Tom Toles' commentary:
There never is any reason to raise taxes, ever, we are told. It is always a good time to cut taxes, we are told. This is not thinking. This is a badly programmed robot. Sometimes you will hear a discussion of what is the optimum tax level to yield the highest revenue but burden the economy the least, but you won't hear that conversation in the United States because it's against the law here, according to the conservative Supreme Court's narrow reading of the Constitution.
Here's another conversation you won't hear. At what point does the share of U.S. income that is taken in by the richest 1 percent actually start to undermine the economy? This discussion is also illegal here, but I'm taking my chances. That share has DOUBLED in the last thirty years and is now close to a FIFTH of the whole pie! Less share for YOU, if you struggled in math. Is this bad? Would 50 percent be bad? 95 percent?
But they INVEST that money in productive enterprises that benefit us all. But DO they? Mightn't there be a point where there is more money in this storied "investor class" than they can use productively? Why, you might end up with destructive investment BUBBLES! Like, oh, a HOUSING bubble, instead of more exports. Wild conjecture, I know, but just theoretically possible. Or maybe they would spend their time working on elaborate ultra high-speed stock trading that takes wealth out of the market that comes from...where? I don't know, and as long as the conservative media complex is misidentified as liberal media, we never will.
What's even crazier is that this was the exact same thinking throughout the Bush Administration, and it led to nothing but disaster. The wealthy took their money and used it non-productively, creating bubbles in arcane financial instruments, record-breaking budget deficits, and the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. And our experience then has made no difference at all.
Republicans are campaigning on the exact same policies that led directly to these disasters - and just recently, too - and they're not being laughed off the political stage. Amazing, isn't it? In fact, it's just beyond belief. You couldn't write fiction like this, because no one would believe it. It's like we Americans have completely lost touch with reality.
Why does no one care that we're becoming a banana republic, with a super-elite minority owning - and controlling - more and more of our nation? Why the insistence that the wealthy pay even less in taxes? What happened to the idea of a strong middle class in America, with fewer at the extremes of wealth, both above and below?
And why do we think that corporations don't have enough power in our political system? Why have we come to see no difference between a corporation and a human being? I thought that television commercials would make us immune - or at least resistant - to corporate PR, but that apparently hasn't happened. We're just as much the gullible, ignorant rubes as ever. No, we're even more so, since I couldn't see this happening decades ago.
What in the world has happened to us?