The masochists are the real problem

(Updated Below)

The folks at Balloon-Juice are ripping Andrew Sullivan a new one over a recent comment he made about liberals and taxes on the rich:

Why are so many on the left incapable of acknowledging that many people who are rich – but, of course by no means all of them – earned it the hard way? Until more liberals internalize this, they will fail to persuade America of the occasional need for government because people will rightly suspect that what they are really about is penalizing or diminishing hard work. By the way, I favor an inheritance tax. But I also favor allowing those who work hard to keep as much of their own money as possible.

I agree with Balloon-Juice that Sullivan is making a specious argument. One, I hardly think ‘liberals’ as a group believe that all rich people didn’t earn their money or work hard (in any case, Andrew cites as much evidence as I will here: none). Second, rich people would still bitch about higher taxes even if ‘liberals’ acknowledged they’re such hard workers and deserving people.

With that said, Andrew Sullivan hardly deserves as much ire as he’s drawing over this comment. He’s a rich guy who blogs all day. That means he’s gonna be pissed about higher taxes and he’s gonna say some stupid sh*t. I say a fair amount of stupid stuff and I only blog a few times a week. Imagine if I were pumping out 20+ posts a day!

The main problem is that so many Americans, regardless of income, agree with Andrew. I honestly don’t know what will sway these people’s minds, but if the Tea Party is any indication, the recession and the looting of America by rich bankers didn’t do the trick.

Update:
In an effort to prove that he is a big part of the problem, Andrew Sullivan responds to his critics and doubles down:

As a moral matter, I see no reason why people who work hard shouldn’t keep as much of their earnings as possible, and the only reason to tax them is to provide a safety net for the unlucky and sick and poor, and to fund essential functions of government (defense, law and order, public works, education, basic scientific research, etc).

John Cole counters:

Sullivan is right- there is class warfare going on. He just has no clue who is waging it and who is winning it. Over the last three decades, the rich and super-rich have been paying lower and lower taxes (in all areas- capital gains, marginal rates, etc.), getting a bigger and bigger piece of the pie and amassing more wealth concentrated in the fewest hands since the Gilded age, and what really bothers Sullivan is that we aren’t spending enough time fellating the rich for paying their taxes. The horror of it all.

You should definitely read Cole’s post in its entirety.

One Comment

  1. Ian

    Right, cause you know, poor people are just lazy. People who hold down 2-3 part time jobs in an effort to survive just don’t want it bad enough.