TWIFY: Soap Boxes and Blowhards

Sometimes I walk through the dregs of the internet to find something interesting to read. I’ll dig into the ghetto that is Gizmodo. Despite its shrillness it has moments of clarity. Now and again I venture into Techcrunch because I do like the startup scene and a lot of the other information they provide. Mainly, I go there to see if Paul Carr (yes, he’s trollish but honestly the most fun writer on their staff) and Sarah Lacy have written anything. I love their gems and rants and shenanigans and poignant observations. Unfortunately, every once in a while I come across the words of a particularly shrill individual named Mike Arrington. You may have heard of him, what with him having founded techcrunch.

Let me get this right off the bat, I’m not sure if the man is pretending to be a douche-nozzle or he believes the copious amounts of sh-t that oozes out of his mouth. I have no doubts that he’s a clever and hardworking individual, and it is clear that he built techcrunch into something AOL (hehehe) felt worthy of purchasing. But sometimes I have to wonder if he’s just playing it up, like a tech version of a tabloid editor, or this is the core of him. I just read his rant about the rich.

The target of this particularly stupid rant is Warren Buffett and the first most obvious thing is that Arrington never bothered to read the opinion piece Buffett wrote with the part of his brain that’s still capable of functioning.  I could just link you to Warren Buffet’s opinion piece and let you read it for yourself and see the reason I have a headache about Arrington’s stupidity, but since I have a soapbox too, I’d like to rant. Buffett wrote a well thought out opinion piece about how the rich should be taxed more, and how he gets taxed less than the people who work below him. In it he explains that it’s because most of the people like him don’t take payroll and only pay taxes on Capital Gains. What’s more, for investors like him whose holding term for some companies is “forever” he never has to acknowledge the gains in the first place.

So his argument is to stop coddling the rich by letting them use Capital Gains and asset transference (inheritance) to duck taxes. He even notes that some of the most productive times for investors and job creation were when the capital gains tax was up at nearly 40%. Most of the super-rich don’t care because guess what? 40% of a few hundred million dollars is nothing to them. It’s like we get hung up about who the richest in the world is. The top three each have 45 – 50 billion in the bank, you think they would even notice if they lost 40 billion? By the time you hit a mark, it really stops mattering. But that’s the rub. You have the shrill “somewhat” rich always loudly proclaiming they are being robbed because they lie stuck in a state of envious-stasis. They are rich enough to feel stinged when they get taxed but not rich enough not to care. You never hear the mega-rich complaining, and the few times you do, they turn out to be the types who turn around and squander their wealth on inanities.

Enter Arrington and his false rage. He’s pretending Buffett wasn’t talking about Capital Gains. He’s pretending Buffett is talking about raising everyone’s taxes, and especially personal income and payroll. He’s pretending that Buffett is trying to sabotage the middle class by f-cking them over (for lulz?). He “sees why we all hate the rich.” Really? I don’t hate the rich. I don’t know anyone who does. Hating someone because they’re rich seems fairly retarded. Way to project your sense of inadequacy on the rest of us, Arrington.

Choice quote: “The super rich love to talk about higher taxes on the rich because it’s a competitive barrier protecting them from competition. If the people making a lot of money today have to pay much higher taxes, they probably won’t ever accumulate enough wealth to be ‘super rich.'” — You know, except for the part where the majority of the Super Rich didn’t become super rich in this coddled era but the one before.

He completely neglects that many of the richest people today came up when things like capital Gains were as high as 39.9% and higher. When Buffett made the majority of his wealth, taxes in some cases were as high as 70%. That is ridiculously high, and they had to be lowered (though they didn’t NEED to be lowered, it was just a good thing to do on principle). But his argument that higher taxes will stop others from becoming mega rich is stupidly retarded. Given the evidence of American history (lol, did I actually try to use the word evidence? What’s next? Logic? Rationale? Reason?). Rockefeller in his heyday was richer than Gates today, despite having taxes above 70%.

So in this era of the coddled rich, how do I reconcile the fact that economic growth has been at a previously unheard of rate? One word: Internet. The reason for the massive economic growth in this coddled time has nothing to do with taxes and everything to do with the internet. As I’ve explained before,

the internet as a new medium creates an unprecedented new avenue for wealth creation just like every other technological revolution from the maritime to the telegraph has.

We don’t progress linearly but in random jumps of productivity. There were mega rich before the current era; the difference is that thanks to the equalizing force of the internet, there has been more opportunity than ever before. Lowering taxes for the upper echelon has literally achieved nothing for America. Lowering the taxes of middle and underclasses has been far more fruitful. As it stands, America was built into the world’s only super power on the back of taxes on the rich. Now the tax burden is on the middle and lower classes, and we are not only no longer the only super power, but we’re waning. You see, Arrington? I can play the innuendo and “made up shit” game too. While we’re at it, I’ve noticed that the increase in obesity correlates with the spread of English to every area of the globe. Let’s fight obesity by only speaking Spanish.

