Archives: taxes

Taxes_700

The new politics of the English language: Part II

by Barry Bennett

In an earlier post I updated George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language for the 21st century, describing how, by creating a false picture of the political process, the word filibuster masks the undemocratic nature of our political system. In this post I describe how use of other words and phrases creates similarly false images that obscure an equally nefarious phenomenon: the destruction of the social contract and the continuing transfer of the country’s wealth to a small elite.

The longest-serving and least noticed example of this deceptive language is defined-contribution pension. A brief history of pensions will illustrate how this term misleads.

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Fiscal-cliff_700

Of cliffs, taxes and community

by Barry Bennett

At 9:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, after almost a year of Congressional avoidance and posturing, we skidded to a stop at the very edge of the fiscal cliff. Or at least an agreement of sorts was reached. Having averted the possibly catastrophic alternative, we can look back from the edge and marvel at our political system’s astonishing ability to turn the trivial into the phantasmagoric, as it did when it debated which tiny number of Americans—families making over $250,000, $600,000, or $1,000,000—should be subject to a modest tax increase. The magic figure of $450,000, together with various other compromises, led to a deal at the not-quite eleventh hour.

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