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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

There is an old saying about statistics, that there are lies, and damned lies, and statistics, as though statistics are lies.

See, I don't believe that accurately calculated statistics lie. Any given statistic is what it is, but no one statistic can or ever will tell the story by itself. Statistics are only useful in the context of all the associated statistics that go with them. For instance the average number, such as taxes paid is meaningless without knowing the standard deviation around the mean.

And so while statistics don't lie, you can sure as hell lie with statistics. I keep hearing the mother fucking god damn Repiglicans claiming the rich already pay more than their fair share of taxes in this country. It is true, the rich pay a lot of the taxes but that claim is meaningless and a distraction meant to keep us from looking further into the truth of it.

The question is not how much the rich pay as a percentage of the tax burden in this country. The question is how much they pay as a percentage of their own income. I have written this before and I will write it again. They pay LESS as a percentage of their income than tax payers in the middle class.

So if a rich guy paid a million dollars in taxes last year, you would say, yes, that lord master over us paid a lot of money in taxes.

But if that lord master made a hundred million dollars and only paid 1 million dollars in taxes, then he only paid 1% of his income in taxes while we, with our almost infinitely smaller incomes paid a hell of a lot more.

Under President Eisenhower that rich person would have had to face a progressive top rate up to 91% on that $100 million and President Eisenhower argued strongly in favor of that tax rate on the rich.

And so when you see pot holes in the roads that aren't fixed, or schools closed, police and fireman fired, and all sorts of public services cut, that is the direct result of the rich and corporations paying virtually nothing in taxes while they have the vast bulk of the wealth Michael Moore spoke about.

So don't buy the bullshit repiglican line about the rich already bearing the burden, They aren't. They are free loaders on us.

And one thing they should remember, no one ever gets rich in a vacuum. Corporations should especially be concerned about that. If there is no middle class because we have all become poverty stricken serfs, who is going to buy their product? No one, that is who, and as we spiral into the poverty they are imposing on us, their gravy train ends.

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At 5:11 AM, Blogger Professor Chaos said...

Thank you! It drives me crazy every time I hear that "the rich pay this or that percentage" argument. As if we are supposed to be fooled by that into thinking "yeah, we should totally cut those poor millionaires a tax break."

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

i don't think the middle class in this country is at all relevent to multi-national corporations who are merely headquartered in this country. just as they have moved their manufacturing to cheaper labor markets overseas, aren't they also moving their sales to the emerging middle class markets in these countries? profits are their only concern. what profits they lose in this country will be made up in increasing profits in the expanding middle classes in foreign markets.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

You, Sir, are an optimist. It is infinitely worse than you think. The Corporations are doing just fine, thank you, by selling their products overseas. The only use that the rich have for US citizens anymore is as a big piggy bank. They are extracting the wealth of our nation for themselves – the Rich are now truly international and can no longer be considered citizens of any nation. No loyalty, no feeling of community, no pride in the heritage of any nation or people. Rich Americans have a lot more in common with Rich Saudis, Germans, or Chinese than they do with middleclass Americans.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Friend of TPC said...

Professor Chaos, Richard, James, all great comments and observations from you. I have not checked in on this post over the past week as I have been overwhelmed with the whole disaster in Japan. What a nightmare they are going through.

But you are right. We, the American worker and consumer are becoming irrelevant to the corporations and the rich. After they have sucked everything they can out of us, they'll just move on to other countries as you say and suck the life out there to. But even that will come to an end for them as the workers of the world unite!


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