THE ONE PERCENT SOLUTION

December 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby, Uncategorized

            THE CLUB – Ah, there you are. We’ve been expecting you. Take a seat here by the fireplace with its burning Merrill Lynch bonds. Waiter, bring this new member a drink. Now, might I welcome you to the Club One, obviously made up of that select group, the top 1 percent of the richest Americans.

            You were approved for membership by making a billion on Bernie Madoff bobble-head dolls – the kind of heads you can rip off. I made my fortune selling picket signs and bullhorns to those Occupy Wall Street folks. My branch offices in Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Oakland — they all did well, especially Oakland, where fire bombs and gas masks were selling like crack pipes. Unfortunately, my efforts to peddle deodorants and razors didn’t work. 

            Good, the waiter has brought your drink. Thank you, Newt. No doubt you’ve heard about the recession. But not here. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says we top 1 percent of earners more than doubled our share of the nation’s income over the last three decades. Actually, the after-tax income of the top 20 percent now exceeds the income of the bottom 80 percent of Americans, which seems only proper. Incidentally, our “after tax income” is about the same as our “before tax income,” if you get my drift.

Our members are the usual suspects: movie stars, top athletes, drug lords. They made it on their own. Then there are the Wall Street money handlers who don’t actually contribute anything to society, like making shoe-strings or growing corn, but they make a fortune. Oh, there’s Eugene Isenberg, outgoing CEO of Houston’s Nabors Industries. He just received a $100 million golden parachute. This was on top of his $176 million in compensation between 2006 and 2010 during which the company’s stock fell 38 percent. It’s dropped another 20 percent this year. Don’t you just love it?

            Even though we own most members of Congress, many already qualify for our club. There are currently 245 millionaires — 66 in the Senate and 179 in the House. The richest of all is a Texan: Rep. Michael McCaul, Republican of Austin, worth over $294 million. He married it. Most candidates for president, including Obama, are in the top 1 percent. We don’t have exact figures, but experts say Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul probably don’t make the cut. Rick Perry’s net worth is estimated at just over $1 million, which is not bad for someone who has been a Texas state employee most of his adult life.

Yes, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates qualify for our club, technically, but they were drummed out as heretics. You know their screed: keep the death tax, spread the wealth, philanthropy. Traitors to their class. How does one qualify for Club One? Your worthiness can be measured in two ways: wealth or income. By household wealth, the cutoff point was $9 million in 2010, according to the Federal Reserve. The cutoff for annual household income is about $700,000. However, the Congressional Budget Office put the 1 percent earnings cutoff at $350,000 in 2007.  

            The bottom 99 percent deserve to be at the bottom. As Herman Cain said, “I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated, to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks — if you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!” He’s absolutely right, although I don’t have the facts to back it up.

I see through the window the great unwashed are stoning our club. Looks like an Athens come-as- you-are party. We here at the club believe in the Trickle Down Theory, or as the 99 percent call it, the Trickle On Theory. So? What’s their point? We believe in the redistribution of wealth – upwards, because we are job creators, although lately we haven’t been creating many jobs. So the gap between America’s rich and poor is widening. In the 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Turkey and Mexico have more economically unequal societies than the United States.

            Look at that mob. If it’s class warfare, then we’ve got the class, and we’ll give them the warfare. We should call out the Army, speaking of which, apparently not a single son or daughter of Club One members is serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. However, two generals of my acquaintance feel they are doing their part for the war effort – Generals Dynamics and Electric.  

If you paid one dollar in federal income tax from 2008 till last year, you paid more than General Electric, DuPont, Verizon, Boeing, Wells Fargo and Honeywell. A new report from Citizens for Tax Justice – a commie front obviously — looked at 280 of the Fortune 500 companies and found, while the federal corporate tax code ostensibly requires big corporations to pay at a 35 percent corporate income tax rate, on average the 280 corporations paid only about half that amount. Or as Leona Helmsley told her housekeeper, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” Helmsley later went to prison for federal tax evasion.

This 35 percent corporate tax rate is often cited as being second only to Japan’s rate, and should be lowered. As we can see, it already has been. This is like the oft-heard canard: “Half of Americans don’t pay income taxes.” Keep saying it long enough and people will believe it. Actually, the figure is not 50 percent but 43 percent, and they pay lots of taxes directly or indirectly: fees and fines, property taxes, school taxes, sales taxes, taxes on gasoline, pitchforks and torches. Individual income taxes only contribute 45 percent to the fed’s budget. Everybody pays the remaining 55 percent. Just remember, Texas doesn’t have an income tax, but Austin still wrings billions out of us.

Here’s to bailouts and TARP. Cheers. We’ll have another round, Mitt. 

 

                        Ashby is taxed at ashby2@comcast.net

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