Friday, January 13, 2012

a return to feudalism

As far as I can tell, the GOP is advocating a return to feudalism.

Tho' the specifics varied with time and geography, medieval feudalism in broad outline was a system of patronage & protection based on land and products derived from land. At the bottom of the pyramid were serfs (that'd be most of us) - in some cases tied to the land, in others not. They labored to produce sufficient food to pay the lord of the manor 'in kind' taxes, to support the manor. Whatever was left over - frequently very little - was for their own consumption. The lord of the manor derived his income from his serfs, and was expected to pay HIS lord both food and service - providing soldiers and servants. Going up the pyramid we eventually find the senior noble class, who owed fealty to the king, and were in turn taxed to support the kingdom - again in food and service. Those at the bottom had no decision-making role - theirs was a life of drudgery to serve those above... always in imminent danger of starvation, pestilence, and war.

Let me call out just ONE GOP favorite: eliminate tax on capital gains.
So the last $1 earned by the foreman overseeing a road-building project - a project that actually produces a tangible benefit to society - that $1 is taxed at a marginal rate of 25%.
The last $1 earned by the 'investor' in the form of capital gains is currently taxed at 15% - and if the GOP gets its way, it won't be taxed at all.
As it stands, the tax code institutionalizes two economic classes: wage-earners & investors, with wage earners penalized and investors rewarded.
IF the GOP gets is way, that institutionalized stratification will become even more apparent: the investor will pay NO taxes on his income.
This is no longer an INCOME tax - it's a tax on labor... sort of like the feudal serf.
The investor will pay NOTHING to support the system of which he is the beneficiary.

This is an even more extreme form of feudalism than any that has ever existed. In the Middle Ages, even the senior nobility owed SOMETHING to support the kingdom - they didn't get a free ride.

More later...


  1. Love it! I hope Elizabeth Warren and her team see this. Really good material and parallels.