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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 10:41 AM

Taxes on the wealthy, even "socialism". These are arguments we can and will win.

For way too long, "socialism" has been a bad word in American politics. I admit, I've been scared of it. But things are changing, finally. And, though I wasn't a Bernie supporter last primary season, he deserves a lot of credit for this. As does AOC, boldly calling for a 70% top marginal tax rate, and making media figures look like idiots for questioning her.

It's not just that a 70% tax rate starting at 10M polls overwhelmingly well. It's that it's really difficult for right-wingers or "centrists" to argue against it without looking like total idiots. $10M is a salary that virtually nobody will ever attain. Virtually nobody even realistically hopes to ever earn that much. I can't think of anyone I've ever met who earns that much (except maybe the time I "met" Tom Hanks).

It's also laughably illogical to argue that "the most productive people" will stop working Atlas Shrugged style if the income they earn over $10M is taxed that much. First, it's laughable to think that billionaires and multi-millionaires actually "produce" that wealth, rather than getting incredibly lucky in the capitalist poker game. But even for people who idolize Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, does anyone actually think that Bezos, starting Amazon, would have thought, "you know, if everything goes right I will end up with $100 billion dollars, but with these higher tax rates, I only get to keep $50 billion. Meh, forget it, what's the point..."

On top of that, actual economic research (as opposed to right-wing think tank propaganda) supports much higher tax rates on the wealthy. As Paul Krugman has pointed out, peer-reviewed literature in Economics from the most highly reputed people in the field, including Nobel Prize winners, has concluded that the optimal top tax rate is indeed somewhere around 70%.

Finally, there is the fact that, among the young generations, socialism itself polls well, even better than capitalism. In theory, it shouldn't matter how "socialism" polls, because likening a 70% top marginal tax rate or investments in clean energy to a state-run economy is absurd on its face. But it's been that word (and "communism" ) that right-wingers have used for decades to keep down popular ideas like these.

Well, things are changing. It won't be immediate, but the overwhelming popularity of redistributive economic policies isn't going away. The more the Dems talk about it, the better. And they need to keep reminding people that those talking heads on TV scoffing at these ideas, all those people make millions a year, and are being paid by people who make tens and hundreds of millions a year.

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Reply Taxes on the wealthy, even "socialism". These are arguments we can and will win. (Original post)
DanTex Feb 11 OP
mr_lebowski Feb 11 #1
KPN Feb 11 #2
Midnightwalk Feb 11 #3
onit2day Feb 11 #9
appalachiablue Feb 11 #15
CrispyQ Feb 11 #4
pecosbob Feb 11 #5
SWBTATTReg Feb 11 #6
duforsure Feb 11 #7
Johonny Feb 11 #8
Locrian Feb 11 #10
ooky Feb 11 #12
Locrian Feb 12 #17
ooky Feb 12 #22
ooky Feb 11 #11
TheBlackAdder Feb 11 #13
Yavin4 Feb 11 #14
The Mouth Feb 11 #16
oldsoftie Feb 12 #19
oldsoftie Feb 12 #18
bullwinkle428 Feb 12 #20
DanTex Feb 12 #21
bullwinkle428 Feb 12 #25
DanTex Feb 13 #26
GulfCoast66 Feb 12 #23
Honeycombe8 Feb 12 #24

Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 10:44 AM

1. I was expecting a link at the bottom it's so professionally-written ... well-done my friend (nt)

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:15 AM

2. K&R. Well stated, spot on and damn straight DanTex!

We ARE making progress in the debate over economic justice ... and just need to keep the pedal to the metal.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:24 AM

3. Great OP

The only things i can think to add is that these billionaires think they are entitled to run the country for themselves and screw the rest of us. I hope Schultz becomes a wake up call to billionaire entitlement.

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Response to Midnightwalk (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:54 PM

9. Use the term Democratic Socialism to get rid of the baggage on the term Socialism

We already are a Democratic Socialist Republic. Republic just means a representative Gov. and "Democratic", means we voters choose our representatives while socialism just means we voters direct our representatives to provide the services we as a society all depend on for survival and to promote the general welfare...the commons...education, health care, SS, safe environment, food and drugs etc. It is easily demonstrated that our most productive years were when the top tax rate was over 70%. When the top tax rate was dropped to in the 20% tile rate income inequality began to explode...another issue Bernie championed. The candidates are all Bernie-like now as he really did speak for what we as democrats say we want. Now we have so many good candidates to represent us.

