Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A World Stood On Its Head

Information overload? Reality just too hard to take? Whatever the reasons we seem to be taking leave of our senses. We've become very comfortable with well-packaged fiction passing as fact. Perhaps nowhere is that more obvious than south of the border, in those United States of America.

My favourite magazine is the US monthly, Harper's. A regular feature in this mag is Harper's Index. It's a one-page list of facts that reveal anomolies, quirks and outright failures in conventional wisdom.

Now we all know that the American people and their congressional representatives, indeed the entire right, has an anti-tax fetish. Their dumb as a post logic is that taxation is the problem and cutting taxes is the solution to all that ails their country. It's the supposed raison d'etre of the Tea Party movement. How does their sensed oppression stack up to reality? Consider these snippets from Harper's Index:

- Percentage of their personal income Americans paid in taxes last year: 17

- Last year in which Americans paid so little: 1971

- Percentage of all U.S. personal income last year that came from wages and government programs, respectively: 52, 17

- Number of years since record keeping began in 1929 that these figures have been so low and so high, respectively: 0

In other words Americans haven't paid so little tax since 1971. Even the senior Tea Partiers are paying less tax than they have in their entire working lives. And never, in the past eight decades, have Americans received more of their income from wages and less of it from their government.

In other words, America's tax revolt is just plain dumb. It's the clever harnessing of sheer, boneheaded ignorance.

We can't afford to get too smug. This attitude of not letting reality stand in his way is very popular with Furious Steve Harper. He showed that when he told the Tory caucus to ignore plain, statistical evidence showing a steady decline in crime and, instead, pretend that Canada needed his law'n odor prison fetish.

Oh, by the way, before leaving Harper's Index, here are a couple of other zingers you might find interesting:

- Percentage of all countries that hold "prisoners of conscience," according to Amnesty International: 30

- Percentage of G20 countries that do: 42.

Who says the developed world isn't enlightened?


Anonymous said...

StatsCan announced today (link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/07/20/crime-statistics020.html) that the national crime rate fell for 2009, continuing the decade old pattern of decline. Not only that, violent crime fell too.

Kind of inconvenient when you are spending billions of taxpayers' dollars building prisons and you are telling them it is justified because the Libtards, the socialists and the separatists have made the streets leading to Timmies unsafe, don't you think?

What I also found interesting from the same story was this: "
Among census metropolitan areas (CMAs), police-reported crime severity was highest in Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Calgary was the only western CMA below the national average".

See, by eliminating the census,you can accomplish at least 3 things: (a) remove the ability of informed Canadians to "refudiate" (lol) your claims, (b) reduce the probability that voters in the western CMA areas may start to think that the gun registry may not be a bad idea after all, and (c) teach StatsCan a lesson for their impudence at publishing data that show that crime rate is actually diminishing.

The Mound of Sound said...

Regina is always a trouble spot. It has drugs, gangs and a real First Nations underclass.

But the steady, overall decline in crime in Canada exemplifies how Harper abuses his power to indulge his perverted ideologies. The man truly is bent.

arparp said...

You read the second paid of stats incorrectly. The convention for the use of "respectively" keeps the items in the same order as they were listed previously. Therefore it states:

"Number of years US percentage of US personal income from wages has been lower than 52%: 0"

"Number of years US percentage of US personal income from government programs has been higher than 17%: 0"

This seems to imply a few things. The first is that income tax affects people in a much smaller way than it ever has. Another is that the government is doing a good job of maintaining benefits in the face of relatively low taxes. Finally it might imply something about where we DO get a lot of tax money from: corporations.

The Mound of Sound said...

I stand corrected Arparp. Thanks. I'm not as convinced that the low personal tax rates demonstrate higher government revenues from corporations. In fact that seems not to be the case. As America's economy faltered, corporate revenue and taxes declined. I think that's been made pretty clear in recent US government reports.