Thursday, April 21, 2011

Taxation Misrepresentation: @WSJ Earns Tufte Tsk-Tsk-Tsk

Edward Tufte would have just three words for the Wall Street Journal: "Where the Tax Money Is." Tsk, tsk, tsk. WSJ carves up IRS data into a False Middle Class:

The chart above is intended to impress and scare seventh grade educated newspaper readers into opposing any and all means of responsibly addressing the astronomical war debts incurred by the bi-partisan military industrial complex, just as Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower promised, 50 years ago.1

What's worth dwelling on for just a moment is the fact that these pictures all depend upon how one stacks the kindergarten blocks. In everyday America, the following is vastly closer to the True Middle Class we experience IRL. Take those blocks conveniently tossed aside to the right, by the right, and stack them up proper and you get a dramatically different picture.

But let's keep this real. We promise long ago that this was eventually going to get uncomfortably personal. My wife and I may not "feel" well off by working two jobs and "barely" grossing $70K annual income for two in the Bay Area; yet the fact of the matter is we are quite well off compared to most Americans; even as we literally live dirt poor on rice and beans living next door to Atherton and Los Altos Hills.  I've been out there in the highways and byways and know first hand how financially fecked average people are in America. Rather than feel offended for "calling us well off," or jumping on the defensive when someone says, "you make $140K? you're rich!" We should get off of our high horses and  respond with some modicum of empathy for others. "Holy crap! Most people are really that poor?! This is totally unacceptable!"

The entire premise of this vital civic conversation must be turned on it's head, because we're completely  upside down in debt thanks to the system that drove us off this debt cliff in the first place.

1. Although Eisenhower is from the same era, the military industrial complex is not to be confused with tinfoil hat Kennedy UFO conspiracy theory fictions. This is just a snippet of plain old boring, factual American history; business as usual. Nothing new here, move along.