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Michaelnomics (Updated)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009 by Michael Reynolds

One of the many religious tenets of the Church of Saint Ronnie O'Reagan is this: if you raise marginal rates on the well-off, the well-off will stop trying to earn money. You can see some of that in comments here.

I'm no economist. (Also no brain surgeon, rocket scientist or hedge fund manager.) But I understand my own, personal economics.

By virtue of being just so darned brilliant I have a good couple of years ahead economically. (Touch wood, throw black cat over shoulder. Or however that goes.) In fact, I have an ass-load of work. And for that work I'll earn half an ass-load of money.

But, let's say a publisher suggests that I might be in line for still more work. At roughly the same time Mr. Obama and Mr. Schwarzzenegger sidle up beside me, each armed with a big tube of KY and looking for a little Michael love.

So, knowing that my marginal tax rate is going up, what do I do? Duh. I jump at the chance to work harder. Why? Because . . . and Republicans might want to lean close to hear this . . . 40% of SOMETHING beats hell out of 60% of NOTHING.

See, kids, here's the thing: if I have a choice between more money and less money, you know what I always choose? More. I know: controversial. But me, I like more. It's so much better than less.

Let's break this down for the slow class. Let's say this publisher offers to pay us 100k. In the old days that would translate to 60k. Now it will translate to 40k. The Republican theory is that I would LEAP to snatch up that 60, but RUN AWAY from the 40.

And you wonder how they managed to bankrupt the country.

In fact, and here's the salient point, I will take the deal in part because of the tax increase. That's right: I will work harder because of the tax increases. You know why? Because all my other deals just went from 60 to 40, too. And, as discussed above, I like more money rather than less.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Schwarzzenegger are going to take 60% rather than 40%, so I have to make that up somewhere. Right? I'm going to make it up by working more and harder. In other words, I'll have to become more productive. And in the process I will create jobs. Most of that money will go to editors, publicity people, lawyers, corporate weasels, Borders truck drivers and Barnes and Noble clerks.

If Republican theory were correct I'd turn down this theoretical deal. Which I would do. If I were a fucking idiot.

Higher marginal tax rates don't make me want to work less. They make me want to work more. I suspect they have the same effect on anyone who is in a position to increase his productivity.

UPDATE #1: It may not be obvious but the 40%/60% numbers are place holders. God only knows what the actual numbers will end up being.

UPDATE #2: For a much more thoughtful, well-researched post on the subject go here.

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Outperforming Eunuchs

by Michael Reynolds

What is the point in writing about politics now? I mean, I need some opposition to really get motivated. There has to be some jeopardy. It's a sport to me, you know? And this game is so one-sided it's Godzilla vs. Bambi. It's like debating a coma victim. It's like boxing a corpse. Outwitting a hamster. Outperforming a eunuch. Um. . . that's all I can think of right now.

Is there any way the GOP could be more thoroughly fucked?

Obama is riding high. The Democratic Party outpolls the GOP two-to-one. The public has said Mr. Obama inherited this mess and is ready to be patient.

The right track/wrong track number just took its single biggest peacetime jump ever.

And the public is quite clear on this: any failure of bipartisanship is the fault of Republicans.

Meanwhile, GOP pooh-bahs are left to argue whether they should genuflect to a deeply unattractive, drug-addicted, race-baiting, philosophically incoherent radio talk show host; or whether they need to actually drop to their knees and blow the deeply unattractive, drug-addicted, race-baiting, philosophically incoherent radio talk show host.

Ours: Barack Obama.
Theirs: Rush Limbaugh.

Seriously. Why bother?

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