Sep 6, 2010

Upper-class twit of the year: John McCain

"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the proposed package of tax cuts for small businesses that Democrats are pushing is years too late and accused them of playing "class warfare" by moving to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire." — Washington Post
It always used to be so baffling to Americans — the cap-doffing deference shown the upper classes by the working class in Great Britain. Why would people on the lowest rung of society have any interest in propping up a system that kept them licking boots? And yet exactly the same fear of upsetting the super-rich grips Republicans, for whom anything less than the cosiest of tax privelages amounts to "class warfare" on millionaires. America's obsequiousness towards its own ruling class is just as baffflingly entrenched as Britain's ever was. In fact, I would say that right now, Britain is probably the more genuinely meritocratic of the two countries — certainly the one whose tax code encourages the greater social fluidity. Words I never thought I'd utter.


  1. Funny you should mention the UK versus the USA in terms of golden economic opportunity. Just read a review of "Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Walk Among Us," by economist John Quiggin. In the section where he eats trickle-down economics for breakfast, he points out that an American born into the lowest economic quintile now has a 46% chance of staying there for the rest of his life. The comparable figure for the UK is 30%.

  2. Thank you so much for providing the statistical hard data that transforms my hazy subjective assessment into cold, hard empirical fact! How often does that happen? Bless you.

  3. Don't think it changes anything, but editorial training compelled me to come back and correct: it's 42% chance in US, not 46%.