Friday, May 2, 2008

Personal Asides: For Economics Wonks—What Is “Progressive” About Taxation?...A Daley for Ever-Changing Seasons…Where is the Black “Leadership” Condemning Wright?...”Expelled” Gets Thumbs Down from Roeper: “What a Piece of Garbage”…Mission Accomplished?


“Progressive” Taxation?

We turn now from theological wonk-ism to economic wonk-ism. The same rules apply. No search engines. Rely on your own background of knowledge. The great central plank of western liberalism is the graduated income tax: the view that taxes can be regarded as progressive when they fall more heavily on higher incomes than on lower, that taxes can be regarded as progressive if they fall more heavily on higher incomes than on lower. Ralph Martire, a friend, has said that Adam Smith endorsed the concept of progressive taxes but I cannot find any pertinent reference—nor can Greg Blankenship. My question to you is—is such taxation “progressive”? Where did it find positive acceptance? Your assignment today without boning up but using your own native resources: write a paragraph either defending or assailing the concept of “progressive” taxation. Use either Reader’s Comments on my personal email.

One further point. Every so often on Reader’s Comments there appears a scatological comment which we remove promptly. On the Theological Wonk it so ridiculed apparitions of the Virgin Mary as to be demonic. It salaciously uses a ridicule of a female living human being’s body as an identification. Do me this favor: Please ignore it; do not respond to it--for it will not be there long. It’s hysteria, in fact, seems demonic. Rather than answer it, stay away from commenting. You can apprehend by its comments that it is twisted, perverted. Weekends are when it likely strikes, when the webmaster is not working. Were it in a room with us, a splash of Holy Water or holding aloft a crucifix would likely cause it to writhe and disappear. We cannot do that here but rest assured the webmaster will remove the comments. Thank you.

Our Own Sir Richard Rich…Richard M. Daley.

Rich Daley is today’s Sir Richard Rich. The man John Kass used to call “Little Big Man,” the Irish Catholic who has backtracked on abortion and opposition to gay rights, two principle teachings of his church in order to keep secure his 70% reelection margins, Daley places the utmost priority on keeping stride with the left, counting on his Irishness and clever invented ungrammatical put-ons rants (“what do I gotta do, take down my pants?”) to solidify him with working folks. Were he to remain fast to his faith, his reelection margin would probably be down to 68%. But he will do anything to survive politically.

He has supported the unrepentant Billy Ayres whose only regret is that he didn’t do more than participate in 25 bombings. But have you noticed, Sir Richard Rich…er… Daley has not yet spoken out against Jeremiah Wright, allowing Barack Obama to fight the battle against his raving racist ex-pastor himself: Wright is popular with blacks, you know so Daley doesn’t want to take a side. Gutless wonder. Thus Obama has had to fight the battle so far alone. Where is the bellowing Daley now?

Gutless and smartly duplicitous (he weeps when the news media inquire about his son Patrick who got involved as a secret partner in a sewer firm with a city contact: Patrick is in the service, you know prompting the tears that will dissuade further questions) he is little more than a shouting, red-faced rudderless carcass of opportunism and expedience. But he is not alone.

A “Sir Richard Rich Catholic” is the only suitable way to describe Daley and all other Catholic politicians who violate their conscience on abortion and gay rights in order to accommodate the liberal electorate (the list of legion: Durbin, Lisa Madigan, Dan Hynes, Emil Jones, Todd Stroger, Judy Baar Topinka: whom have I missed?). The flaccid, ever-parsing archdiocese here (and most other dioceses in the nation excluding a handful including St. Louis) allows them to get away with it and receive the sacrament anyhow, sharing in the gutlessness, differing only in degree from their eminences Thomas Wolsey and Thomas Cranmer.

But, who was Sir Richard Rich [1496-1571]? He was the pillar of Jello and accommodation in the play and later film by Robert Bolt, “A Man for All Seasons” based on the life of Sir (later saint) Thomas More [1478-1535], More, the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, was the senior and most important lay functionary in the government. At a time when Catholicism dominated England, More was an exemplary one: ruled by his conscience. He refused to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul Henry VIII’s marriage and resigned rather than take an oath of supremacy declaring the king the supreme head of the English church. Bolt used the testimony of More’s son-in-law in a play which details More’s resignation as Chancellor rather than betray his conscience and his refusal to attend Henry’s “wedding” to Anne Boleyn. More refuses to attend, refuses to sign a new oath of support of the King and is convicted of treason by the serpentine Richard Rich. Informed that Rich was promoted as attorney general for Wales as a reward for prosecuting him with perjured testimony, More says: “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world—but FOR WALES?”

