The Folly of the Flat Tax
As usual, Peter Stubben’s “Commentary on Things Present” shows as much contempt for basic economic theory as it does for the rules of standard written English. The flat tax is just another Republican scheme designed to redistribute wealth to the wealthy, bilk the poor out of their meager earnings, and destroy the system of progressive taxation begun under Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Stubben trumpets the fact that half this nation’s citizens don’t pay for government services. However, he neglects to mention that fifty-percent of American families make less than $60,000 a year, that the gap between the rich and the poor is the widest it has been since the Gilded Age, and that our entitlements cost far less than what the privileged princes of the economic order extracted from the latest tax deal and what we have wasted on the elective war in Iraq. The answer to our revenue woes lies not in the flat tax, but in a crackdown that compels corporations to pay the piper and simplifies IRS rules so that everyone can understand them.
That being said, Anthony Weiner and other brave liberals fought the good fight against President Obama’s cave-in to the conservatives on taxes and recognized it for what it is: a national disgrace and a total, unmitigated disaster. They are the conscience of the Congress and over the past two years they have struggled for and won near-universal health care (which is constitutional under the Commerce Clause and should have included a public option), a comprehensive overhaul of the financial system, a repeal of the horribly bigoted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and aid for 9/11 first-responders. This was all accomplished with minimal help from Republicans, who have filibustered every major piece of legislation and put the politics of party line before the needs of the nation. I know what Mr. Stubben wants in 2011: for the resurgent right to bully progressives like Weiner into submission. What I hope is that leaders like our Representative hold fast to their principled stands on the issues in the face of a newly empowered Republican Party. I hope that our President screws his courage to the sticking place and learns how to punch.