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Feb 27, 2014
[A typical rich person who still works won't personally spend a penny of the money he makes from today until he dies because he already has more than he can reasonably spend. How much more than 100% of his income should go to others? -- Scott]

That's a good question (albeit sarcastically posed, or so it seems to me); but I think a more sensible way to pose it is to ask whether the benefits to an individual from being able to accumulate unlimited amounts of untaxed capital wealth (more than he can reasonably spend, as you've said) also serve the public good sufficiently. To decide this (and ultimately it is a political decision), it is necessary to arrive at a reasonable resolution of the clash between a particular conception of individual property rights versus the notion of promoting the public good or the public welfare via the taxation of assets, which many (including me) would view as an aspect of social justice.

Currently, the proponents of unlimited property rights are generally having it their own way in the USA and the UK. The great beneficiaries are the super-rich and large corporations, who can afford not only to lobby for financial legislation that serves their particular interests by granting them all manner of tax breaks, but can also afford to pay armies of accountants, lawyers, political consultants and media professionals to enable them to manipulate public opinion into ill-informed or ignorant acquiescence and thereby frustrate any effective attempts to tax their great wealth.

I am not anti-capitalist, but I do believe that the societies of the USA and UK are very poorly served by the current skewed arrangements.

Contrary to the demagogic ranting of usmdj, this is not a "message of jealousy and hate". Rather, I am drawing attention to the fact that when we pander to the super-wealthy by inadequately taxing them and permit the distribution of wealth in our societies to remain obscenely skewed (a phenomenon that the countries of the West routinely criticize when it occurs in countries located in South America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, for instance), we are failing to invest in our nations' human capital and the development of our social and physical infrastructure.

We are then also colluding in the failure to apply standards of common decency and people's reasonable expectations of being given a fair chance to succeed without being burdened by the consequences of all manner of deprivation and poverty, simply because of institutionally-sanctioned or criminal mechanisms set up to feed a greed that principally benefits a tiny proportion of individuals who have managed to grab hold of the levers of economic and political power.

The wealthier one is, the easier it is to become even wealthier. Generally speaking, the wealthier people are, the blinder they become to the struggles and concerns of ordinary folk. (Of course there have been some notable exceptions, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who have used their great wealth to directly benefit millions.) Every so often, when the imbalance of wealth becomes too great for a society to sustain, a healthy democracy will seek ways to redistribute the excess more equitably without breaking out into a violent revolution.

We should not have to put up with an economic and political system that effectively cripples the ability of a huge swath of the population to live a decent life simply because huge corporations and the super-rich have succeeded in evading every attempt to tax them at a level that is more in proportion to their ability to pay.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 24, 2014
@Znargh

What you fail to realize is that it's their property. You are stealing it and giving it to others. Your leaders are doing so to get votes. The more they steal, the more votes they get. Your message of hate and jealousy work well with the ones on the receiving end.
 
 
-4 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 18, 2014
@Smartmuffin
@usmdj

It's always been in the short-term interest of the wealthy and powerful to silence their challengers and to pretend that their self-interest actually benefits everybody.

This is the impulse that I also sense underpins your postings. Which is fine, assuming you're not in a position to enforce your views. Given the political, economic and environmental crisis we're currently experiencing, the discussion of how and why power and wealth are currently distributed the way they are versus how they could be distributed better, is very necessary.

[A typical rich person who still works won't personally spend a penny of the money he makes from today until he dies because he already has more than he can reasonably spend. How much more than 100% of his income should go to others? -- Scott]
 
 
Feb 18, 2014
I don't see Democracy as an end in and of itself. I desire a just society. If a monarch creates a more just society than a Democracy, then sign me up. In many significant ways, civil liberties were far better protected in some monarchical societies than they are by modern democracies (especially if you count self-procalimed democracies such as North Korea).

I also don't recognize any "distribution" of wealth, because I've never noticed wealth being "distributed." Nobody ever distributed any to me at least. I imagine even if you "leveled the playing field" and successfully made everyone equal in assets starting today, it wouldn't take very long at all for some people to use those assets well and start earning large incomes (and therefore paying high taxes) and other people to use those assets poorly and lose them, earning nothing in return (and therefore consuming government benefits and paying no taxes).
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 18, 2014
@Znargh

And you don't realize what happens to democracies when they are taken over by demagogues like yourself and then the promises of bread and circuses start.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 18, 2014
@SmartMuffin:

You clearly haven't the faintest notion of what makes a democratic society. Your approach essentially revives the monarchical principle, except that the pillar of your undemocratic would-be power grab is privilege based on wealth rather than the promotion of an arbitrarily elevated bloodline.