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Response to onit2day (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:45 PM

15. Well said, good summary. 'Soc. dem.' or 'dem. soc' is more accurate.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 11:57 AM

5. As if the one percent actually did anything to earn capital gains

other than moving it from one drawer to another. They're the true social parasites.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:09 PM

6. Good article. I am tired of paying a hidden tax, that is, the tax that supports these ...

millionaires and billionaires who are so intent on hanging onto their obviously excessive wealth. I call it predatory capitalism and this needs to be taken down and replaced with a better distributive system of checks and balances, e.g., a better tax code. It is no longer socialism to address the ever more apparent abuse of capitalism in order to gain even more dollars etc. (fake books, dubious accounting games, shell companies, LLCs, oversea tax shelters, etc.). Instead of socialism in order to address these serious abuses of capitalism, it's our survival...period.

Rampant capitalism has run roughshod over almost the vast majority of resources on earth, and labor is seemingly used at lowest cost and then thrown away without a thought. Time to turn on our survival mode instincts, ignore the garbage and lies being spewed out by rump and his cronies, who obviously only care about wealth the preservation of this wealth. The welfare of others seem to be a distinct memory to them. What they don't realize, is that it takes a village (world) to raise a child today. The world is so interconnected in so many ways yet from what you would gather from the news (all types of media, again mostly owned by billionaires and millionaires), doom and horror, etc.!

It's time to take back our destinies. No one else will.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:27 PM

7. Isn't it funny these billionaires want everything rolled back , EPA standards, workers rights,more

But want to label it socialism when their tax rates are rolled back to where they were in the 60's now.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:37 PM

8. Baby boomer feed GOP is still using Soviet Union as an example of socialism to a generation born

after the Soviet Union collapsed. The old socialism dogma isn't scoring points anymore because things like medicare and social security are the socialism most young people have experienced. Not to mention food stamps etc ...

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:55 PM

10. anyone who has ever played "monopoly"

knows what the capitalism end game is.

Socialism is just a way to balance power from a system that will concentrate wealth to the extreme.

That's why libertarian-ism is such a pipe dream - it does nothing to stop the concentration of power.

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Response to Locrian (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:23 PM

12. Never thought about "Monopoly" that way.

Great point. Could be a teaching tool. Or perhaps a creative new game on the market, called "Republicanopoly" where the goal of the game is once you achieve fascism you win. Or better yet, by blocking fascist takeover you win.

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Response to ooky (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 07:35 AM

17. it was desinged that way


https://worksthatwork.com/9/propagandopoly-monopoly-as-an-ideological-tool


The Landlord’s Game, designed by Elizabeth Magie and patented in 1904, and Monopoly, patented by Charles Darrow in 1935. Parker Brothers bought the game from Darrow (eventually paying him over a million dollars in royalties) and also bought Magie’s patent for $500. Parker Brothers was eventually acquired by General Mills, merged with Kenner and acquired by Tonka, which was acquired by Hasbro. To this day, Hasbro makes no official mention of Monopoly’s history prior to 1935.

The game had two sets of rules. One was similar to today’s Monopoly, while the other rewarded everyone and avoided monopolies. The game was featured in The Review in 1902, where Magie was quoted as saying, ‘There are those who argue that it may be a dangerous thing to teach children how they may thus get the advantage of their fellows, but let me tell you there are no fairer-minded beings in the world than our own little American children. Watch them in their play and see how quick they are […] to cry, “No fair!”’

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Response to Locrian (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 11:15 AM

22. Very cool article. Thanks.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:03 PM

11. Excellent OP.

To win the argument on "socialism" I think this point that you made is key:

"In theory, it shouldn't matter how "socialism" polls, because likening a 70% top marginal tax rate or investments in clean energy to a state-run economy is absurd on its face. But it's been that word (and "communism" ) that right-wingers have used for decades to keep down popular ideas like these."


Indeed, a significant block of voters exists who don't understand the difference between examples of good socialist programs vs. socialism as a form of government. They believe that someone who proposes any kind of tax and spending program is motivated to go full communist and turn the country into "Venezuela" or the old "USSR" or "Cuba". We all hear this over and over again on right wing media and social networking. These voters who fall for that don't have a fundamental understanding that we are already a mixed economy. And that's a problem as Republicans harness this ignorance to keep the votes coming their way. They want their voters to think "boogeyman" just from hearing the term "socialism".

And as absurd as it is, I don't think we really win the socialism argument without finding an effective way of changing this false paradigm. Not as long as that voting block is large enough to swing elections.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:24 PM

13. Reps love to quote Adam Smith's "invisible hand" but Smith wrote capitalism requires a tiered tax.

.

Just a few chapter away from the section where he wrote about the "invisible hand of government" he wrote that government must have a stiffly tiered tax system that heavily taxes the wealthy for it to survive. Conservatives always overlook that second part, I mean conveniently overlook.

.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:28 PM

14. FDR saved capitalism through robust social spending and giving Labor more rights

We've forgotten this lesson over the past 40 years. Capitalism cannot survive the 1%-99% divide.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:41 PM

16. People love socialism

They just react badly to some of the labeling..

