Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Always Wrong, Never In Doubt

Hahahahaha! Megan McArdle is so amusing.
The only way to actually ensure that no millionaire, anywhere, pays less than 20% on their annual income would be to essentially suspend the rule of law for wealthy people, and give the IRS power to seize income from rich people at will within some very broad guideline about fair shares. This strikes me (she said, with dramatic understatement) as a very bad idea.

Yeah, taxing the rich more would necessitate suspending the rule of law.

Let's take another look at a chart Barry Ritholtz put up a while ago.
 
 
Remember, we can't raise taxes on the rich because they would never pay them.

16 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Poor rich people.

They've really go it rough these days.
~

NonyNony said...

So in McArdle's world, rich people are above the law.

That's not particularly surprising, but she's usually a bit more circumspect about saying it so baldly.

atat said...

I see Bill O'Reilly is now threatening to go Galt. Yes, please.

Lurking Canadian said...

Is she making some kind of claim about off-shore accounts in the Caymans, or does she seriously think that some kind of capped, variable tax rate on capital gains violates the rule of law?

Does she have Hayek's brain preserved in a jar on her desk, by any chance?

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Does she have Hayek's brain preserved in a jar on her desk, by any chance?

It's in her skull... and the preservation was botched.

Anonymous said...

So that's Megan's whole shtick, really. Restate an obvious issue "Should many millionaires pay the same rate as many secretaries" as "In order to prevent ANY millionaire from paying less than 20 percent.."

Didn't she just do this with the health insurance debate by casting the opposition's point as a totalist one "No one will die if we have national health insurance?"

Megan reminds me of how people used to say "you know why Bush explains things in such a labored, stupid, way? Its because he's repeating exactly how it was explained to him and his advisors think he's stupid." Megan has one and only one trick: its like a highschool debater's trick before they lose enough debates to realize that only really stupid people fall for it. Restate the first proposition as something totally stupid, and then hope that your interlocutors agree to debate you on it. Since she's blogging and not debating, and since she's really very stupid, she never gets slapped back.

aimai

Waingro said...

"Since she's blogging and not debating, and since she's really very stupid, she never gets slapped back."

Yes. A thousand times, yes. I've been kicking that same though around for a while. If McArdle were actually forced to debate in person, it would be readily apparent to everyone that she is a mendacious bullshit artist.

She gets by in print because she's a tireless mediocrity. She'll just keep typing up meandering word salads in the hope you get exasperated and give up. This can somewhat maintain the illusion that she might have a point. I remember feeling sorry for poor Dean Baker when he had to "debate" her on Bloggingheads- he could barely hide his contempt.

atat said...

See also her recent tv appearance with Matt Taibbi.

Batocchio said...

Wait, McBargle dared face off with Taibbi again? Where's the clip?

I like aimai's characterization of Bush/McBargle. Bush's proud, willful ignorance and overall evil is more important, but his conceit that he was "explaining" things to the American people he clearly didn't understand himself was also particularly grating. McBargle tries to bluff her way through.

Hers is such an extraordinarily weak straw man. Sure, if we ignore that her slippery slope didn't occur under more progressive taxation in the U.S. in the past (as shown in the cartoon), and hasn't kicked in despite more progressive taxation in other countries currently, we might buy her utter BS. Clap your hands if you believe in supply-side economics!

If you'll forgive the self-link, I used the same cartoon when I wrote on class warfare by the plutocrats last year. (Sadly, little has changed, at least for the better.)

As Roy says:

As long as we're turning fairness apples into fairness oranges, we might also point out that the top 1 percent also control two-thirds of the national net worth, earn 24 percent of America's income, etc. Fairness-wise, I think we should just squeeze them till they poop gold coins.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Megan went to town responding in this particular thread. There are tons of comments from here this time.

Hilariously enough, even TreeJoe (who used to be one of her biggest sycophants way back) is saying he reads her less now.

Susan of Texas said...

Those videos with Baker and Taibbi were amazing. When McArdle made a false statement Baker just said that statement was wrong, and when she said nobody can ever know the facts he said that he does. Very simple, very direct. McArdle had to peddle faster and faster to stay afloat. And you know that Taibbi was just incredulous that she would blatantly lie and misrepresent facts.

dave™© said...

"The only way to actually ensure that no millionaire, anywhere, pays less than 20% on their annual income would be to essentially suspend the rule of law for wealthy people, and give the IRS power to seize income from rich people at will." Works for me.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading up on the history of statistics and probability recently and there's a really interesting difference between the ways you'd handle

"Any" millionaire
"Any particular millionaire"
"Some large number of millionaires"
"All" millionaires
"A majority of millionaires."

From a social and legal point of view. We generally don't aim at zero error in anything like the criminal and civil justice system because that would be really stupid (viz. Megan likes to think it) and because it would not be cost effective, and because it would make the best the enemy of the pretty good.

I'm not sure its true that "in order to make sure that any millioniare" standard requires the suspension of the rule of law in order to get there anymore than any other irrational, totalizing demand requires the suspension of the rule of law. You could suspend the rule of law and still not catch everyone if you didn't have the will to do it. And you could make the process so automated, by law, that you could force Millionaires to pay forward and claim back a huge proportion of their income thus putting the burden and cost of collecting their taxes on them, and making the cost of fighting the taxes higher. All of that within the rule of law.

Basically that's what happens to middle class people--their incomes are so well docketed and known that the government forces them to prepay their taxes and then fight to get a refund. It would be relatively easy to view with suspicion any wealthy person, assign them an extremely high prepay of their taxes, and then only refund some portion over 20 percent if they fought for it while you also made them pay all the court costs. All very rule of lawy.

aimai

Anonymous said...

Top tax rate on earned income is pretty meaningless. Cap gains rate has almost always been much, much lower.

More important than increasing rates is (a) geting rid of the distinction between earned and unearned, and (b) getting rid of other loopholes that allow the truly rich to report much less income than their gross.

Of course, the best thing would be to move to a system of taxing first rents and then wealth, but that might not be easy to do in the short run.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I see Bill O'Reilly is now threatening to go Galt.

All they ever do is threaten.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

and give the IRS power to seize income from rich people at will."

Don't they already have that? Does she expect us to believe she has never heard of liens or garnishment? Or does she think no one else has?