The still unfolding federal debt ceiling battle has one of America’s most sober pundits, E. J. Dionne Jr., losing his patience. Washington, Dionne writes, is looking more and more “like a lunatic asylum.” But the lunacy — our political system’s absolute inability to tax the rich — has spread way beyond Washington.
In Minnesota last week, a governor who dared to try that taxing ended up surrendering after lawmaker friends of the fortunate forced the longest state government shutdown in U.S. history. The surrender deal will chop $22 million out of programs for abused and neglected kids. The 7,700 Minnesotans making over $1 million a year will pay, under the deal, not a penny more in taxes.
Down in Texas, a state where the governor is hoping to ride his rich people-friendly credentials into the White House, families in one Fort Worth suburb learned last Monday that public school bus rides will cost them $185 this year for their first child, $135 for each additional. In Central Falls, Rhode Island, a state official asked retired city workers Tuesday to accept 50 percent pension cuts.
Amid all this, one of America’s few billionaires willing to pay more in taxes, investor Warren Buffett, noted at a plush resort in Idaho’s Sun Valley that “my friends here” are “paying lower tax rates than the people who are serving us the food.” Lunatic asylum? We have more on the lunacy in this week’s Too Much. ...
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