Nick Kristof’s Vicious Circle of Unreality

Mar 08 2012

It’s breathtaking the lengths The New York Times will go to, to be or to remain utterly untethered to reality.  Nick Kristof has a piece this morning (In Athens, Austerity’s Ugliness) wherein he seriously attempts to assert that Greece is proof that Keynes was RIGHT and that their difficulties lay NOT in government’s gross, gluttonous consumption of tax dollars but in… corruption… specifically the greed of the government officials who wanted more and more the the public tax dollar… which, of course, brings us right back to government’s gluttonous consumption of tax dollars which is EXACTLY what Keynes endorsed, so I’m not sure how Nick thought he was going to get out of this circle, but God bless him, he tried.

The comment I left there – we’ll see if they publish it – is below:

“…a tax bill of, say, $100,000, you pay $40,000 to the state…”

Uh – Isn’t that the same 39.5% Obama has us scheduled for starting January 1?

“Republicans are right to see in Greece some perils of an overgenerous government: The state sector was bloated, early retirements and pensions were sometimes absurd, and rigid labor markets undermined Greece’s competitiveness.”

Uh – Isn’t that EXACTLY what Obama is proposing vis-a-vis unions, and the “fair shake” “fair shot” and “secure retirement” Obama promises in a second term? Because he SURELY isn’t talking about LESS government spending on the middle class in order to insure middle-class workers have “security.”

“But the problem was not a welfare state — Greece has much less of a safety net than northern Europe. Rather, it was corruption, inefficiency and a system in which laws are optional.”

Uh – Couldn’t it be BOTH? And aren’t we NECK DEEP in similar (if not quite equal) corruption HERE?

Do you HONESTLY believe if Greece had an across the board 10% tax with a minimal welfare state they’d be in this fix? Because most people *I* know would be HAPPY to pay a “fair” percentage of their income – HAPPILY – for the privilege of living in America without any efforts to evade it AT ALL. It’s the CONSIFSCATORY nature of the taxes, sir. NOT THE TAXES THEMSELVES. Then, it’s the WASTE and INNEFICIENCY of what government DOES with those taxes that leads to this.

7 responses so far

  • Mike McCarthy

    Read this. Money isn’t what it appears to be.

    You can yell at me now. This may qualify as esoteric.

  • Mike McCarthy

    which, of course, brings us right back to government’s gluttonous consumption of tax dollars which is EXACTLY what Keynes endorsed

    This isn’t what Keynes wrote. Read Keynes, don’t read other people say about him.

    About the 39.5% rate. That only applies to income above a certain amount. Everyone pays a lower rate on lower income. Do you get marginal rates? I’ve commented on your past site. After a while you stopped allowing my comments through. What’s the difference between that and your doubts about the NYT letting your comments in. If your are consistent, barring nuttiness or profanity, you will allow my comments to appear. You wrote ‘we’ll see if they publish it ‘. We’ll see if you publish me.

    • Annie Ashe Fields

      I auto-publish everything unless it’s egregiously vile, so if you haven’t been published, it’s because the filter decided it based on my criteria, not based on the quality of your content. I think I’ve personally decline 2 posts in the entire time I’ve had this blog, and it wasn’t based in inanity.

      As to your haranguing on the marginal rate. Congratulations to you on correctly apprehending its meaning, but it doesn’t change the substance and principle of my argument. Tax avoidance is well known, even to liberal economists – and to behavioral economists; the administration is stuffed full of them, which makes their proposed policies all the more inexplicably hostile.

      • Mike McCarthy

        Look, I’ve suggested that you read Keynes. You assert that you are right without any evidence. I made no esoteric arguments.

        When you say we spent $1000 to develop a pill that that Sweden purchases for a dime – well what do you mean? What pill did Americans spend a thousand dollars to develop? If you mean something else, please state it clearly so I know what you mean.

        Next point in your rant.
        ‘A Joint Committee released a report last year that 51% (NOT the 47% widely reported) pay ZERO income tax. Don’t give me any sh*t about Social Security and other taxes. THAT’S A BAD PRINCIPLE. EVERYBODY should be at LEAST $1 – And I’d honest to God be good with that. Just $1, so at least they have skin in the game. But of the 51% who don’t pay taxes, ONE THIRD actually GET MONEY BACK!… ‘

        You admit that people who might not pay income tax do pay taxes. In fact, they pay lots of taxes. But you don’t want to hear that. Everyone should pay at least $1 in federal income tax. OK. Be honest, Annie, would you then be satisfied and accept that poor people get gov’t aid? I mean, I’ll go with your condition – all adults in the U.S. pay at least $1 in federal income tax and you and I will agree to helping the poor?

        You put words in my mouth. I’m not complaining about America. What did I say that complained about America? You’re arguing with someone who is not me.

        About the vile.. Can I write like you and use profanity if I use * for important vowels? I know its your blog. Just asking about the rules.

        • Annie Ashe Fields

          My post was clear.

          Read it again.

  • PaulSens

    Anne -
    I won’t comment on the rest of the rant but just point out that paying 40 % of your tax BILL is NOT the same as a 39.5% tax RATE. Fng economic ignorance and bad facts undermine what little credibility should be afforded your thinking.

    • Annie Ashe Fields


      Gold star.

      Doesn’t change a thing.

      Nice try though, my snarky little friend.

      Thanks for stopping by.