Jim Webb: Economic Moron or just a Democrat?
re "American Workers Have a Chance To Be Heard"
Jim Webb, Wall Street Journal, 11/15/06
(Subscription required) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116355741563823452.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries
Senator-elect Jim Webb’s editorial demonstrates just how economically clueless even so-called “conservative Democrats” are. The conclusions he draws from his cherry-picked statistics demonstrate mistakes that even first-year economics students would not make.
Yes, the top 1% of earners account for 16% of national income, but Webb fails to mention that they pay about 37% of all income taxes, and that the share of taxes paid by top earners has increased every time there has been an income tax rate cut. For the record, Mr. Class Warfare, the bottom 50% of earners pays only about 3% of all Federal income taxes. Furthermore, the top 25% of earners, as of 2004, paid 85% of all Federal income tax, and an income of $60,041 or above put you into that quartile. How much more “progressive” do you want it?
Yes, the income of top earners rose substantially since 1980, but their incomes are much more subject to recession, so in the years between 2000 and 2004 the income of the top 1% grew by seven percent while the income for the bottom 50% grew by 10.6%. Yes, nominal wages for many workers have only increased slightly in recent years, but total wages including benefits, which Webb ignores, have increased much more substantially.
Yes, manufacturing jobs are disappearing, but that has been going on for two generations, and those jobs are being replaced by higher-paying (and physically easier) jobs, leaving us with record-high employment. And yes, Mr. Webb, many argue that our public school system bears some responsibility for disparity in national income levels…they argue that because it is true.
Jim Webb may have played a conservative to get elected, but the voters of Virginia now seem in store for a Senator with the worst class-warfare instincts and no understanding of basic economics or statistics. A couple years of Senator Webb and others like him trying to govern based on such a poor grasp of truly basic principles is the Republicans’ best hope of winning back Congress in 2006. We just have to hope that President Bush finds his veto pen and keeps Webb and friends from implementing policy based on economic ideas which would bring a smile to Karl Marx.
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