Plenty of Trump supporters love and use their Medicare, social security and plenty of other programs.

The battle is over nomenclature, not practice.

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Response to The Mouth (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 08:53 AM

19. I always ask "are YOU ready to write the checks for your parents that Medicare has been writing?"

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 08:52 AM

18. A 70% rate is still not going to raise nearly the amount of money to support new programs.

There just simply arent enough people making over 10M a year.
And while they likely won't stop working, they WILL work harder at avoiding paying the extra tax.
In the end, it sounds good a feels good, but the results will be hardly noticeable; raising very little (in terms of govt revenue that is) yearly.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 09:00 AM

20. I recall plenty of OPs from you during the 2016 primary season...and all

I can say, is...WELCOME TO THE CLUB!!

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 10:21 AM

21. Thanks. About that...

I got out of hand many times, clearly. I never really had an issue with Bernie's policy positions, although I do recall making some posts critical of single payer. The issue I had was with the so-called "Bernie or Bust", and also what I felt was over-the-top criticism of the Democratic Party, which I thought could come back to hurt us in the general election. A lot of my frustration was motivated by bad memories of 2000, which was my first election as an adult. That experience has left me very little tolerance for the whole "there's no difference between the parties" thing. And, without re-fighting the past, I still feel that Bernie could have done a better job of bringing his wing of the party into the Democratic fold towards the end of the primary.

But, like I said in the OP, Bernie definitely deserves huge credit for bringing to the forefront of the conversation ideas like single payer, financial transaction tax, etc., things that were unspeakable until he showed how popular they are if only politicians had the courage to actually talk about them. I didn't actually think that was possible, and he went and did it, which is awesome. I've actually had the pleasure of having an entire conversation with Bernie (and his wife, who is great), and I have huge respect for him and what he's done throughout his career.

Also, one thing I really like about AOC is that she is doing a great job of both being an unabashed progressive and Democratic Socialist, while still understanding the importance of working within the Democratic Party and winning elections. It's actually a very tricky position she's in. Certainly part of her supporters would like to see her go Green and trash the Democratic Party -- I remember her getting criticism from some on the left (e.g. Jimmy Dore) when she endorsed Cuomo for Governor in New York (in the general election, not the primary). But she's managing to both hold true to her beliefs while also playing the necessary politics. And making right-wingers' heads explode. Go AOC!

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Response to DanTex (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 09:16 PM

25. No worries at all!! I totally appreciate your expansion of thoughts regarding Bernie and all

of the issues he raised through the 2016 campaign, as well as how those ideas slowly began to take hold over the course of the next couple of years. And I can't disagree one iota with your views on AOC. The thought of going "Bernie or bust" 2016 never crossed my mind for a micro-second in the lead-up to the 2016 GE, and was very proud to cast that vote for Hillary, just to consider the possibilities of what her Presidency might bring.

Regarding the 2020 candidates, I'm almost under the impression that Bernie has made himself somewhat less relevant, BECAUSE he was so successful in driving his ideas so powerfully into the mainstream, as strange as that may sound. I also realize that there are still lots of hurt feelings, and am afraid that he just can't be enough of a unifying candidate when we will be (perhaps) in a desperate position to defeat Trump. Who will that absolutely optimal candidate be? I have no idea right now, as I have nearly a year to decide (Iowa caucuses), but I can't wait for the debates to begin.

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 13, 2019, 09:18 AM

26. I agree with you about Bernie in 2020.

It is sort of ironic, but its like you said, he's been so successful pushing his ideas that now everyone else is climbing on board, so he's not as special anymore. I mean, it seems to me that half or even more of the Democratic field so far has come out in favor of single payer. Totally unthinkable 4 years ago.

Like you, I have no idea who I am supporting yet as candidate. But I will say that to me the most important thing is finding someone who can and will beat Trump.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 11:23 AM

23. I'm not a socialist and have read very few post on DU advocating for it.

What am and almost everyone in DU qualifies for is to be called a Social Democrat. They are very different and we are crazy if we label ourselves as socialist. Social democracies like all of western are capitalist countries with strong policies to help mitigate the inherent injustices of the system while using its amazing power to generate wealth.

Socialism has meant, still means and will always mean the collective ownership of the means of production. And it results in increased poverty ever time it has been attempted. Just because a few leftist think is a cool new word to self label does not change the definition.

I will not vote for a self declared socialist. They either do not actually know the meaning of the term they identify with or they believe in an unworkable system.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2019, 08:19 PM

24. The word "socialism" has been defined in this country in a certain way.

That can't be changed. It is not a winner at the voting booth.

Americans are, by and large, not socialists or don't consider themselves socialists.

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