This past week, Fortune Magazine’s Adam Lashinsky did an interview with Tom Perkins. I almost hate typing his name on my blog as I don’t like to give idiots any more of a microphone than they already have. However, this guy is a classic representation of how out of touch people can become with reality while thinking they know everything. The interview is an hour-long, and you can find it here. I haven’t watched it in full, and I likely will not do so. Reading some of the excerpts from this interview is enough to know that I would only raise my blood pressure by subjecting myself to listening to that. Furthermore, I’m really not into S&M. I do have to take issue with some of what I’ve read though.
Ultimately, the biggest issue Perkins claimed to have with the treatment of the 1% is taxes. “I wouldn’t say taxation is a form of persecution,” he said. “But the extreme progressivism of the tax system is.” He cited statistics about the tax contributions that wealthy Americans make — including that the top 1% pays more taxes than the bottom 90% combined — and said that the top 1% is carrying the government. “Government is a giant beast that has to be fed, and it’s fed with taxes,” he said. “And taxes will go up and up and up.”
Perkins pegged the problem of the American taxation system on failures in social, fiscal, and monetary policy. The income gap has roots in the War on Poverty, Perkins said, which he wished “had not been such a fiasco.” He blamed Lyndon B. Johnson’s social programs for an increase in out-of-wedlock birthrates and low-income single parent households. Fiscally, Perkins said that the government spends too much money on entitlement programs, an issue highlighted by the debt that the U.S. accrues as a result. “We’re on a knife edge with this incredible debt that can’t be paid back,” Perkins said. Finally, Perkins’ views on monetary policy were that historically low interest rates have led to a boom in tech startups. Which, according to Perkins, is a bad thing. “An incredible amount of money has flowed into venture capital,” he said. So, when students drop out of college and move to Silicon Valley to start companies or design software, “There’s so much money [in Silicon Valley], that they can keep failing and failing, so they aren’t learning in college anymore.”
If Perkins has any issue with the way the 1% is treated in relation to taxes, then he/they have nobody to blame but themselves. Over the past 30-40 years, our tax policy has been shaped, written, voted on, and made into law by the 1% themselves. What kind of idiot doesn’t realize that, when you cut tax rates, you risk the strong possibility of zeroing out those at the bottom of the pile. When you continuously cut taxes, you increase the number of people who end up with zero tax liability at the end of the year. If you want more people to pay taxes, then QUIT CUTTING TAX RATES!!!
Using figures from Tax Foundation.org, the percentage of income tax filers who had zero or negative tax liability in 1990 was 21%, in 2000 it was 25.2%, and in 2010 it was 40.9% and not all of that increase was due to the recession. Bad tax policy leads to bad tax collection. The 1% is “carrying government” as Perkins claims because they’re trying to zero out their tax liability. As they’re the ones making the most, they will be the last to get zeroed out. As for all that other stuff about pegging the problem with our taxation system, it worked perfectly fine until some people realized they could cut their taxes and increase their personal wealth as a result. The only valid purpose for cutting tax rates is to increase personal wealth, and we have all witnessed the impressive results that have been obtained from 30 plus years of supply side economic policy.
Finally, how can a venture capitalist complain about low interest rates? He’s made his fortune in venture capital. If you don’t like the competition, then find another line of work.
The venture capitalist offered the unorthodox proposal when asked to name one idea that would “change the world” at a speaking engagement in San Francisco moderated by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky.“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” Perkins said.
“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: “I intended to be outrageous, and it was.”
Outrageous my ass. One person, one vote is how this country is run. I thought “Change” was bad, or is it only bad when President Obama mentions it? This is what really got me steamed. People died to ensure others had the right to vote, and this asshat wants to monetize it??? Everything in this country should not be for sale, nor should it be about money. THAT’S what ails America today.
Some people can’t seem to look beyond a dollar to see what the implication of their ideas or actions will cause. I know it will never happen, but what needs to happen is something along this line of thought. Every single man, woman, and child that makes up the bottom 90% of the income ladder should take a week and not leave their homes. Don’t turn on the lights. Don’t do anything that causes commerce to happen. I don’t think it would take a week for the house of cards that these money changers have built for themselves to come crashing down around them. They don’t labor for pay. They don’t change oil on cars. They don’t drive trucks or trains to bring supplies and goods to market. All they do is profit off the sweat equity of those who actually make this world function.
I’m tired of the whining from the 1%ers who think the world revolves around them. They need to just make their money and shut the hell up. If they were not constantly trying to beat down the masses, there would be no war with them. You can’t whine about someone being at war with you when you started the war and have damn near won it as well. I don’t understand how the average American can support people who think like this. The condescension is visible enough that Stevie Wonder would be able to dodge it without assistance. Perkins made a dumbass remark in relation to Nazis earlier talking about persecution of the 1%. If I were him, I’d quit talking it up before fiction becomes reality. He’s likely pissing off thousands upon thousands of people every time he opens his mouth.