So what’s next for Borealis?  I hope what’s next is FAA approval, now that WheelTug has secured the funding to (I hope) see that process through to a successful conclusion . . . a process for the complexity of which you can gain some appreciation from this 105-page FAA guide . . . and then “entry into service” on a few of the airlines in queue to lease systems.  From what I can gather, that’s likely to take a couple of years, or perhaps longer, which is of course crazy making.  How to cope?

When I feel my sanity slipping, I play this.  And when that doesn’t work — as invariably it does not — I watch the first 90 seconds of this.  Better.  Try it.




And now . . . taxes.

I got no push-back to the part of yesterday’s post calling for a different tone in taxing the rich . . . but several worthy comments on the substance of David Leonhardt’s column (The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You).

Joel Margolis:  “Here and here are two critiques of Saez and Zucman’s work.  Saez and Zucman found a willing shill in Leonhardt.”

→ Yet while Saez and Zucman may have overstated their case, the larger picture is that the country needs to collect a lot more revenue if we are to tackle problems like crumbling infrastructure while not growing the National Debt faster than the economy as a whole . . . and the obvious place to get a big chunk of that extra revenue is not from the poor or the middle class, or even the upper middle class, but from the uber-wealthy for whom, as everyone’s data agrees, the last 40 years have been (at least relative to the preceding levels of taxation) a bonanza.

John G.: “I appreciated your column on taxes. I wonder if you saw this piece published at Daily Kos April 7, 2019, as it might make a great companion piece: “The Hidden Tax: Average Americans Pay a Tax of 74% That They Don’t Know About.”

→ Well, no.  The piece says the average worker produces $106 of goods and services in an hour, yet is paid $27.50 an hour — just 26% of the total.  Calling the remaining 74% a “tax” is absurd, not just because it fails to include “benefits” but also because it fails to include all the other costs an employer incurs, like raw materials and rent and utilities and insurance.  The real question is:  how do wages compare with profits?  And there the answer is disturbing enough without overstating the case.

Simply put: inflation-adjusted wages have been largely stagnant for decades, even as after-tax corporate profits have soared to nearly 12% of GDP . . . which is why we should return the corporate tax rate at least partway back to where it was pre-Trump . . . and why we should encourage higher minimum wages and collective bargaining.

But after-tax profits are still dwarfed by wages, not the other way around.


Perhaps most relevant of all is this column comparing the Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang tax plans — each aimed at reducing inequality, but (in the author’s view) one a lot more workable than the other.

There’s room for lots of honest debate on how best to raise revenue and/or reduce record-level inequality.  To me, the Republican pledges never to raise taxes . . . and always, somehow, to cut them mainly on those least in need of relief . . . and, most egregiously, their relentless effort to eliminate the estate tax on billionheirs, which is a terrible idea . . . are not part of that honest debate.

 

 

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