Which leads to the questions locally: “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world—but for MAYOR OF CHICAGO?” And to the archdiocese: “Why your eminences, excellencies, monsignori, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world—but to avoid embarrassment for the DEMOCRATIC PARTY?” Meaning the whole disgusting crew of Pelosi, Kennedy and others who received the sacrament when the Pope was in Washington. And liberals of the Republican party viz Rudy Giuliani and Topinka locally et al?

Where is the “Black Leadership” on Wright?

Now that I’ve asked where Mayor Richard M. Daley is let’s ask this: When does the so-called “black leadership” in this city or nation weigh in on Jeremiah Wright? Have you heard any big-time black “leaders” issue condemnatory words on this raving racist…who yesterday reiterated the sick theories of eugenics that blacks think with one side of their brains while whites are the obverse (Klan talk)? Where is the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson? Is not Barack Obama his candidate for president who is being taunted by Jeremiah Wright who shouted to an audience the other day “Barack HUSSEIN Obama”? Why doesn’t Jesse Jackson speak out? Why don’t other black leaders speak out? Todd Stroger. For that matter where is Fr. Michael Pfleger? Where is Emil Jones? Where is Donne Trotter? Where are the black aldermen? Black state legislators?

Under their respective beds, that’s where—because they fear to antagonize the number of their constituents whom they fear are attracted to Jeremiah Wright. The standing ovations of parishioners and audiences bouncing off the walls at the excitement give the so-called impregnable “black leadership” pause. Where is Mary Mitchell who so passionately wants Obama to win? Why is she taking such a soft tone against Wright…in fact criticizing Obama in a recent column for not picking up a telephone to softly work it out with Wright. Where is the other oracle of black reportorial analysis—Clarence Page? A little soft-spoken and evasive about Wright’s racist demagoguery, isn’t he? If a white said that black kids don’t think with the parts of their brains that whites do, meaning that black kids are suited more for hip-hop than mathematics, would we not have heard from them? Would not Pfleger have led a march somewhere with placards waving? Double standard, isn’t it? It really depends on whether bigoted words are used by whitey, isn’t it? When used by blacks, well…let’s calm down, folks. After all, he’s one of ours.

“Expelled” Gets Thumbs Down from Roeper.

Continuing the newspaper’s slavish subservience to “Sun-Times” editor-in-chief Michael Cooke who believes in nothing personally but who has ordered an almost unalloyed liberal newspaper (along with the a sex therapist and 99% lefty “opinion” columning bias), Richard Roeper dissed the film “Expelled” yesterday as “a piece of garbage”…not because it seeks to encourage universities to consider Intelligent Design in their overwhelmingly pro-Darwin classes (Roeper sees no reason why evolution and intelligent design cannot comprise a curriculum) but because its producer Ben Stein finds notable agreements between Darwin’s and Margaret Sanger’s eugenics and that of Nazi Germany.

The film debuted at No.9 and took in about $3 million in its opening weekend April 18-20. Despite its limited release, per screen ticket sales put “Expelled” at No. 5, topping “Nim’s Island” (21) and “Dr. Seuss’ Horon Hears a Who.” Liberal reviewers like Roeper had bet—and hoped—that it would be dead on arrival but they were far wrong.

No one but Roeper and his liberal fellow reviewers attempt to deny Darwin’s theory of natural selection was attuned to breeding cripples and defectives out of the human race any more than Sanger’s super race theories. The similarities are strikingly close—but Roeper who has an image to keep of an earnest young liberal dismisses them out-of-hand with no rebuttal. As a hurler of the imprecation “garbage,” Roeper has first-hand experience with the same. His paper is fast becoming the oddity of world journalism doing such tricks under Cooke’s direction as printing its main headline backwards to attract attention.

