It’s class warfare!
Meg Whitman was so confounded with rage and disbelief she nearly choked on her puffin liver pâté wrapped in flamingo tongue. “It’s a political stunt! It’s class warfare!” she told reporters. She was careful not to work herself too severely, however, lest she spill the glass of Cristal Brut 1990 on her Christian Cota silk business suit with matching power jacket. (Not that the cost mattered; it’s just that it’s hard to get that much Cristal Brut 1990 anymore. You can’t go to a GOP gathering without someone who paid the measly $40,000 a plate thinking he’s entitled to snarf the stuff down like it was some kind of Louis Roederer Brut Premier mouthwash. But what can you do with a political party that allows anyone who’s shot an abortion doctor and $40,000 to consort with his natural-born betters?)
What had her in such a state was the thought that she was running for governor to save a trifling bit on capital gains tax. The Brown campaign had suggested that she might be saving as much as $15 million a year by eliminating the state capital gains tax–a central part of her campaign. The Brown advisers were evidently chagrined that they had not thought up the savvy move to close the enormous budget gap in California by collecting less revenue–at least less revenue from people who make (some of) their money from capital rather than vulgar, hand-dirtying … what’s the word for it? … maybe “work” for lack of anything better.
According to the Los Angeles Times article linked above: “Whitman said she did not know if Brown’s estimate that she would save $15 million annually is accurate but said the reasoning behind her rival’s line of inquiry was ‘crazy.'”
Crazy in more ways than one. How could anybody worth anything know the amount of state capital gains taxes they pay? What if it was $15 million, what difference would that make? To Meg, $15 million is what you get in $50 bills so that you can roll around naked in it on weekends.
Anyway, it might be $15 million, it might be $80 million, who knows? The point is that to pay tax any amount on a person’s profit on selling capital items would reduce the competitiveness of California. And that means lost jobs. Because, after all, you don’t have to roll around naked in California to make money on capital gains. In this global economy you can do it from secret bank accounts anywhere while you yourself are rolling around anywhere you want to be. Or more importantly where the tax climate is most favorable. In fact, Meg had recently heard that there are no capital gains taxes in Somalia and she nearly picked up and went there to roll around in $15 million in cash. And what would have happened if she did? We know there would have been one undocumented worker fewer with a job washing Meg’s floors in California, that’s what would have happened!
So before you go around bad-mouthing someone for telling poor people that they can eat cake if they have no bread, look at it from her point of view. It takes the sweat of a lot of working peons to accumulate sufficient surplus value so that she can have enough gains on stock or real estate or futures trading activities to have to pay $15 million in capital gains taxes (or whatever, who’s counting?). And it would make her feel bad to give even a little bit of that hard-earned (by the working peons) money over to the state. It’s almost an insult to those peons! To think otherwise is class warfare!
By the end of her second glass of champagne she was cackling so loudly that two of her campaign aides had to lift her up physically and stuff her in the stretch limo that takes her from one site where she communes with the working man to another. As the door was shutting, you could faintly hear someone singing, “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!”
[You see, it really is like falling off the wagon; I can’t help it. Maybe I should stop reading newspapers until I have time for the stuff I promised.]