Oh, my friends, there is outrage. It’s just not where you might expect. Paul Krugman:
These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.
Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.
…The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.
…And when the tax fight is over, one way or another, you can be sure that the people currently defending the incomes of the elite will go back to demanding cuts in Social Security and aid to the unemployed. America must make hard choices, they’ll say; we all have to be willing to make sacrifices.
But when they say “we,” they mean “you.” Sacrifice is for the little people.
A week ago, the U.S. Census reported that during 2009, a record 43.6 million Americans struggled to live below the poverty line (less than the equivalent of $21,756 for a family of four). The real median household income in the United States in 2009 was $49,777.
Todd Henderson, a Chicago law professor married to a doctor, moans that his family can barely get by on $340,000 a year — and claims “we can’t afford” to pay an additional 3 percent marginal rate on earnings over $250,000 (that would be $2700 in additional income tax). Sadly, Henderson concludes he’ll have to fire the gardener and the housekeeper, and though his three kids will stay in private school he might have to take his daughter out of art class!
This guy is no “Joe The Plumber.” Some of us mow our own goddamn lawns, you know?
Michael O’Hare on Prof. Henderson’s fine whine: a “truly amazing pasticcio of mendacity, ignorance, and small-minded cupidity.” Taking deductions into account, O’Hare figures Henderson’s taxes “will go down $3700″ if the Obama tax cuts are enacted by Congress.
Max Abelson chronicles the wailing on Wall Street in the New York Observer.
Ezra Klein, the Washington Post: Tax cuts for the middle-class are also tax cuts for the rich.