“Expelled” has some amateurish production values nevertheless is a masterpiece of scholarship as can be expected from an intellectual like Stein. Ben Stein is dismissed by Roeper as a comic and former Nixon speechwriter. Period. In the interest of accurate reporting of which the columning Roeper obviously knows little, Stein is an attorney, who was a poverty lawyer in New Haven, Connecticut, an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, a professor of social policy of mass culture at American University, Washington, D. C., and the University of California, Santa Cruz, a professor of law at Pepperdine University law school, currently writes a regular column for “The New York Times” business section, has written for “The Wall Street Journal,” “New York Magazine,” “Barron’s” and has written a book on the Michael Milken Drexel Burnham Lambert junk bond situation in addition to seven others including a 20 non-fiction works and a novel. That he was a speech-writer for Nixon and Gerald Ford means all the difference in the world to Roeper. Stein also has been an actor in a good many motion pictures and a TV series where he was recipient of an Emmy. Not enough for Roeper.

Why didn’t Roeper make at least a feeble effort to inform readers of Stein’s pedigree beyond being a comic and,,,ugh… Nixon speech-writer? Roeper is a sardonic little twerp who fills a hip kid niche in Cooke’s soon to be vanished paper, who got into the big time as a newsroom sycophant of Roger Ebert. Ebert is a film critic—now ailing—who made his huzzas among far-left oracles by pushing lefty ideas (he was the one who convinced Michael Moore to deliver a hotly anti-U.S. speech at the Academy Awards), a very popular venue. He is distinctly second-rate compared to the erudite Joe Morganstearn of the “Wall Street Journal” and the general outstanding criticism of Terry Teachout. But at least Ebert, born a Catholic, now agnostic, knows the film craft. Roeper knows precious little more than the average popcorn enthusiast lazing through afternoon matinees. When Ebert’s longtime partner in TV film reviewing, Gene Siskel, died, Roeper tried out and though, notably undistinguished, survived the cut. He varies his reviewing by writing columns in the “Sun-Times” that purveys predictable mishmash in styleless form producing unutterable tedium.

Why dikd Roeper diss Stein? Stein is a pro-lifer which has incurred the wrath of pro-abort Catholic Roeper and is distinctly at odds with the overwhelmingly (with the laudable exception of its fine cartoonist Jack Higgins) pro-abort “Sun-Times.” So to get even Roeper blacked out Stein’s background and made him appear as a pro-Nixon stumblebum. That’s class for you from what is quickly becoming classless porridge which if justice serves should get Cooke fired as he was earlier by the “New York Daily News,” but here not just for his own incompetence but because the Internet has been turning the daily newspaper into an atavism, slowly garroting the survivors.

Mission Accomplished? What Will it Take?

Yesterday as the mainstream media were quick to note was the anniversary of George W. Bush’s landing on an aircraft carrier and bounding out of the jet to be greeted by a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” installed by his staff. Bush admitted today that it is something he will live with forever—but it leads to the question: what will it take for the Iraq mission to be really accomplished?

Probably four things. First, since the Middle east is of incalculable importance to the U. S., “mission” will really be “accomplished” when Iraq becomes a stable state—a not impossible or ad infinitum project. Second, it is not important to me whether it is presided over by a Strongman or a representative republic, although polls show the latter is too optimistic. It cojld be partitioned into several homogeneous territories, each ruled as its popoulations wish. Third as a state it should be oriented to the West and Fourth it should be our ally against extremist Islamism.


  1. TR,

    Marx said something like "from each according to his means, to each according to his needs", which is another way of stating Pareto's Law.

    Pareto deduced that if you concentrate your time on a small number of subjects with a large amount of activity, you can have more impact than trying to address a large number of subjects. So, if you are a beer brewer, you focus on the 10% of drinkers that drink 90% of the beer rather than the 90% that drink 10% of the beer.

    If you are a taxman (and I shudder at the thought of Tom as a taxman) you collect more revenue by taxing 10% of the population with 90% of the resources than by taxing 90% of the population with 10% of the resources. It is a more efficient use of time.

    It is also morally reprehensible and completely un-american, but the taxman certainly will take the easy way out, rather than applying democracy to taxation.

  2. To date, the only black commentator of note that has called out Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been Juan Williams. There have been one or two others, but they were guests on radio programs, not persons with a regular opportunity to appear in broadcast or print news.

  3. Look for the Democrat nominee to start arguing that the Mission has been accomplished in Iraq and that is why we can start pulling troops out now. The only one who will say we have more to do or more to prove will be McCain. The DEMs realize that sounding like quiters will not fly with the voters, thus, we have accomplished everything the military could accomplish--military mission accomplished! All that will be left is for diplomacy to help keep the peace.

