Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Jill Lepore, God Love Her

Over to The New Yorker, Jill Lepore has another essay on the roots of American Conservatism. Last time it was national health care and the lies they told to defeat it. This time (sub req) it is on taxation and the role of slaveholders and plutocrats in delaying or undermining progressive taxation.

One reason to read Lepore is that she is a great writer and another reason is because she is the quintessence of professional historical writing.

I take minor issue with her claim that no one defends taxation. No one who anyone in positions of power or influence is willing to listen to defends taxation but lots of us have been beating the drum for more taxes and their necessity for a decent society for an awfully long time. Indeed, the fact of the matter is that the critics of neoliberalism get no respect just as the critics of the neocon part of war get no respect. The fact that both sets of critics, and they overlap, have been consistently right only makes the deafening official silence on these criticism more galling.

Ideally these two essays are going to be part of a longer-term and longer-form investigation of the roots and methods of American Conservatism.

Math is Hard

As we now know without a shadow of a doubt the Right in America persists because of and insists on a series of lies and distortions to attempt to destroy the nation because of their unholy loyalty to plutocrats.

In an apparent attempt re-enforce this image, Lloyd Blankenfeind forwarded this wholly absurd claim:

You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn’t devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career.
 Leaving aside the more or less unchanged nature of post retirement life expectancy, who on earth works for 25 years? I mean the average teenager has some kind of job by the time they are 16 and nearly everyone retires between the ages of 62 and 65. If I add 25 to 16 I get 41. Some small time crook who has gamed Wall Street or reaped the rewards of helping other game Wall Street might retire at 41 but you know people become crooks because they are too lazy for honest work.

As near as I can figure the vast majority of Americans work for 49 years or so in a variety of jobs after which they retire and then soon die.

Blankfein is supposed to be some kind of a genius at maths and investment and yet it would seem he can neither add nor does he understand the statistics of life expectancy. No wonder he and his fellow managerial geniuses ruined the economy; they are, in fact, dumb as dirt and twice as filthy.