Michael Arrington’s fear is obvious. Like the other orphan annies looking in the window from the snow, he worries that higher taxes on the rich will impede his ability to become mega rich. Putting aside the fact that you have a higher chance of winning the mega-lotto than you do of becoming a billionaire, this is a case of us plebes being delusional idiots. We don’t want to tax the rich because we don’t want to be screwing ourselves when we get rich (which we’re certain will happen shortly). “Every poor person think’s they’re just a millionaire experiencing a dry spell” – Paraphrased.

As I started writing this, I debated doing what I do best and going into economics, but this is a technology blog and really, there is nothing I can say that won’t be immediately apparent in that man’s transparently bitter stance. Since I have a hard time dwelling in the non-technical, I’ll let a few others say it for me.

Commenter Tom Hafflinger (an entrepreneur himself) said:

“We need to let people dream of getting disgustingly rich, and then let them go out there and do it.”

Yeah, then two years later all of the debt-consolidation companies will be rolling in dough on the backs of the shattered dreams of a million entrepreneurs.

“As for me, I think the government should be starved of income and be forced to spend money where it’s supposed to – defending the border, establishing a trusted currency, and protecting property rights. Whenever they muck around with the other stuff everyone gets poorer.”

Ummm… and school, right? No? Never mind the fact that some people work hard and do not succeed for some reason, and as a society of humans held together by some remnant of the altruism that brought us out of the bushes, we should work try to support those who are less fortunate.

Our own TWIFY writer Michael Pitts said:

And what he neglects in the article is the fact that Warren Buffett is systematically distributing nearly all of his accumulated wealth so that by no later than 10 years after he dies, 99% of his estate will be completely redistributed. And not to future programs but to programs that need the money *now*. Warren Buffett, unlike many of his fellow multi-gajillionaires, is doing as much good as he can with his money and wealth.

This guy is a fucking clown shoe. Please tell me that not everyone gets like this once they have a platform to speak from because if so, I am going to have to tender my resignation from The Noisecast. I don’t want the website to turn me into such a colossal douche that I think people listen just because I’m talking regardless of how much or how little I know about the subject at hand.

Another commenter, Vinod Tonangi said:

Arrington’s rant really makes no sense. The “Bush” tax-cuts will have cost us $2.8Trillion by the time it expires. To put that into perspective, both wars (Iraq & Afghanistan) have cost us $1.26Trillion so far.

We need to raise revenues as well as cut spending. Doing one without the other is simply a political dog & pony show. The latest debt deal will save us $2Trillion cutting the projected debt in 2021 from $28Trillion to $26Trillion. What a waste of time and energy that was – and these cuts will most certainly lead to greater unemployment in 2013, which will lower our revenues leading to more debt. Ridiculous.

Taxes are now lower than they’ve ever been – even lower than Reagan, and the GOP wants to cut them even more because they falsely believe that lower taxes automagically creates jobs. If that’s the case, where the hell are the jobs? The so-called “job creators” are busy stuffing their pockets, and outsourcing jobs to cheaper labour overseas and they get tax breaks for doing it.

But what’s the point of all this? It changes nothing. The only thing Arrington cares less for than those above him whose ass he can’t kiss, is those of us “below” him who aren’t impressed by him. And as far as his melodrama and shrillness, this isn’t even his worst. Anything for those clicks, eh Arrington? You love it, don’t you? You love it when I click you so hard.

So, I’ll let friend of the Noisecast leo Laporte take this home (he doesn’t know us, I just wanted to sound cool):

2 thoughts on “TWIFY: Soap Boxes and Blowhards”

  1. Excellent piece! I’ve always thought it would be smart to add an additional tax bracket for the super-mega-ultra rich. The highest federal tax bracket in 2011 is $379,151+, and they’re taxed 35%. Now I’m not saying $379,151 isn’t a lot of loot, but there is a enormous difference between $379,151 and $1 Million, or $100 Million, or $1 Billion. In addition, with inflation constantly getting worse and worse, $379,151 doesn’t afford what it once did. New Jersey is an incredibly expensive state to live in, where a family making $379,151 would never stand out as being “rich” (especially when state tax brings the total taxation just around %50).

    The most frustrating part is exactly what you said, the guy who works a really high stress/importance job, and makes an honest $400,000 a year is very frustrated when he’s taxed for half of it and then offered absolutely nothing from his government in return, like tuition aid for his children. More often than not, parents end up with two or more kids in college at the same time. With some tuitions easily reaching $50,000, it’s easy to see how the post-tax $200,000 doesn’t go very far. 

    On the other hand, I’m sure the guy who makes $200 million a year could give a fuck if half went to Uncle Sam.

    TL:DR : nice work dude.

  2. Arrington has not had a clue in years. He really is self absorbed and self servicing. He does not get what a disservice it is to have the poorest members of the nation carry the weight of everyone. Buffet started realizing this when he found out his secretary pays more in taxes than he does. Average secretary salary is 30k and she pays more in taxes than a billionaire. Arrington thinks that is fair. Douchnozzle indeed.

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