I secretly wish I will receive a state dinner invitation from the White House. That is in addition to hoping to write meaningfully and funny for millions of readers. What I have never wished, though and that is a lapse, is to be liked by the 1%. I have never dreamed about massaging their ego with such lines:
M. Gregory Mankiw, Professor of Economics at Harvard, coined the above therapeutic indoctrination aimed at the limited percent of NY Times readers.
And M. Gregory Mankiw is correct. The New York Public Library was the result of the consolidation of two charities: the Tilden Trust and the Astor and Lenox Trust, more than a century ago. Mr. Astor benefited from being the first to take advantage of international treaties and monopolize the fur industry, starting with much beloved beaver belts in the 18th century. He then hired good attorneys who came up with the idea of “trust” setting money aside for pet projects. By setting money aside as public-interest trusts, the special ones can avoid paying taxes on their immense fortune, taxes which could be used anonymously to benefit the public education, transportation or health of everybody. As such, the Astor trust produced the beautiful NY Public Library, for which we are all grateful today. Even when closed on weekends and daily around 6 PM, the building can be admired from the street. Moreover, the vast Astor art collection which, bad mouths would say caused the youngest Astor, the nonagenarian Mr. Astor, to be jailed and then promptly released – a prosecutorial joke TPV much enjoyed – may be available to some public if the family attorneys so decide.
M. Gregory Mankiw is correct at so many levels! As a New Yorker, think only of the Frick Museum of Art and the Carnegie Hall. Both families were able to leave in trust some of their fortune and let the few of us the pleasure to visit and enjoy their mansions and art collection or music concert hall perhaps in hopes that the bloody Homestead Strike of 1892 would forever be forgotten. Frick was Andrew Carnegie’s lackey and steel plant’s administrator, in Homestead, Pennsylvania.
When the union voted to strike because of wage cuts and worsening work conditions, Carnegie and Frick decided to have the strike end fast: the workers were fenced inside the plant and then guns were fired at them. Too bad there were no witnesses to say whose guns shot and killed workers: Authorities charged the strike leaders with murder and 160 other strikers with lesser crimes. The workers’ entire Strike Committee also was arrested for treason. Six years later Carnegie built a library and a swimming pool for the current workers, too scared to ever strike again.
Understandably, museums and concert halls may not be impressive enough as legacy of why the 1 percent deserves to be the “extraordinary” one percent according to M. Gregory Mankiw (MGM for friends). They’re extraordinary because they can make billions of dollars in profit for having some Chinese kids build iPhones, tools so beneficial to all of us who can say
“sent from my iPhone, so excuse any misspelling or lack of ethics and imagination.”
But perhaps the most persuasive argument of MGM’s sycophantic piece is that the 1 percent pay 30 percent of their income in taxes, whether they make $ 500,000 or $50 million. And let us say it for them:
That ain’t fair.
When you make only half a million a year you cannot have the jet and villas and cars and yachts and the incentive to just be special as someone who makes 50 million. So, here I beg to disagree with MGM (I will say that his tax percentage for the middle class is crassly wrong, but that might be a typo of the type which the NY Times does not correct: the middle class pays 25% of its income – when that income is below $100,000- and not 15%, and a mere Google search would have brought up the correct results).
I beg to disagree with MGM (amazing initials, Prof) because he appears tone deaf at the plight of the about-to-become millionaires, people like him, and that ain’t fair! People like him pay too much in taxes and people like Robert Downey Jr, MGM’s pick of the Hollywood rich, pay too little. So, TPV suggests, for fairness’ sake to eliminate taxes for the about-to-become millionaire. Just temporarily. As an incentive to become millionaires, and then, when they do so, they can start paying 1% in the first year, or if they feel to conspicuous, their attorneys can opt for something similar to the Kanye West prenup agreement with Kim (Kim gets $5 million for each additional kid, or something like that, whether the kid is either white or black as long as their name is Hitchcockian , e.g, North by Northwest).
What do you say MGM? Isn’t this a better solution for the wealthy?