  4. People like to use big words even if they don't know what they mean. People are created equal only in the eyes of their Creator. They are not otherwise equal at all. Robbing Hood was a "progressive". The moderns have improved upon such obvious banditry by using "duh government" as a middle man for the same sort of theft. "Progressive" is a term loved by those who seek an earthly paradise by growing government but they were too obtuse to see the danger to humanity of totalitarian states (and still are too obtuse). Yet, let anyone raise a sales tax and you can await some half wit (generally with a Phd)to complain of its regressive nature. So, the adjective does not describe the reality-it is a lot like Economic Development Income Taxes which are really only income taxes with Economic Development being the adjective by which they are "sold" to the masses. It was Alan Greenspan who noted, "All taxation is theft" and he has never repudiated that statement. Progressive taxation is just increased theft, a term, an adjective, that does little in the way of fig leaving to hide the reality that those who support it are thieves.

  5. I went to see it. It is very well done. Those who don't like Intelligent Design can in no way suggest or even think that their side did not get as forceful a presentation as is currently possible. It is amusing that the Big Bang Theory has been resisted for 60 years because it was thought to be religion based. The Orthodoxy Ben points out, however, is not confined to merely the issue of ID. Closed minded faculty exist in nearly every discipline to the harm of all genuine students. Diversity of opinion is for theory and for others, other than the schools.

  6. So you want that cheap undocumented worker for the menial jobs in your business. Cheap? Not by the thousands, millions who come in to the "safe" zone of Illinois and Chicago and cost the state, overburden hospitals to the point of closure, flood the schools with children from low assessment areas, etc.
    So you got your cheap labor right? So don't complain when they become democrats and suck off the system big time! Remember the Democrats just feast off of "helping" with tax dollars these people YOU employ!

    You though you would save by sending your factory over to China? Well in the beginning you did but then when everyone else jumps in, the tax base shrinks, the earning level goes down, and they then come after your home, your sail boat, your assets for TAXES to make up the difference! And you thought you saved?

    Sorry Republicans, you brilliant ones, you pooped in your collective beds and now must PAY MORE in taxes! ENJOY!

  7. Lovie's LeatherMay 2, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    First, I guess I would have to say that progressive tax rates are progressive. Since progressive nowadays basically means marxism. One of Marx's main points in a communist society is the principle of a high progressive tax.

    But Mr Powers, we are supposed to tax that 10% at a higher rate? So when you go into a bar, you need to present your tax return? Of course, I am being facetious. But wouldn't it make sense that if you bought 90% of the beer, you would pay 90% of the taxes? And if the progressive tax system is so great, why do we charge a flat fee for the so called "sin tax" on a pack of cigarettes? The lowest 25% are paying probably almost 100% of the taxes. Aren't poor people more likely to smoke? Then why are we taxing them more, if they have less? And now I await your response where you will probably call poor people stupid with a typical liberal back-handed remark...

  8. John Thomas McGeeanMay 3, 2008 at 4:35 AM

    Why are they so afraid of "Expelled?" I went to see the movie Thursday afternoon in New Lenox, Il. That theater was showing it at only 1:45 and 4:15 PM. Why was it not shown in the evening? Are they afraid people would go see it?
    I had already made the connection between Nazism and the current anti-life mentality which manifests itself in contraception, abortion and euthanasia. I did not hook it up with Darwinism.
    Darwinism is an unproven theory. Maybe we did spring from the ape. My father would have said "some didn't spring far enough!" But behind it all was the hand of God. When they are so afraid of "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design" that they have to backball people with an open mind, it is a sorry state of affairs. I think everyone should see this fine movie.

  9. Isn't the notion of progressive taxation one of the planks of Marx and Engel's Communist Manifesto? A recent retelling had "heavy progressive taxation" as the number two item. I suppose it is the mid-nineteenth century's equivalent of the Democrat's plan for the Bush cuts.

  10. LL,

    I am not in favor of differential rates of taxation. It is patently unfair and un-american to treat people in different ways based on income.

    But there is a history of why it is done, going back to 1700's. Doesn't make it right, but does explain the method.


  11. If Wright is taunting Obama, why can't Obama sit down with him and talk out differences? If that's what Obama wants to do with the US enemies, why won't he accomplish it with his own enemies?