Monday, February 21, 2011

Cutting The Christmas Ham

Cutting The Christmas Ham

“Quit pulling my hair!” “You’re going to eat every last one of your vegetables and like it!” “Mom, Susie keeps trying to cast me into the third circle of Hell!”

I’m sure parenting must be tricky. I am the third of four sons, and I can, with out a doubt, relate to my mother’s parenting distress when my cat devours all of the plants in my apartment. So when is a parent supposed to give in to a child’s wants and tantrums? I’ve worked my fair share of retail jobs, and to me the obvious answer is never. I will allow that a strong smack on the head will deter most children’s requests in the first place. In addition, watching children acting out in public has been clinically proven to be the most effective form of birth control (look for an endorsement from the Pope on that one.)

Needless to say, incessant whining does not end with childhood. It continues on with teenagers looking for a car or pot, college age young people, looking for a degree/job or… pot, or even successful businessmen looking for… massive tax breaks (money’s green too.) The first two are common enough stereotypes, and on some level can be understood. But under what circumstances would the wealthiest three percent need tax cuts? There has been suggestion of the phantom trickle down effect, but I stopped believing in Santa years ago, and leprechauns were never really my thing. The trickle down effect revolves around the assumption that wealthy business owners would be willing to reinvest the money saved after tax cuts. However, there is no assurance of reinvestment. Only a free market capitalist hope that the companies will do the right thing—that is to say: Laissez Faire. But come on, that can’t work. It’s French.

There are plenty of the wealthiest three percent who do practice this sort of reinvestment. But what happens when companies like Harley Davidson have record profits in 2010 during the worst recession in over sixty years, and simply stash the money away. According to the NY Times, during that quarter, unemployment was still lingering around ten percent. At the same time, millions of recent, high school and college graduates who happened to be unemployed resumed their search for pot. Also that quarter, the S & P’s 500-stock index saw a seven percent rise. While for the 14 million unemployed, life was seeming pretty standard and poor.

During the Regan years some of the biggest tax cuts in history took place, and I don’t think he was compensating for his hair. By 1984, the rate of GDP growth had jumped up considerably according to Mehrun Etebari of the UFE (United for a Fair Economy). But this did not last. During the Bush Sr. administration, taxes for the wealthy were cut even more, and the GDP actually decreased. Talk about being Bushwhacked. While the recession at that time may have had something to do with it, who’s to say tax cuts were the catalyst for Regan’s temporary economic success? Etebari goes on to explain several other statistics such as income growth rate, hourly wage growth rate, and change in unemployment. He compares them to top tier tax cuts only to find that there is no correlation between any economic success and those taxes. Daddy, I got cider in my ear… or it might have been tea.

One of the more recent debacles that we’ve run into was stimulus spending versus the nation’s deficit. The economic stimuli are another matter altogether, but I think we can all agree that the deficit needs to be taken care of. How about raising taxes? Isn’t that a feasible solution since Mark Zuckerberg won’t pay off our debt with his yacht made of gold? Raising taxes won’t fix the deficit, but it’s at least a start. The latest Bush tax cuts were set to expire, and that was a great opportunity for President Obama to do a little upkeep of his own. However, with senseless opposition from the right, Obama, in the spirit of bipartisanship (bending over), agreed to extend the cuts.

In December of 2010, just like every holiday season, the whiny little brats at the local mall got mommy to cave in. Meanwhile, near the National Mall, other whiny brats got Obama to cave.

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