Sunday, October 9, 2011

This One's For You

Herewith a quick and perhaps surprising comment on the value of information gleaned from Internet sources.  Though I'm sure to some it may sound like damning with faint praise, it actually is a genuine, if grudging, nod of approval.  The damning, if there be any from me on this glorious Sunday morning as we enjoy a champagne brunch and prep for another exciting excursion into the ridiculously alluring, fascinating, yet wholly impertinent world of New Orleans Saints football entertainment, will come in the next post concerning the manner in which the "sainted" Steve Jobs really should be remembered.

Earlier this morning, on the Face The Nation political interview program, Bob Schieffer hosted two guests, Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.  I said this will be quick, so I won't trouble you with the radical idiocy of Gingrich regarding the need to hang federal judges before the U.S. Congress.  Rather, I want to tackle the way in which Cain is misrepresenting his ridiculous 9-9-9 tax proposal, and the lame failure of revered mainstream media personalities to call him on it. 

Schieffer asked Cain if his proposal would represent a tax increase on the working poor.  Cain responded that it would not because it would replace the 15.3% payroll tax the working poor currently pay with a 9% tax.  This is blatantly and glaringly false, yet Schieffer accepted the lie as if it were Gospel truth.  Well, the truth is that the working poor and all working people up to the $106,800 annual income level pay 6.2% in Social Security tax and 1.45% in Medicare tax on their earnings, for a total of 7.65%.  Hence, the Cain 9% tax rate for these purposes would come to an increase of 1.35% on the working poor and middle class workers.

The higher 15.3% number reflects the fact that employers are required to match the employee contribution.  And that is precisely what this fight is all about.  The greedy employers want to escape all responsibility for supporting the social safety net.  That fact is part and parcel of every Republican tax scheme that has been advanced, including Cain's phony 9-9-9 proposal.  And if anyone seriously wants to argue that employers would raise employee compensation as a result of being relieved of the tax, rather than pocket the windfall so they can buy another Mercedes, you may as well start by trying to convince us that the Easter bunny lays chocolate eggs in our baskets.

But the overriding point of this comment is aimed at exposing the wrongheadedness of the conventional wisdom that gray beard, mainstream media types like Schieffer are reliable journalists who assiduously ferret out the truth.  That is a false idol.  Most of these made-up, blow-dried clowns are either corporate stooges or declining wretches drowning in their dotage.

We all know to be cautious or sceptical of information obtained from Internet sources.  So in a sort of quirky ironic sense, that makes it far more reliable than unquestioned mainstream output.

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