Oh, boy. All that shattering of bank windows and terrorizing of family-owned food carts – damn teenagers, building up their work ethic and getting a head start on life! – has finally paid off for Occupy Wall Street. (Not to mention all the pissing on the sidewalk and blocking street traffic. Your starving babies will have to wait. We have to do our zombie dances and scream in that mustached, network dude’s face for no apparent reason.) It’s just not fair, they seem to think, that folks like Steve Jobs stuffed their pockets by, you know – working 18 hours a day, breaking a sweat, taking risks with their own capital, and providing us with software, digital marvels, and handheld talky-gizmos which have only, like, revolutionized the way we share information, communicate, and do business. Bleh.
So what if our lives are so much easier, now that we don’t have to kill so many trees or ship 1000-page piles of paper all over the place? So what if we’re not dragging around our personal computers in bags of equipment that weigh more than a sack of rocks, now that they’re so much more compact and slim? So what if I don’t have to listen to Grandma’s polka music when I’m riding in the backseat of her Buick, now that thousands of tunes fit neatly in my own pants pocket? It doesn’t matter because he had more stuff than I did, and I want it, and I’m jealous, and – wahhhhh. I hate my life.
So, President “You Didn’t Build That Business” Obama is hiking the tax on capital gains to show those money-grubbing, good-for-nothing architects of civilization what’s for. ‘Bout time we punish those productive businesspeople for making a profit by … giving us what we want at affordable prices. Why, of all the nerve! How dare they provide valuable services and invest their money in fork lifts and assembly lines that allow us to produce more and more stuff, with fewer and fewer hands, in less time and less time than ever before? How dare they put thousands of people to work?
Capital gains and dividends taxes don’t punish Ebenezer Scrooges who are swimming in vaults full of cash, keeping it stored away from the rest of us rubes. No, it punishes those who take a huge chunk of their profits and, well, cycle it right back through the company budget. You know: in such wasteful extravagancies as, um, worker’s wages and tools and building renovations and research and pointless, unimportant stuff like that.
I’m not bluffing about how big this financial tidal wave is going to be. The rate right now, for both categories of taxes, is 15 percent. Dividends is going all the way up to 24 percent. And capital gains? Um … to over 40 percent.
What in the name of Vishnu are “dividends,” anyway? That’s a pretty fancy, schmancy word, some would say. It’s really not that complicated, though. No, really. If our senior textbooks didn’t read like children’s picture books from the 1930s, we’d probably all know the meaning of that term by now. It’s basically just a payment to shareholders who own stocks in a company. Firms sell “portions” of the company, so to speak, to raise capital for, in many cases, what starts out as a fledgling enterprise. And you get a percentage of the money the business makes. It’s obviously more complicated than that, but that’s the simple, short-hand explanation that every grade-schooler should have down pat by now.
Pop quiz. Whose portfolio gets beaten up the worst when these taxes are jacked up? Is it A) Retired, pipe-smoking, monocle-wearing CEOs who fly every summer on their own private jet to their own private island, which is home to a golden palace filled with monkey butlers, indoor amusement parks, and underwater aquariums, B) Some exotic European king who can’t speak a word of English and depends on his 5-year-old child slaves to translate the Wall Street Journal for him, or C) Old people, orphans, middle class schmos, and the folks you’d be least likely to find shopping at a Tiffany & Company or Marc Jacobs? Ding, ding, ding. Guess I wasn’t subtle enough. Drat.
Er, do our politicians not realize that when you raise taxes on someone, it changes the way they choose to spend their money? Their economic behavior doesn’t stay the way it is. It’s altered, modified, and adjusted so he or she can pay as little tax as humanely possible. Management will start putting layoff notices on the desks of their workers, take down the “Help Wanted” signs, conduct less product development research, manufacture less, and, well … stash their money away in tax-free bonds and offshore accounts. Rich people aren’t stupid. They know how to hide their money. Plus, if they really wanted to, the wealthy could just zoom off on their jets and head off to a country where the tax rates aren’t so, well – kerbloosh! If your goal is outsourcing jobs and exporting capital, um, that would just about do it.
Somebody back me up here. I’m just making this stuff up. Actually, wait a minute. Scratch that. Good ol’ Ernst and Young knows what I’m talking about. Woot! Being a corporate shill does pay off, after all. Take that, Janet Evanovich! The study finds that Obama’s tax plan will slow the economy. It will reduce our GDP by several billion dollars, and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be destroyed. For pretty much the reasons I detailed above. There. That settles it. (Not really, but hey, I’m a teenage blogger, not a Human Events columnist. What do you expect?)
The President is basically punishing people for satisfying the needs of shareholders. In other words, don’t expand your manufacturing base. Don’t buy new tools, equipment, or machinery. God forbid you profit from your ability to foresee market trends. Not exactly a recipe for jumpstarting our flagrant economy, is it? If the E&Y study has anything to say about it, wages and total employment will go the way of all flesh.
The rest of Obama’s plan is just a bunch of gobbledy-gook. He plans to bribe seniors and the unemployed with income tax credits. He’s actively encouraging college kids to go deeper into debt with his “loan” deductions. The genius of it all. It’s unbearable! So, basically he’s stimulating consumption and sloth over long-term, future-oriented investment.
Give him a round of applause, everyone. So this is what he means by “Forward.” Forward back in time, that is. (What?)