. Better yet, go on a round-the-world golf tour. Tune in, turn on, and drop out. Take yourselves out of the equation. Make it happen, Randroids! Show us all your iron wills! I dare you.

It's already happening to some degree. I know several physicians who have announced retirement earlier than they had intended stating that they are tired of increasing bureaucracy and diminishing reimbursement. You can debate whether or not their objections are valid but the fact is they perceive it as such and some are acting on it.
posted by tenmuses at 10:43 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good lord, where's a ball gag when you need one?
posted by IvoShandor at 10:48 AM on March 7, 2009


Yes, Whoopi, let's go back to the good old days. At most, the top tax rate will go up approximately 5% and this makes you decide to take your ball and go home? Fine, under the capitalist theory you apparently subscribe to, someone else will emerge to do your job for the same or lower price once you're gone (even comedians - there's always someone new on the scene who's working hard trying to break through and probably wouldn't think too long about whether to accept your annual income even if he/she had to pay 5% more tax).

Right now the top marginal rate is 35%, and under Clinton it was 39.6%. It likely will go back to that level this year. If it helps put it in perspective, in the 40’s and 50’s, the top marginal rate was 90%.
posted by webhund at 11:11 AM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can debate whether or not their objections are valid but the fact is they perceive it as such and some are acting on it.

Doctors are an interesting case. I'm torn between the a) supermen-earning-their-pay and b) rent-seeking artificial-scarcity-creating guildmember-fuckheads judgments.

Since saving a life and fixing people's health problems are obviously economically valuable -- how much is a functioning knee really worth to you compared to a new TV? -- an immense amount of rent-seeking is going on in this sector.

Health care delivery doesn't need to have the high costs or high margins it has now. Medical school is expensive because doctoring is so remunerative, and doctoring is partially so remunerative because medical school is so expensive. Malpractice/litigation costs are also a significant factor I guess, but then there's the insurance-processing superstructure, halving the overall efficiency of the system.

Preventative care is not capital intensive and has low marginal cost; we need to train more doctors and health care professionals, reduce the exposure to litigation, and move to single-payer insurance, and socialize the entire system like police, education, and defense, and raise taxes -- on everyone, mandates are the way to go here -- to pay for it all.

It's that important.
posted by troy at 11:35 AM on March 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I reject your assertion that taxation takes money out of the economy. The way I see it, every bond that is sold is a tax that should have been paid.

If all that tax dollar does is go to lower the deficit then it is taken out of circulation. If the government spends it or if a taxpayer spends it, then it stays in circulation, that is the important part of the money supply in terms of economy stimulation, not m3. (I do like the idea of the government spending it more than the taxpayer getting it because the likelihood of the taxpayer spending it is less than 1, especially now.)

It's already happening to some degree. I know several physicians who have announced retirement earlier than they had intended stating that they are tired of increasing bureaucracy and diminishing reimbursement. You can debate whether or not their objections are valid but the fact is they perceive it as such and some are acting on it.

This has little to do with the tax code though. It's the payors who are beating them up. Any doctor not charging by the procedure is feeling the pinch and these weren't the guys making the really high salaries to begin with. Any meaningful health care reform is going to need to address this disparity.
posted by caddis at 1:14 PM on March 7, 2009


And what's the matter with taking money out of circulation? It increases the value of the money that's left. That seems like a good thing. And if it was taken out of circulation by, say, paying to repair a person's health so they can go back to work, it seems like a fine way to take it out of circulation: it'll come back ten-fold in worker productivity. Or invested into infrastructure, which is what enables the country to have productivity in the first place.

As for taxation, wealth should be an S-curve, not an L-curve. There needs to be diminishing differences on either end of the scale, but marked differences in the middle. On the left, there's a limit as to how far you can fall: it's the safety net that gives you the opportunity to turn things around. In the middle, there's huge incentive to improve oneself, because the gains go up quickly: an extra 20% effort could make an 80% leap up the scale. And on the right, there's recognition that at some point mere money numbers are no longer valuable incentive: power and influence and such are more important.

As for corporations, they become problematic in much the same way as unions: they become too big, too powerful, and too oligo/monopolistic to be healthy for our society.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:34 PM on March 7, 2009


Maybe the Federal/State government balance needs to be organized such that States with >10M people are far, far less restricted/behold to the Feds than States with <10M. When you've got 10M people, you've got the population of a decent-sized country; you can probably go it alone in this world.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:37 PM on March 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


And what's the matter with taking money out of circulation? It increases the value of the money that's left. That seems like a good thing.

Right up until you want to sell something to someone that's using a different currency of a lower value. Then it sucks, because they're unable to buy very many of your widgets. Hopefully you didn't produce tons of widgets that need to be stored. At a cost. To you. That you have to pay for. At outrageous prices. Because the money supply in your country? It's tight.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:44 PM on March 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You mean all the managers are going to take off? Good, maybe I'll finally be able to get something done.
posted by organic at 3:18 PM on March 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


organic wins!
posted by jeffburdges at 5:26 PM on March 7, 2009


Michelle Malkin, Whoopi Goldberg, and Ayn Rand walk into a bar.

After lining up three pints, the bartender nods at a discarded newspaper. "So, how about those taxes?"

Malkin leaps up: "I can't stand it anymore! I'm going to quit blogging and start flipping burgers. Then they won't get to leech off of me. That'll show 'em!" She runs out of the bar, screaming "Galt! Galt! Galt!"

Whoopi, at first bemused by the outburst, considers it further. "Y'know, that skinny freak is right. I'm going to quit show biz and start driving a cab. That'll show 'em!" She saunters out of the bar, chanting "Galt! Galt! Galt!"

Rand sighs and sips her beer. "Finally, that damned book has done some good."
posted by CKmtl at 5:29 PM on March 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


And what's the matter with taking money out of circulation? It increases the value of the money that's left. That seems like a good thing.

Deflationary Spiral, Liquidity Trap, and let's throw in Paradox of Thrift (lol libertarians) for good measure.
posted by delmoi at 12:44 AM on March 8, 2009


And what's the matter with taking money out of circulation? It increases the value of the money that's left. That seems like a good thing. And if it was taken out of circulation by, say, paying to repair a person's health so they can go back to work, it seems like a fine way to take it out of circulation: it'll come back ten-fold in worker productivity.

Also, paying someone's medical bills wouldn't actually take money out of circulation, the doctors would have it, and spend it on things (i.e. circulate it). In order for money to be out of circulation it needs to be stuffed under a mattress or in a bank that's not doing much lending, or securitized commodities like gold certificates.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 AM on March 8, 2009


I was thinking more that dollars paid for an operation probably go more to the insurance company than the doctor. But even then, I suppose it's not actually out of circulation: insurance companies invest their monies.

A country can clearly have too limited a cash supply, but at the same time it can print way too much money. One of the jobs of the federal bank is to regulate the amount of money that's in the system, isn't it? Ie) to create and destroy cash?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:06 PM on March 8, 2009


According to the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, sales of Atlas Shrugged hit an all-time high last year, and have “almost tripled” in the first seven weeks of 2009 against last year.

That's only because it was on Mad Men.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:53 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


"If it helps put it in perspective, in the 40’s and 50’s, the top marginal rate was 90%."

And the middle class was doing so poorly back then. If I remember correctly, you could have one person working and have a car, a home, etc. Perhaps not to the standards of today, but I think equalizing for technological advances, etc. Folks were living pretty well then, up to the 60s and maybe early 70s when it seemed to tank. That's just off the thumb of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:27 PM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


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