Thursday, November 1, 2007

That Explains It

The graph a couple of posts ago showed that the moderately rich aren't fairing nearly as well as the super rich when it comes to tax breaks. Today, Crooked Timber provides some possible explanation as to why:

“It is getting nasty: below the belt stuff; delving into people’s personal lives; crossing lines,” added the lobbyist, who was critical of colleagues but reluctant to repeat publicly allegations being made privately about lawmakers and congressional staff. People close to industry lobby groups such as the Private Equity Council and the Managed Funds Association are adamant they are not to blame for any sharp elbows thrown on Capitol Hill. Privately they tend to blame each other for black eyes to the industry’s reputation.

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that Callan (who is an excellent and careful journalist, as best as I can tell from his previous articles) is suggesting that hedge fund lobbyists are blackmailing politicians and their aides over their personal lives, or doing the next best thing to it. Is there another plausible explanation that I’m missing here?

Oh right, blackmail. But blackmail is such a strong word. A quote comes to mind:

From Futurama --
Bender: Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer "extortion." The "X" makes it sound cool.

Meanwhile Kevin Drum emphasizes the other point of the article very nicely:
If a party of the working class isn't willing to close a ridiculous loophole that provides a certain class of high-roller billionaires with a tax rate that's half of what ordinary people have to pay, what are they here for?

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