May 29, 2014

So tired of mass shootings

And I am so tired of the NRA.  I so wish that responsible gun owners would take that organization back.  They won't, anymore than the responsible conservatives will reclaim the GOP, but it would be nice.

NRA finally meets its match: Why Richard Martinez should have them shaking -

I still say that the gun people are really flirting with disaster.  Every day I read about idiots carrying guns into restaurants just to be asses, or about accidental shootings.  At some point, the public sentiment could change, and if it does, gun owners will be as defensive as the tobacco industry.  Actually, they already are.

And let me add, that I am most tired of the fact that we have these mass shootings and the political culture is just ok with them.  We have idiots like Joe the Plumber attacking those who lost people--predictable, in that we will have that from the NRA in mere days.  But we as a nation just shake our heads and say, "oh well."  I think it is John Oliver who jokes that one failed shoe bomb has us all taking off our shoes going through security, but mass shootings has us loosening gun laws.

May 13, 2014

Taxes and guns

There is a case to be made that the 1% have played their hand badly.  After all, as Matt Yglesias points out, this guy made more last year than every kindergarten teacher combined.  Robert Reich does the math and suggests that Tepper made in the neighborhood of $1,750,000 an hour.  An hour.  Can anyone even imagine that much money?  I can't.  Yet, this guy pays a lower income tax than we do, since his wealth is considered capital gains and not income.  Add to that, the constant whining of the very same people that anyone talking about taxes is emulating Hitler, and you have a group of people who might be losing the perception war.

For the most part, our discussion on taxes has always focused on revenue and fairness.   Despite that approach, the right has chosen to depict calls for higher taxes as "class warfare," where we want to "punish success."  Of course, that isn't true, but maybe it should be.  Not to punish success, but at a certain point, perhaps we have to start taxing these super rich simply to keep them from being super rich.  Matt Yglesias, again, seems to be the first one to suggest it, but I think that more bad actions from these rich people, and the growing inequality is going to breed more resentment.  (Beyond the Laffer Curve — the case for confiscatory taxation - Vox)  Which, of course, is why many conservatives through history have called, at least, for a robust safety net, simply to keep lower class resentment from growing.  Or to make sure those lower class people can purchase the goods that make the wealthy wealthy.

But maybe at some point, we tax them simply because we don't like them.  I am not sure that is the best policy, but we are headed there--or we are headed toward complete oligarchy.

So why guns?  We are further away on this issue, but I would contend that the gun culture's tendency lately to wave their guns and gun rights in our faces will ultimately create a backlash.  Most non gun owners I know are content to support 2nd amendment rights, though they find, like I do, the NRA to be a group of fascist sociopaths.  They know that most gun owners are not like that.  But if the right decides to turn every street into an armed street, and every public building into one filled with gun people--at some point, that constitutional right might be amended.  Gun rights people might want to learn from watching the 1% annoy everyone.

I am quite confident that the NRA will continue to be offensive and horrible.  Just as I am pretty convinced the 1% will continue to wave their money in our face.  We will see how the people respond.