Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mississippi mud pie: Haley's Lil' White Lie...

"Where I come from the White Citizens Council were town leaders."
Ezra Klein notes Mississippi Governor Haley Barbor claiming he'd “dug out of a $720 million budget hole in two years without raising anybody’s taxes."
Klein: The problem? Barbour had raised a couple of taxes. But give him his credit: He hadn’t raised income taxes. Rather, he’d raised cigarette taxes and taxes on facilities for the mentally disabled — taxes, in other words, that fall fairly regressively.
Turns out he’s working in a time-honored tradition in the South.

The Gap

Image courtesy of Super Yachts, Lustre Ltd.

25% of home-owners are "under water."
As has been noted with a certain sense of alarm by those among us who believe that a rising economic tide should "lift all boats" rather than just luxury yachts, the income gap between the middle class and even "upper-" and "upper-upper-" middle class as well as lower income folks,  and the economic elite has become much greater over the last 30 years.    

Between 1980 and 2005, more than 80% of the increase in total incomes went to the top 1%.  

Eighty per-cent of the growth in incomes went to one per-cent - a fact that is in my view stunning and at least part of the reason we're in such precarious economic straits.  When wealth doesn't "trickle down," everything from our tax policies to our political discourse gets skewed by the resulting imbalance of economic power and the country suffers.  (Authentic conservatives, incidentally, should take note of this and be as alarmed as liberals or "progressives", because radical increases in economic inequality totally undermine the social cohesion, stable communities and family life, and moderation in our political system that traditionally draws folks to the  "conservative" promise - as distinct from the radicalism of free-market ideologues and right-wing extremists or self-serving agendas of the economic elite that "normal" conservatives often find themselves in bed with.)