Saturday, May 21, 2011

Schwarzenegger-Free Zone

There's a good article in Capitol Weekly on the unexpected $2 billion in income tax revenue that California's budget planners didn't expect. It appears that, as I noted in April, the rich are doing very well, so well in fact, that they paid $2 billion in taxes that the budget people didn't expect. What's interesting about the whole issue if the frame, of course. The anti-tax Republicans, of course, argue that this means we don't have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. Uh, we received $2 billion, not the $15 billion or so that the budget is out of balance, and most especially, the sum we would need to restore the services cut to the elderly, poor, disabled and the sick.

Then there's the other frame. This is the one that says California is too dependent on wealthy Californians and, implicitly, that we should start taxing poorer Californians more. (When Daniel Weintraub was at the Bee, he was a leading supporter of this argument.) Well, I might suggest that a neoliberal economy is necessarily dependent on taxing rich people, as no one else has any money. And that that is the point of the neoliberal economy--that's how it's supposed to work. One need only look at Third World countries, where the government squeezes the majority of the population, while the rich evade taxes entirely, to see what the "let's tax everyone 'equally'" system leads. It's really a system that squeezes blood from turnips.

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