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David M. Rubenstein is a squillionaire asshole

Get a load of this hagiography in the Times. They must be trying to undo all the good work squillionaire assholes Sam Zell and Tom Perkins did.

The United States cannot afford to do the things it used to do,” Mr. [David M.] Rubenstein said, “and I think it would be a good thing if more people would say: ‘My national zoo needs money, the archives need money. I think we’re going to have to do more for them.’ ”

And there is plenty more to do in a city that has not only suffered from cutbacks in federal spending but which historically has lacked both the wealth and the philanthropic traditions of places like New York.

If you believe that taxes fund spending, then what we ought to be doing is clawing back a few squillions from assholes like Rubinstein, and the government could "afford" to do a lot more than it does, and moreover spend the money on what the people decide to spend it on democratically, instead of on whatever bees squillionaire assholes have in their bonnets this week or this month. Resetting the income tax top rate to Eisenhower levels (91%) would be an excellent start.

And if you believe, correctly, that taxes do not fund spending -- that is, if you buy into MMT -- then (a) the United States can "afford" to fund whatever it has the productive capacity to do, even though (b) squillionaire assholes like Rubenstein, Zell, Tyler, et al. have funded and own the many institutions and individuals that will tell you otherwise, when you watch the teebee, listen to those nice folks on NPR, or pay attention to agnotology propagated by the political class.

What a farce. A great nation, relying on scraps from a squillionaire asshole's table. What next? Titles of nobility?

UPDATE Misses this: "My national zoo." Indeed, Dave -- if I may call you Dave. Indeed.

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hyperpolarizer's picture
Submitted by hyperpolarizer on

The Eisenhower years were a prosperous time, top marginal rate notwithstanding. I was a little kid (5 years old in 1952) so how would I know, other than by reading later economic historians on the 'postwar boom?'

My testimony is in fact personal. I lived in those years in Rangeley -- a fairly remote town in the western Maine (Mount Washington in New Hampshire was visible on clear days across the lakes.) Rangeley had little to support it other than pulpwood in the winter and tourist trade in the summer -- snow mobiles had not yet arrived to shatter the calm of winter afternoons. Rangeley, with its population of about 800, was also a bit of commercial center in that area, with a dentist, a doctor, a veterinarian, etc.-- a thriving metropolis in comparison with godforsaken places like Philips and Madrid, a few tens of miles down Route 4.

So what was my barometer of economic health? What I remember factually is that every family, save one that inhabited a tar paper shack, lived in a decent home-- many were in fact beautiful, by any standard. Everyone had a fishing boat, of varying degrees of elegance, the low ball version being the famous (now defunct) 'Rangeley boat' -- a sleek and beautiful clinker-built darling, which could be rowed or motor driven. Many people had remote camps for hunting in deer season. There was a movie theatre that played anything you wanted to see, as long as it was a Western. There was a sense of bonhomie when one visited the local merchants. Everyone went out to fish, when the ice came off the lakes, but before the arrival of the summer tourists (summer complaints)-- the salmon and trout were still in shallow water and could be fished from shore.

If a backwater like Rangeley throve under a top marginal rate of 91%, I pronounce the Eisenhower years to have been -- on my personal testimony-- Prosperous Times.