Your principle is unreasonable and unjust, especially given that the inequitable distribution of wealth is an indirect factor in the impoverishment of those who occupy the bottommost layers of society. Your system could only magnify this disparity.

But maybe that's exactly the result you want...?
 
 
Feb 17, 2014
It's an idea worth exploring. One man one vote makes sense when you're involved in an organization that everyone contributes to approximately equally. This might have been the case in colonial times, when the government was financed mainly through tariffs and land sales.

Today, since the invention of the progressive income tax, some people contribute nothing (in fact, they contribute negative amounts, as they collect benefits) to the government, while others contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. The notion that it's somehow obvious that two such people should enjoy equal say in things seems silly to me.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 17, 2014
Love them, the robot read news series. Are you going to start selling them to papers?

[I think installment #10 of Robots Read News will answer that question. -- Scott]
 
 
Feb 17, 2014
Wittingly or unwittingly, Tom Perkins has made a valid point - that there is nothing sacred about the 'one man, one vote' policy.

On another note, Scott, your robot news reader gives the impression that Tom Perkins said that the total votes the 1% get should be more than the total votes the rest of the 99% get. From what else is on the net, it seems that he just said that the rich should get more votes because they pay more taxes.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 17, 2014
Um... I don't get it.

How does people allowing this guy to bait them support his point?

Voting has never been IQ tested any more than it is means tested. The whole point of the democratic experiment was extending the power of self-rule the masses - to the horror of the european elite - who had bought into the concept that the rich were equipped by god to rule the poor. Refer: Charles Dickens for insight into how well that worked out.

Intelligence and business acumen were never the point. The tendency of the wealthy to self-deal whilst congratulating each other on their noble commitment to advance the betterment of mankind - was the point.
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 16, 2014
I've yet to encounter any solid evidence that Tom Perkins was merely "yanking the chains" of "the bottom 99%", as opposed to ostentatiously pointing at his own tin-eared obliviousness to the concerns of those who are not swimming in anything like his personal wealth.

While attitudes like his may strike the ordinary person as remarkable, such self-absorption is far from being unusual among people who occupy similar positions to Perkins, I'm sorry to say.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
[ So was Tom Perkin's comparison of his "plight" with that of WW2 Jews completely true or just "mostly true"? ]

I'd pick mostly true. It would be darn near completely true to compare Occupy Oakland to the early demonstrations against Jewish businesses. Non-government. Same level of organization. Just a different target.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
[There is usually fallout when people say things that while true, or mostly true, when such truths are unpopular --DeManiac]

Agreed, some truths are unpopular.

So was Tom Perkin's comparison of his "plight" with that of WW2 Jews completely true or just "mostly true"?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 16, 2014
Ha Ha ha. I liked this one. Gold.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
@KnowItAll (love the handle), fallout from statements != false statements. There is usually fallout when people say things that while true, or mostly true, when such truths are unpopular. For example, raising taxes on the 99% by a few basis points will do more to lower the national debt that adding 50% to the taxes of the 1%. Saying that would never win an election for me, regardless of it's truth.

Besides that, I'm sure Tom learned over his career to not give a F**K about what people thought of him, only results and truth.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
[At least he knows how analogies work. So he's got that going for him. --Scott]

After all the fallout, your conclusion is that he *knows* how analogies work?

Do you know how analogies work? :)

 
 
Feb 16, 2014
The essence of most strips is that there is action in the different scenes. The reader here is left wondering what's going on. Maybe if the robot had 'Dilbert hair' it might give a sense of identity.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
I guess humor is in the eye of the beholder. It obviously depends on whose ox is being gored.

p.s. a wonderful side effect of 'Robots Read News' is how quickly you can crank these out. No drawing needed! Copy panel 1 to panel 2; repeat! Add text! Voila! I'll bet even I could do that!
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 16, 2014
Grammar is a 99% thing.
 
 
Feb 16, 2014
To be fair, after you compare the plight of billionaires to that of WW2 Jews, people don't know if you're "yanking their chains" or if you're publicly slipping into insanity.

[At least he knows how analogies work. So he's got that going for him. -- Scott]
 
 
 
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