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Does it repeat itself?

My brother-in-law sent me an article written by Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press entitled Fact Check: Are rich taxed less than secretaries?  Basically, he took President Obama to task for getting some of his facts wrong in a recent speech, and exaggerating others.  If that is what the president did, so be it.  Let me take a wild guess that President Obama is not the first politician to exaggerate or simply get it wrong.

The AP article establishes to my satisfaction (for whatever that is worth) that millionaires are taxed at higher rates than secretaries.  Did anyone really think that they weren’t?

The article states that the 10 percent of households with the highest income pay more than 70 percent of federal taxes.  It also states that the tax code is riddled with deductions, exemptions, credits.  The article is worth reading, and it is also worrisome.

When I was a young and carefree boy I was quite conservative in my political outlook.  I had a subscription to National Review when William F. Buckley was the editor.  I loved his way with words.  He made everything simple and obvious.  Maybe too simple and too obvious.

The major national worry at the time was the Soviet Union.  In one issue the National Review had an article about the Soviet 1917 revolution.  The Review article stated that the Russians, under the Czars, on the average, did better than they were doing now.

Well, history tells us that the article was right.  There is a bit of a flaw, however, and I am sure that you see it, but let me beat it into the ground:

If you and I performed a menial job which took, say, 10 minutes, and I was paid $1000.00 for it and you were paid $1.00, well, ON THE AVERAGE we did pretty well, didn’t we?  If this imbalance continued, you might begin to resent me. That was the Russian problem.  A lot of the wealth was concentrated among very few people.  These were the people who had access to the Czar and helped to run Russia as one giant serfdom.  That might help to explain why the revolution was so violent, and the average Russian was willing to turn away from anything that seemed like capitalism.  They did have more-or-less a capitalistic system at the time.

The French Revolution of 1789 was much the same – the poor against the rich.  It was also violent.  According to Wiki somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 were killed.

So, what do we have now?  Looking at the statistics put out by the AP we see, judging by the taxes paid, that 10 percent of the American population have an enormous share of the national wealth.  They, along with the evangelicals  are partners in the ownership of a political party, and they are serving their masters well.

Karl Marx said,

history repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

We saw the tragedies in our history books.  Now we are looking at Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, etc.  People are actually taking them seriously.  Is that a farce?


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