(Post has been updated to correct my bad research about who pays what fraction of the total tax bill)
My nephew thinks I ought to consider adding a Corvair 95 "Rampside" truck to the vehicular stable here at Roseholme. In that, he's pretty much spot-on, as I would very much like to have a truck for the truck-type jobs -- and especially if it's something a bit odd. I missed an early-1930's one some years back; it had some kind of modern smallblock V-8 under the hood and needed a new (wooden) bed floor, but wasn't a terrible hack-job. I'm still looking; it's not like I have to have one, they're just handy. A Rampside would be a real gem.
(OTOH, I'd swap the Hottest Needle of Inquiry, my third 2003 Hyundai Accent, for a decent hard-top Suzuki Samurai in a heartbeat. While you really, really don't want to roll the little 4-by, they will get into and out of just about anywhere, in any weather. It's a long, hard slog up to the 55ish mph top speed but they'll happily stay there all day. Like a mule, but without the attitude.)
On the other hand, he appears to believe I'm conservative. --Hecky-durn, Dear Reader, p'raps you do, too? Is it my belief that the State oughta stop frettin' over the freely-made marital arrangements of legal adults that gives that impression, or is it my wild and crazy notion that wandering the world gettin' into fights might not be an ideal hobby for a free nation, that John Quincy Adams' description of America's ideal foreign policy, "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [America's] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own," might be the wisest course of action? Or is it my notion that we'd have a lot less drug violence, meth-lab fires and hidden drug abuse if the various substances were legal and the persons who got into trouble with 'em could seek treatment without having to cop to a mandatory-jail-time felony?
Nope. See, I figure you should be able to hang onto your own money. Even if you have whacking great piles of it and go diving into it like Scrooge McDuck. That makes me "conservative."
Yep. I guess it's a lot better for Uncle Sam to take it, spend over half of every dollar grabbed on bombing someplace overseas (and related support thereunto), 16 cents on "physical assets and general government," and use a fraction of the remaining 30 cents on widows, orphans and The Poor, less administrative costs and overhead.
After all, what would a rich guy do with excess money? Buy a private island, have a house built on it and hire a staff? Gamble some on investing it in a start-up business, a wacky thing like an Internet search engine or an online bookstore? Use it to keep his business running through hard times? What good would that do anyone?
Especially compared to a government department that, having made a big investment in providing goods and services to The Poor, needs to maintain a sizable group of poor folks to justify the continued existence of said department.
Meanwhile, the eeeeevil, money-grubbing rich guys continue to hire people who will work for the wages offered -- and who pick up skills doing the work. Some of those people will advance, becoming more valuable to their employer in the process. Hey, it's no sure thing -- companies go broke, or move, or adopt polices to keep wages low and staff turnover high -- but in general, they don't benefit from keeping employees needy-hungry poor, not even the cheapest of cheapskates. (Though the latter group may only find out after their company has gone broke, or been sold to China for pennies on the dollar).
Conversely, the poorer you are, the more you need Help From The Government.
So, yep. By that skinny yardstick, I'm conservative; even though I know William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer pushed the U.S. into a nice little war, I also know they didn't have any troops, warships or cannon. David Saroff's RCA indeed hounded their competitors relentlessly -- ask the widows of Armstrong and Farnsworth -- but they did it in the courts and the marketplace; they never had troops hunt them down.
See, if we compare "the rich" on one side and "government" on the other, there's an interesting distinction: the wealthy don't put people in concentration camps, they don't drop napalm on towns,villages and interesting scenery and even when they are ripping you off, they don't require you to pay in (this is why Enron's scam was, horribly enough, more moral than the Social Security system). This is not to say that rich people and/or Big Business don't have a whole lot of flaws; but their flaws are generally as nothing compared to the damage governments can and will do.
Y'know, when Toyota and General Motors duke it out, there is no Pearl Harbor, no Iwo Jima, no Hiroshima. When a fat-cat business executive wants a good, old-fashioned war (see above), he's got to chivvy governments into doing it -- and the government funds the war with tax money, just under a third of it yours and not his.* (Unless they're funding it with what amount to bad checks against future tax money, IMO even worse).
So call me conservative. I don't want the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or even George Soros to be taxed at any higher rate than I am -- preferably, zero. And that, in this strange day and age, is weird, wild conservative stuff. Even the GOP's pols look askew at that kind of crazy talk.
* For the logic-impaired, those sneaky, conniving tax-cheating top ten percent income types pay 70 percent of the total federal tax bill. You and I and the part-timer who makes barely enough to put him in tax-paying income pick up the remaining 30 percent.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago