What the 99% owes the 1%
Harry Binswanger, an Ayn Rand devotee, says millionaires should be exempt from taxes and be rewarded with public displays of gratitude.
A longtime Rand associate, Binswanger has dedicated his entire career to advancing her message of Objectivism and the idea that laissez-faire capitalism is the best means of achieving one of that philosophy's key tenets: Look out for your own happiness and self-interest and don't succumb to the collectivist succubi who would drain you of your special gifts and/or money.
This is the man who steered The Objectivist Forum in the 1980s after Rand died and dedicated so many hours to Objectivism that his collected works look like this.
Thus, when he writes something akin to his latest Forbes column, he's not doing it because he's still buzzing from the last Ron Paul rally.
He's one of the pillars of Objectivism, which means occasional Binswanger quotes such as this from an op-ed titled Give Back? Yes, It's Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1% are to be expected:
"Imagine the effect on our culture . . . if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind."
Yes, that Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs (GS) who told Congress in the wake of the financial collapse that his company didn't create the mortgage default swaps that wrecked the economy, it just created the market for them.
The same guy whose firm bet against the same products Goldman was selling to investors but saw no legal or moral impetus to tell those customers it was doing so.
The same Blankfein whose company set the euro teetering on the brink of collapse by helping Greece hide its crushing debt. The one whom former colleague Greg Smith saw fit to incinerate in an op-ed in The New York Times last year in a moment of moral clarity.
From Binswanger's perspective, it's quite obvious why Blankfein should be held in the same regard as a woman who fed the poor, housed orphans and cared for those with tuberculosis, leprosy and AIDS:
"Since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created."
To this end, Binswanger suggests that Goldman Sachs isn't a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." Instead, that applies to those collecting taxes from the folks at Goldman Sachs and using that money for infrastructure and services. He blames the "envy-ridden moral code that damns success, profit, and earning money in voluntary exchange" for that particular drain on personal wealth.
Binswanger proposes that anyone worth $1 million or more be exempt from taxation and publicly thanked and honored for their work, which wasn't at all aided by tax abatements or cheap labor in squalid conditions.
"So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year's top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor."
Unfortunately for Binswanger, as he knows all too well, the founding fathers didn't care much for that line of thinking. Having seen it manifest beneath The Crown, they put together a framework that exists counter to the Objectivist notions that wouldn't exist until nearly two centuries later.
"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it."
In the old days the top 1% provided jobs to the masses.Now, companies like GE have
more employees in foreign countries than the US.CEO`S getting $100,000,000 a year
is over the top.Their buyouts for screwing up is also wrong.The shareholders aren't the
checks and balances they should be.
When in the course of political current affairs, we detect that our CONgress has sold us out to the 1 percent in the name of 'trickle down', it becomes past time for our citizens to rally around a different philosophy and enact a new course of direction.
Just one example: All polls indicate the majority want Obamacare, yet a small cadre of die-hard idealists known as the Tea Party have become the 'tail which wags the dog', slavishly denying the will of the majority while defying the laws of reality via demagoguery and deceit. "
The majority do NOT want Obamacare" they cry. And yet, they themselves enjoy far superior health plans in the interim, having voted to exclude themselves from anything less than publicly-paid 'Cadillac plans'. Is there any extent to which they will not go to help themselves to the public treasury on the one hand, while sniveling about how 'broke' the nation is on the other?
As John Adams said, its nearing the inflection point for all to reconsider just how much 'value' this current legislature has for us, and to begin the movement to turn them out one by one until they grasp the major point- that is, does the government exist to nurture and protect the assets of the much-suckled One Percent, or does it exist for a far nobler purpose...to protect US from Them?
Thank you and good day.
The problem is, government does not work for the good of common man. They work for the good of themselves and their friends. Like special exemptions from Obama care for congress, certain large corporations, and unions....the rest of us fools can pick up the tab.
Government should be put on a large diet, like in the neighborhood of 60% less revenue. In this way, there is less power to corrupt. Private enterprise can pick up slack where needed in an inherently more efficient way.
When government takes such a large portion of your earnings, you have in effect become a slave. When you add up all they take from you directly in taxes, plus add more taxes you pay indirectly so corporations can pay their taxes, and also take into account the effect government regulations have on pushing prices higher, I bet an average earner is lucky to keep 30% of they produce. My number may not be entirely correct but in the ballpark...
Are we sure this Binswanger piece wasn't actually supposed to be published in "The Onion"?
OK Harry, I’m sold. Please send me Lloyd Blankfein’s home address, phone number, and email, so that I can personally, ahh, thank him in my own way for all he has done to (I mean for) me.
"an Ayn Rand devotee"
"millionaires should be exempt from taxes... rewarded with public displays of gratitude"
So... a sociopath, then. Alrighty.
Don't get me wrong. As a student of philosophy in general, Ayn Rand and Objectivism has some interesting points. But taken as a whole, and especially when applied in a social Darwinism context, it is a recipe for self-justified megalomania.
The Federal Gov't should be reduced to making treaties, protecting commerce and having a standing army to defend the USA from attacks as was designed in the beginning. The rest should be left to the States to handle as was designed in the Bill of Rights.
Everyone should be able to keep their earnings except a tax for each state helping the Federal Standing Army, commerce and making treaties. All Senators and Representatives should be limited to a 6 year term paid for by their own states.
The Federal Gov't is too big and should be cut down to where it only does what it was designed to do (above).
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