It’s year-in-review time. I couldn’t have made up 2020 if I tried.
Fit the First—January: Sometimes I Feel Like a Bowl of Petunias
There’s a scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which the use of a spaceship’s infinite improbability drive causes two guided missiles to be changed into less threatening objects several miles above the surface of the planet Magrathea. One becomes a whale which asks all sorts of questions about its new situation as it plummets to its death. The other is a bowl of petunias which simply says, “Oh, no, not again.” That’s pretty much my reaction these days when I hear someone claiming to be a victim because he was truthfully quoted. I’ve had to endure multiple LOLsuits alleging defamation because this blog wrote truthfully about certain people.
The latest bit of such whining comes from Don Lemon, Wajahat Ali, and Rick Wilson. They are upset because of a Republican ad which uses a video clip from CNN which shows them expressing their distaste for Trump supporters. Wajahat Ali would have us believe that he is being bullied by being truthfully quoted.
My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up appropriately mocking Lemon, Ali, and Wilson. Go read it.
Fit the Second—February: Math is Hard
Bernie Sanders is proposing a national health care system commonly referred to as Medicare for All. The low-side estimates of the program’s cost are around 3 trillion dollars a year.
Michael Bloomberg’s net worth is estimated to be about 62 billion dollars. If Bernie were to confiscate all of that wealth (and it could be liquidated as cash), he could pay for a week of his proposed program. If he could similarly liquidate the fortunes of the ten richest Americans, he wouldn’t find enough money to run Medicare for three months. And he would have destroyed productive assets that would generate further cash flow to fund the system. Even if he kept the seized assets as an investment portfolio (equivalent to a 100 percent income tax rate), a reasonable long-term rate of return would only provide for a week-and-half of Medicare for all each week.
The other 95 percent of the money required would exceed the government’s current income from taxes, so bringing Medicare for All online while maintaining something near the current level of other government services would require at least doubling the current total amount of federal taxation. If the billionaires have had their assets seized so that they have nothing left to be taxed, who do you think is left to be taxed? Cleaning out the millionaires won’t produce the same windfall as billionaires. If it’s still possible to pay wages at the current level after much of the productive investment in the economy is destroyed, then the average citizen’s share of the federal tax burden would likely rise to above 33 percent of personal income.
And then we’d have to figure out how to pay for the Green Nude Eel.
Fit the Third—March: Generational Differences
Mrs. Hoge and I were both Baby Boomers, but she was seven years younger. Her idea of old time rock was the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Mine was Bill Halley and Elvis, so even within a “generation” there are differences in world experience. I was old enough to be subject to the draft during the Vietnam War. Many younger boomers weren’t. (I served in Vietnam as an officer in the Army Signal Corps.)
I saw this tweet go by, and it reminded me of how the lack of big wars over the past couple of generations as lulled some people into a false sense of security.When one has experienced the fear of running out of ammunition, the prospect of running out of toilet paper is less likely to be viewed as a existential threat.
UPDATE—America’s Newspaper of Record reports that some are responding to The Pandemic properly—
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Stay tuned for more.