I was happy to see that ED took on Andrew Sullivan’s silly post about liberals’ supposed refusal to acknowledge the awesome work ethic of some rich people.
What bothers me about Sullivan’s post — and this is the reason I find it impossible to take Sullivan seriously as commentator, despite a lot of thoughtful insights — is the obsession with what people are willing to “acknowledge”. In this context acknowledge always means “feel that”; it never refers to any actual policy decision. It’s a kissing cousin to “rooting for”. Democrats were rooting for failure in Iraq! I know that it’s a two-way street, we heard a lot about how Rush Limbaugh was rooting for Obama to fail, too.
It’s all fruit from the same poison tree that brought us “clap louder” and “who would you rather have a beer with”. Democrats need to clap louder in order to acknowledge the importance of victory in Iraq. I’d like to have a beer with George Bush because I know he acknowledges the power of the American dream. Obama needs to show us that he acknowledges that Americans are hurting and not just try to pass legislation that would help stop the hurting.
Why the fuck does it matter what Democrats are willing to acknowledge about how hard some rich people work when they’re not proposing a marginal tax rate much over 40%? For God’s sake, isn’t it enough that we don’t tax rich people much, now we have to get down on our knees and tell them how great they are for working so hard? And what would fellating these geniuses accomplish anyway? I guess maybe it would make them feel more appreciated so that they’d be less likely to go Galt. So everybody, drop what you’re doing and send Greg Mankiw an email telling him you appreciate how hard he works so that he doesn’t withhold his productivity.
Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea. If wealthy people are willing to accept higher marginal rates in return for bumper stickers that say “Obama says I’m a hard worker”, then I’m all for it, because we have a government to run and it requires tax money.