Friday, September 24, 2010

Poor Poor Pitiful He

So, earlier this week I came across a piece someone had posted online and got so much grief about it that he not only deleted his post but gave up blogging. Ouch. Here's the original story as I saw was on Huffington Post a few days ago:

As it says, the original post had already been deleted by the time I heard about it, but such is the internet that the full text was still available elsewhere, having been re-posted by someone else interested in the issue:

If you're interested at all, be sure to read at least the first few comments in the thread afterwards, in which Henderson provides a lot more information and moderates some of his assertions.

Finally, for sympathetic commentary from someone who feels his pain, check out

This commenter wins points from me by saying ". . . fine. I’m willing to pay my share, albeit begrudgingly."

My own point of view? Yes, if you make a quarter-million a year, you're near enough to rich that you might as well describe yourself as "extremely well off" rather than "just getting by". But living in a major city is prohibitively expensive, and buying a too-large house is a good way to run up more debt than you can handle, especially if you and your wife combined already owe student loans that combined total MORE THAN DOUBLE your gross income each year. If you live like your income was four or five times what it actually is, you'll still be strapped no matter how much money you make. But talking about your maid service, your yard service, your "nanny" (actually just off-site daycare), and private schools lose you a lot of good will. Mr. Henderson also voids a good deal of sympathy by his falsely misrepresenting the expiration of a temporary cut as "raising my taxes": like his griping about all the things he doesn't want his money going for it makes him sound like a tax deadbeat.*

Here's one way to put it:
Paying about two-fifths of your income in taxes sounds about right, but then most people have a fantastically exaggerated idea of how low a 'fair' tax rate should be, based more I think on local sales taxes than what it actually costs to run all those government services we all rely on. I suspect most think one-tenth or so sounds about right, though of course if they got that they wd complain bitterly about its still being too high.

To put it another way:
If you're making a quarter-million dollars, and you're barely getting by, you're doing something wrong.

Hence my favorite quote from among all the comments I read, in which one person who did consider himself well-off passed the following judgment: "The reality is that anyone that complains of the minimal tax pinch on $250K earning families is either so hopelessly financially incompetent that they need to turn they're financial matters over to a guardian [or] completely clueless as to life's realities . . ."

--John R.

*what don't I want MY money going for? the easy answer, for a pacifist, is: War. Much better to think of your portion as going for the things you approve of that your government does, like, say, free public libraries, rather than the things you dislike.

Postscript: Janice pointed out another interesting commentary on Henderson's post, which I found well worth reading:


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