If you live in the Eastern US, you are probably aware of a sad, sad truth, unless your aesthetic senses are dulled and you are thereby inured. Once you reach about Fredericksburg, VA and start driving north, there is a drab, beaten, burned-over homogeneity to the place. Everything along Route 1 or I-95 looks identically paved-over, burned-out, overpopulated and dirty as sewage. The place sucks clean north all the way to Boston.
And yet this region still endures in vast wealth and power. There is awesome industry, unparalleled intellect, government power and vast reservoirs of wealth. And yet, like a bright and blazing star collapsing from its own omnipotent gravity, the stench of disconsolate failure rises and hangs above the desolate plain. This physical and social sense of desolation was made visible in the economic realm when one rich dude from Jersey decided to cash it, call it a day and head to the beaches of Florida.
You see the rich dude was Hedge Fund Dominus et Deus, David Tepper. The six or so billion he personally raked in every year would get hit with The State of New Jerseyâ€™s 9% tax rate on rich little piggies. This gave them lots and lots of money to buy votes and other things. Until Mr. Tepper gave them The Big Trump and yanked the plug on the so-called Garden State.
Mr. Tepper, 58, declined to comment on his move. He does have family â€” his mother and sister â€” who live in Florida. But several New Jersey lawmakers cited his relocation as proof that the stateâ€™s tax rates, up from 6.37 percent in 1996, are chasing away the rich. Florida has no personal income tax. â€œIf youâ€™re making hundreds of millions of dollars and youâ€™re paying close to 10 percent to the state of New Jersey, you do the math,â€ said Jon Bramnick, the Republican leader in the New Jersey Assembly. â€œYou can save millions a year by moving to Florida. How can you blame him?â€
So Tepper scrapes the leeches off his wallet with a putty-knife. An E-Vil Rethuglican points out some of the obvious. Or as the New York Times belatedly figures out when it commits some journalism, supporting an entire region of the country off of billionaire faux-nobility in a small handful of zip codes doesnâ€™t promote fiscal stability.
In New York, California, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey, the top 1 percent pay a third or more of total income taxes. Now a handful of billionaires or even a single individual like Mr. Tepper can have a noticeable impact on state revenues and budgets.
But wouldnâ€™t all this be fixed if we practiced socialism and just made David Tepper bankroll New Jersey? If we were larping with (((THE BERN))), this would work in theory. But in practice we need to ask ourselves one stupid, little question. Who bankrolls the socialists? Oh yeah…According to Thomas Frank, that would be David Frikking Tepper. Itâ€™s all a nice, happy circle. Like an ouroborus!
According to Frank, popular explanations which blame corporate lobby groups and the growing power of money in politics are insufficient. Frank instead points to a decision by Democratic Party elites in the 1970s to marginalize labor unions and transform from the party of the working class to the party of the professional class. In so doing, the Democratic Party radically changed the way it understood social problems and how to solve them, trading in the principle of solidarity for the principle of competitive individualism and meritocracy. The end result is that the party which created the New Deal and helped create the middle class has now become â€œthe party of mass inequality.â€ In These Times spoke with Frank recently about the book via telephone.
But this is way too self-serving for the Lefties. They didnâ€™t get to be â€œthe party of mass equalityâ€ because of any reversible philosophical apostasy. They got this way because they took one look at the dysgenic rabble they had spawned during The Summer of Love and inferred the obvious. No way.
Marxism cannot work. It never worked. At the crux of the latest liberal angst and self-flagellation worthy of Fifty Shades of Bullsh!t, is this realization. They are in the same position Vladimir Lenin found himself back in 1924. To make Liberalism, Socialism, Democratic Socialism or any other bastard offspring of the Marx, Proudhon and Engels gang-bang work, they need a magic recipe that turns chicken sh!t into chicken salad. It doesnâ€™t exist. Liberalism cannot work. Ever. It has to be abandoned for some form fascism or oligarchical collectivism.
At that point, guys like David Tepper have all the cards and hold the keys to all the exits. (((THE PEOPLE))) can want whatever the hell they want. They arenâ€™t going to get it. They arenâ€™t going to get any of it without hard-headed and hard-assed individuals like Tepper who know how to get it. This isnâ€™t the Magic Kingdom of Equestria and David Tepper isnâ€™t going to give you a frikking pony. He will charge you for one. It will cost you an arm and a leg.
If he no longer likes the deal he will walk and you will die. So back up north in Jersey they cry the beloved tax revenue. This isnâ€™t the end. This is just the end of demotism and all its loathsome, solipsistic self-regard. Iâ€™m having a hard time feeling any sadness. People that play stupid games win stupid prizes. Meanwhile, the northeastern hunk of Amerika will gradually look even more like it was ridden like Harley and then put away wet.