Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wacky Pedia

First line of the "Pavement Discography" entry on Wikipedia: "Pavement is the best band of all time, literally. " Oh, those zany indie rock Wiki updaters! I like how they did it on the Pavement Discography page instead of the main Pavement page, hoping to slip under the radar.

Now that I got your attention with silliness, a couple good political pieces from this week to counter some of the more hysterical ideas coming from the right wing at this moment. From Obsidian Wings, a very funny takedown of a story about a lawyer who says she's going to "go John Galt" and try to earn less than $250K so as to avoid a higher marginal tax rate.

Wow. That is...just mind boggling. Allow me to explain the concept of marginal tax rates to our would-be Jane Galt (and her admirers, like Tennessee law professor (I'm as incredulous as you) Glenn Reynolds). The marginal tax rate structure means that you pay a certain rate for money earned within certain dollar amount brackets. So, to simplify with hypothetical rates: you pay zero income taxes on dollars 0-20,000, then you pay 15% on dollars 20,001-50,000, you pay 25% on dollars 50,000-100,000 and so on. You don't pay a higher rate on all of your dollars just because some of your dollars make it into a higher tax bracket. Only those dollars above the given threshold are subject to that rate.

The tax rate on earnings above $250,000 is presently 35% (lowered from 39.6% by Bush). Obama is proposing to restore that rate to the Clinton-era level of 39.6%. What this means is that for a married couple earning $300,000 (after above the line deductions), the dollars that they make above the $250,000 threshold would be taxed at 39.6% rather than 35%. But all earnings below the $250,000 would still be taxed at the same tiered rates as before! You don't pay 39.6% on all of your earnings simply because you surpassed that level!

The lack of reasoning and math skills involved in this position is dizzying. There's actually a much funnier assessment of this at Pandagon, but I thought I'd link to the more serious one first.

Next, John Cole at Balloon Juice produced this useful graph:

The 2010 proposed rate of 39.60% = socialism.
The 2002-2008 rates of 35.00% = capitalist nirvana.
The 39.6% rate of the 1990’s = socialism.
Everything else = down the memory hole.

That Obama fellow sure is soaking the rich, isn’t he?

Honestly, I'm pretty agnostic about a lot of what Barry is doing in this bailout/stimulus. Even I'm getting a bit queazy over the amount of cash he's throwing around. But some of the hyperbole from the right is just absurd. Oh yeah, and here's a great bit of relevent snark from Marc Cooper re: The L.A. Times.


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