How Liberals Screw the 47 Percent
Everyone's getting their knickers in a twist about the 47 percent that Mitt Romney figures are going to vote for Barack Obama, no matter what. But do you know why they will vote for Barack?
The message is simple. Earn $3,600 per year as head of a family of three, and your net earnings (after taxes and government benefits) will amount to $31,630. But if you earn $60,000 a year, your net earnings will be $34,366. In other words, if you work your tail off and increase your earnings by $56,400, you will be only $2,736 ahead in take-home pay. The reason is that your government benefits will be cranked down from $30,762 a year to zero, and your taxes (including child care) will crank up from $2,787 a year to $25,634. Talk about chump change.
But I am not interested in the raw numbers; I am interested in the science behind the numbers. It is true that I never read "Science Tuesday" in The New York Times or listen to "Science Friday" on NPR, but I am still interested in science. In this case, of course, the science in question is economic science. It is the branch of economic science called "marginal economics" that came in ten years after Karl Marx nailed his colors to the labor theory of value in Capital.
Marginal economics solved the problem that had hag-ridden the classical economists. How could a jewel, that has high exchange value but low use value, be more valuable than a tractor that has low exchange value but high use value? The answer was that use value and exchange value are meaningless concepts. What counts is what the next buyer is willing to pay for a jewel or a tractor. Ever since, lefties have been in denial about this settled science. Some might even call them "deniers."
Here, we are interested in a question: suppose I am a welfare recipient and I decide to earn some more money. What will be the bottom line? How much extra money will I take home if I earn more money? What is the marginal tax rate I will experience? So I have Wyatt Emmerich's spreadsheet to show his results using the settled science of marginal economics (xls here). The result is not pretty. If you are squeamish about oppression, hegemony, marginalization, and all that stuff, I suggest you stop reading now.
You can see what our liberal overseers have being doing down at the liberal welfare office. They have made it extremely difficult for any of their helpless victims to leave the liberal plantation. Of course they would.
If a worthy striver tries to break the bonds of dependency and increase her income from $3,625 to $14,500, the government will take away 43 percent of every extra dollar earned. But that is not the worst of it. If that welfare recipient really tries to bootstrap her way out of the poverty trap by increasing her earnings from $14,500 up to $30,000 per year, the government will take away 167 percent of every extra dollar she earns. Let's rephrase that. If a worker earns a dollar more in wages the government, will take away that dollar and 67 cents more besides. Only when she starts earning over $30,000 per year will her marginal tax rate come down to a mere 77 percent.
So now you see what President Obama really means by "fairness." He wants chaps like himself and Dave Letterman to get a taste of the unjust and cruel marginal tax rate that a helpless welfare victim pays, the murderous fire of canister and grape she must hope to survive, as she and her sisters try to rush up the welfare-state glacis to capture the citadel of middle-class prosperity.
Now, I am not accusing our liberal friends of deliberately setting up a killing ground for the 47 percent or even something as mild as a trap for welfare Heffalumps. Not at all. Few liberals understand marginal economics and marginal tax rates for all the time they spend consulting their various Science Tuesdays and Science Fridays.
But I am suggesting that liberals have over the years instinctively learned, with what Michael Polanyi called "tacit knowledge," how to build a welfare state that imprisons 47 percent of Americans or more under the bureaucratic domination of the administrative welfare state and that keeps that 47 percent voting Democratic.
And I demand to know how much longer liberals propose to continue oppressing the 47 percent with this monstrous, unjust, cruel system that subjects so many Americans to a life of breaking rocks on the road to serfdom.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.