Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Punch Up, George. Not Down.

by Nick Paleologos
January 28, 2015

Last week I read an op-ed piece by George Will in which he decries “The Entitlement State.” Mitt Romney’s famous 47% aren’t just a problem for Mr. Will, they are a full blown catastrophe. And yes, we should definitely put an end to the entitlement state. But not the one he’s talking about. The other one. That gaggle of ungrateful, unpatriotic plutocrats to whom George Will has apparently pledged his allegiance. 

You know who I mean:

·      The 1 percent who are “entitled” to pay lower tax rates than everybody else while still complaining that taxes are too high.

·      The 1 percent who are “entitled” to pay pennies into social security for every dollar you pay and still slam your retirement benefits as unsustainable.

·      The 1 percent who are “entitled” to keep 95% of the wealth created by a nation of workers whose income has barely budged in thirty years, and then blame those same workers for not being able to afford health care, college tuitions, or anything else.

·      The 1 percent who are “entitled” to secretly spend billions buying public officials to do their bidding--even when it contravenes public opinion--and still complain that the government they own won’t get off their backs.

We’ve got an entitlement state alright. But for some reason George Will can’t see it. Which is amazing when you think that his favorite baseball team is the Chicago Cubs--the Windy City’s working class also-rans who haven’t won a World Series in nearly a century, and who play on a field that was built entirely with private funds the year Woodrow Wilson was elected president.

When it comes to our National Pastime, I would have expected Mr. Will to be parked in an overpriced box seat, sporting Yankee pinstripes and sipping cocktails in the billion dollar ballpark that the Steinbrenners’ Evil Empire built—with taxpayers picking up half the tab, of course.

And why did the richest team, with the highest payroll, and the most World Series rings, get taxpayers to pay for half the cost of Yankee Stadium--when most of us can’t afford a hot dog there, let alone a bleacher seat?

Because the New York Yankees are “entitled” to taxpayer support. You see, in George Will’s world, the more successful you are, the less you should have to pay. Taxes are for working stiffs, not millionaires.

The workaday players on George Will’s beloved Cubbies enjoy a minimum salary and free agency for one simple reason. They formed a union. But in the real world, George Will opposes both a minimum wage and unions.

In baseball, earned run average is calculated the same way for both the highest and the lowest paid pitchers. You don't get to have a low ERA just because you have a high salary. Everybody plays by the same rules.

In the real world, most of us probably wouldn't mind kicking 35% of our hard earned income into Uncle Sam’s coffers if it weren’t for the fact that the wealthiest Americans only have to pay 14% of theirs. 

Mr. Will has two degrees from Princeton. He’s a very smart man. Occasionally I even agree with him. And when I don’t, I always appreciate his civility. I just wish that he would put the power of his pen, and the weight of his considerable intellect to the task of righting the country's real wrongs.

Punch up, George. Not down.