“Uh, sir, do you have a minute?”

“Sure, Dalrymple, what can I help you with?”

“Sir, I don’t fully understand some things we are working on. Like why we want to raise taxes on folks making $250,000 and over.”

“Dalrymple, you don’t understand economics, but I’ll explain. First of all, those people are despicable. They clearly don’t deserve to make that much, and they make it by stepping on the backs of the middle class. Don’t you just burn when someone you know buys a big yacht, a big SUV, or vacations in the Caribbean or the Greek Isles? You know they don’t deserve it! They’re so bad, they probably should be killed, but we can’t condone that, of course. We can severely punish them by making them pay high income tax.”

“But, sir, don’t many of those people own small businesses that employ people and circulate money in the economy? If they have to pay higher taxes, won’t that hurt those businesses and result in layoffs or reduced hiring?”

“Dalrymple, of course that’s what they’ll tell you, but really, they just don’t want to pay their fair share. And we need the money, Dalrymple.”

“I can understand that, sir. We want to pay down the nearly $14 trillion debt, right?”

“Dalrymple, Dalrymple. You don’t understand the first thing about economics, do you? Look, what good will it do for the middle class if we pay the debt down? What’s more important is that we have all that additional tax money from the fat cats so we can enact more social programs that benefit the middle class.”

“But, sir, don’t programs like that really benefit the lower class rather than the middle class?”

“Yes, Dalrymple, but we call the beneficiaries ‘middle class.’ And don’t say, ‘lower class.’ That’s offensive.”

“I don’t understand, sir.”

“The middle class is the biggest social and economic class, so we have to make them think that we’re working to help them, because they have the most votes, you see. It will not do to have the middle class think that we’re just trying to help the working class.”

“Okay, back to the tax on the rich, sir. You said they don’t want to pay their fair share—but is it fair to raise taxes on one income group and not all?”

“Oh, Dalrymple, you still don’t get it. They make much more, so they should pay much more—it’s that simple.”

“But because they make much more, wouldn’t they pay much more even if they were taxed at the same rate as everyone else?”

“Yes, Dalrymple, but not enough for us to do our good work! Just to pay the interest on the social programs takes a great deal of money. When you add Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, TARP, other mandatory expenses and interest, why that’s 65% of the federal budget![1] We may even have to raise taxes for the middle class to pay for all that.”

“I thought you said we were trying to help the middle class?”

“No, Dalrymple, I said that we want the middle class to think that we’re trying to help them. You see the difference, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“One word, Dalrymple: votes. They have the votes. That’s what it’s all about.”

“Uh, I see. But wouldn’t taxing the rich at the same rate as everyone be fair? Wouldn’t those small businesses then be able to expand and create more economic wealth that would raise government revenue? If the rich are able to spend their money to help stimulate the economy wouldn’t that achieve what we want?”

“Dalrymple, you’re so naïve. If we don’t take their money from them, they certainly won’t spend it on social programs for the poor. That’s why we have to take their money away from them, so we can spend it where it’s needed, you see.”

“If they spend it and stimulate the economy, and spend it to expand business and hire more people, then wouldn’t there be fewer poor people?”

“Of course, Dalrymple. But we don’t want that, do we. Getting votes means pitting the poor and middle class against the rich. If more poor people get jobs and move into the middle class, and more middle-class people make more money and become rich, then where is our political base? Your thinking is just wrong-headed, Dalrymple.”

“Sir, you and your colleagues here make much more than $250,000; so you want to pay more tax?”

“No, we’ll be exempt, Dalrymple. After all, we are the ones who deserve to be rich, because we do so much good for everyone. Without us to impose order on this regrettable capitalist economic system we have, who knows what might happen?”

“Oh, sorry, sir. This is all very complicated, and I didn’t see your side of it before.”

“I’m happy to set you straight, Dalrymple. What are the other things you’re concerned about?”

“Maybe I’d better just leave them for another time, sir, and absorb what you explained to me. By the way, what do you want me to buy for you to give to your wife for Christmas?”

“Dalrymple, don’t use that word—it could offend some people. Just say ‘holidays.’”

[1] White House Office of Management and Budget, 2009 national budget.


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