There goes N. Paradise again, spoiling people’s political agendas with his pesky facts. Your steely facts and numbers, Captain Nemo, have no power to contradict the relatively few that I mentioned, nor do they counter my point regarding people’s perceptions of fairness. But allow me to expand. (Clarify? Specify? Compress? Spew? Blather? Exfoliate?)
It simply doesn’t seem fair that “making money with money” gets “the rich” taxed only 15%, when working folks see a lot more than that coming out of their paychecks. Which they do. What feels so painful to the typical worker is the sum total of federal income tax, social security, and state and local taxes, which can come to somewhere around 25% of gross pay – and that’s before deductions for health coverage, 401K, and incomprehensibles, which bring the hit up to 35% or more. The pain is increased because the 401K, which in better times conveys a sense that one is investing wisely in one’s own retirement, has dropped in value, all because of rich Wall Streeters’ conniving and foolishness.
That’s the chunk of change that rings in people’s heads when Warren or Barack claim the rich aren’t paying their “fair share.” That’s the chunk that seems to outweigh the 15% tax on long-term capital gains (a rate Congress may very well extend, by the way, so many Congresscritters being so wealthy).
So it’s a psychological battle, being waged (because ’tis the season) on the battlefield of politics. Obama fans the flames of resentment against the people who “make money with money” – who, lo and behold, are the very same Wall Streeters who got us into the economic mess we’re in, with so many “regular folks” losing their homes and so many others their jobs.
The perception of enormous unfairness is, hence, fully understandable.