Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Greedy Needy or the Needy Greedy?

We’re seeing a lot of Thomas Sowell’s “Whine of the Wealthy” thrown in our faces,  “I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.”

Who has made these claims? No one was quoted or cited supporting these assertions. It’s a straw man, of course, a favorite fantasy adversary of the far Right. That fact doesn’t matter, does it? It is framed to appeal to emotion, rather than reason. Liberals want to take your hard-earned money and give it to the lazy undeserving poor.

Maybe Sowell and his parrots should first try to understand why they make such a statement.

Understanding is always secondary to slogans for the far Right. An understanding person would not display such open subservience, shilling for the tax-dodging elites, and their cold indifference to the non-wealthy.

This is up there with “Let them eat cake” in deliberate scorn for the poor people of the world. It is also open scorn for our Constitution’s mandate for taxes and providing for the general welfare.

Ok, “why it is greed to want to keep the money you have earned”.

First, only the arrogance of the rich can produce the whine about not “keeping their money”. Actually most Americans need to spend rather than keep the money they earn.

Scrooges hoarding their money is what we used to call miserly,  being unwilling to share with others, a lack of generosity. How is wanting a hundredfold, or thousandfold, the wealth you need for a comfortable living NOT greed? It rejects the very definition of the word.

Second, how are not having enough money to make ends meet, and needing food stamps to feed children, greed?

Instead of understanding these reasonable definitions of words, the Right pushes their preferred terms like “takers” and “parasites”, suggesting financial need is a moral failure instead of what it really is, the failure of capitalism itself. This moral failure is framed as theft, by wanting to “take somebody else's money”.

Both socialism and capitalism are known to “take somebody else's money”. The former does it for the public good and Constitutional general welfare. The latter does so for itself, even as far as to buy politicians and rig the economy and public policies to support their economic agenda. De-regulated Capitalism allows corporate power to regulate itself, and privatize profits while socializing losses. The rich dodge taxes and hide their wealth in places like Panama. How’s that for greed? Not yet? Not for our American aristocracy.

This growing dominance by economic power fueled the expansion of the corporatism that has been drawing us into neo-liberal inverted totalitarianism, described by Sheldon S. Wolin in his book, “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism”. Lust for political and economic power doesn’t count as greed, of course. Not for our American aristocracy.

Dare we call it greed when their “free speech” money corrupts public policy that cuts food stamps and benefits for the poor, while it leverages tax cuts, incentives, and numerous other “trickle up” benefits to the wealthy elites? Not for our American aristocracy.

Dare we call it greed when the coddled offspring of billionaires whine about paying an estate tax when the old miserly scrooge dies? Not for our American Aristocracy.

So it’s fine for the rich and the banks and corporate elites to “want to take somebody else's money”. But it is moral failure to want to feed the poor. Got it?


Jefferson's Guardian said...

Maybe this cartoon will help those less-than-enlightened -- from both parties -- to see that the whole system is corrupt and rigged in favor of those with the means. It has become very apparent, especially in recent years, yet most still go through their days with eyes wide shut.

Good post, Dave. There's nothing better than sarcasm to make a point.

Jerry Critter said...

When the top tax rate was in the vicinity of 90%, people found tax deductible things to do with the money which benefitted all of society so that they did not have to pay taxes on it. Now with the tax rate less than half that, they take the money, horde it, and complain about having to pay a fraction of the taxes they would if rates were what they were 40 years ago.

Fucking whiners, I call them. They never had it so good.