Assume a Rat: When Individualism Smells like Corporate Welfare

This is a great chart. Important too. Why?

There’s an increasingly persistent meme being used to justify another round of massive tax cuts for the super-rich — like those contained in the Ryan Budget plan recently passed by the House.  The meme is this:  The wealthy are the true “producers.” They’re “job creators” who will take any additional tax windfall and, presto… new manufacturing plants will spring up over night.

There’s also a “moral” component embedded in this meme. The reframe goes like this. For us to expect billionaires and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes is really about “unjustly punishing” them for their “success.” It’s tantamount to theft.

What we have here is a perfect reflection of the moral universe conceived by Ayn Rand. And now an attempt is being made to enshrine her philosophy of radical individualism as official policy via the plan of Congressman Paul Ryan — a committed Randian.

This is Calvinism on steroids — but absent God (Rand was a militant atheist). Material success and wealth is a sign that you are one of the Elect, and thus favored by God Ayn. The poor, the weak, the sick? God Life is punishing them for their moral defects.

Continue reading

Verde Interesting: Pearced Earmarks and Medicare Cuts

Today Politico came out with an interesting story on the controversy roiling around NM Congressman Steve Pearce’s failed attempt earlier this month to obtain an earmark that would have benefited some Texas-based land developers who happen to be his campaign contributors. Earmarks are supposed to be verboten under the new House rules. However, Pearce contended it wasn’t an earmark. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, along with a majority of the House, disagreed.

In other news:

Last week Pearce voted in favor of a budget plan that, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would result in major reductions in Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

In the case of Medicare, the plan ultimately would shift increased costs to seniors, who would see their premiums go up, leaving them on their own to negotiate with health insurance companies.  And as for Medicaid, the states would end up on the hook, and be unlikely to cover, the big federal cuts.

It’s important to note that the Pearce-backed Medicare and Medicaid reductions will be needed to help pay for more tax benefits for the rich. The plan calls for making the Bush tax cuts permanent, and then reducing the rate for the top tax bracket even further.

So, if this budget plan ever does become law, perhaps the folks at Verde Realty will come out okay in the end.