The Truth about 'Supermajorities'
In a New York Times op-ed, "The Oppression of the Supermajority," Tim Wu argues that America is not polarized and divided, as "we are told," and that there are issues that get absolute support from all Americans — like higher taxes on the rich, guaranteed paid maternity leave, net neutrality, and lower drug prices. But the execution of the will of the "supermajority" is being stolen. By whom is not explicitly clarified — although lobbyists are vaguely mentioned: "Entire categories of public policy options are effectively off-limits because of the combined influence of industry groups and donor interests." Although finger-pointing is masterfully avoided, it may be reasonably assumed from context that mostly Republican fat cats are to blame, since the issues listed above represent a typical leftist agenda. Wu then goes on a somewhat expected attack on President Trump, who "with a few exceptions, like trade, has seemed to lose interest in what the broader public wants."
Indeed, there are major issues that unify all Americans, and not only Americans, in a broad perspective. People throughout the world want to be richer, to be able to take care of their newborn children without losing jobs, to pay less for medicine, to enjoy high-quality and timely medical services, and to live in a clean and safe environment. At the same time, one must distinguish between goals and methods, between strategy and tactics.
We all want to live better lives, but how can we achieve that? There are two fundamental ways to choose from. The first is the socialist way, which includes higher taxes needed to pay for the Heaven on Earth the Left pictures so alluringly. The other path is capitalism, which includes mechanisms of the free market along with reasonable regulations, moderate to low taxation for all, and free enterprise.
Socialist methods have a long and proven history of economic inefficiency. Numerous empirical studies based on stone-cold facts show that high taxes paired with generous welfare provisions slow down economic growth. This applies even to the Nordic model of the "democratic socialism" that most "progressive" leftists are so obsessed with. They won't tell us, however, that these countries, for starters, are not even "socialist," as they practice typical capitalist broad economic freedoms and, for example, have no minimum wage laws. Also, they built the wealth their citizens now enjoy long before leftist ideas took hold. Interestingly, when their economic growth started to slow down, the Scandinavian governments reacted by cutting down taxes and slashing the wasteful bureaucracy in half, and now Scandinavia is slowly "returning to its free market roots," as the experts put it.
Thus, when Wu dismisses the assumption that the public may be ill informed on crucial issues, he is not entirely sincere. Leftist politicians and the "fake news" media go the extra mile to misinform people. Unfair coverage, fact-twisting, and blatant lies have become commonplace in today's reporting and political rhetoric.
According to pollsters, nearly 75 percent of the registered voters support higher taxes on the super-rich. Yes, the same pollsters that first predicted Hillary Clinton would become president, and then that an economic collapse would result from Trump's presidency.
Let's assume they got it right this time. I wonder how much these attitudes were affected by the statements of Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and many others, as well as by the "analysis" of Marxist economists who keep calling the greed of "big corporations" and "ultra-wealthy multi-billionaires" a root cause of America's problems. How many times did they mention the fact that we already have a progressive tax system? That the top 1 percent earners pay more taxes than the bottom 90 percent? Or that the richest 10 percent in the country pay about 70 percent of the income tax, while Americans in the bottom half pay just 3 percent? Or that the slashing of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, introduced in Trump's tax cut plan, brought some $305.6 billion (which made a $1.2 trillion annual rate) back to the U.S. from overseas accounts in the first three months of 2018, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis? There's also another fact that the leftists ignore — the top earners generate a significant portion of their income from passive sources, such as capital gains and dividends rather than salary. For example, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos earned roughly $81,000 in 2017. However, he also owns nearly 80 million shares of Amazon stock, currently valued at more than $130 billion. Thus, a whopping 70 percent income tax, as proposed by Ocasio-Cortez, would apply only to his relatively modest salary, which, of course, still wouldn't be enough to pay for her "Green New Deal" or any other unrealistic "deal."
Also, if the Left sincerely believed that it is leftists who truly speak on behalf of the people, why would those same leftists keep fueling every election with the almighty dollar, outspending their counterparts by hundreds of millions of dollars ($300M in the midterms of 2018 and $230M in presidential elections of 2016), the lion's share of which came from single mega-donors? Why didn't they just rally on the issues that, as they said, appeal to all Americans? Is it because it was not the "common good" that drove them, but merely a lust for more power and a bigger government?
Last but not least, is it the right wing that calls for the elimination of the Electoral College that prevents the liberal hubs of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle from deciding on the political course of the whole country? Wouldn't it be a true suppression of the country's "supermajority" if they succeeded?
Indeed, America is not polarized, but she is certainly being fooled.