When Titans Talk to Dummies (Part 2 of 3)





by Harvey Golub, Wall Street Journal, 8-22-11.


(Editors note:  Mock The Dummy videos take a long time to make, which makes it difficult to respond to the news of the day in a timely manner.  With recognition of this problem, and as an experiment, we would like to offer publication of first this script and then an audio only program.  This is part two.  Part one can be accessed here: https://mockthedummy.com/2011/08/23/when-titans-talk-to-dummies/  We ask Mock The Dummy fans to take a breath, access their imagination, hear the tell-tale refrain of bells that signal the start of a video, and let your mind lead you…)

DUMMY:  Welcome to my Tea Party.  We dummies are speaking to Harvey Golub, whose editorial MY RESPONSE TO BUFFET AND OBAMA was an instant hit among the dummies.  The editorial was published on Monday by Rupert Murdock’s Wall Street Journal, where you can find The News Of The World.  This is part two of our program.  You can access part one by following this annotation.  Oh, and for you dummies who don’t know – this isn’t really Harvey.  It’s a dummy.  We find that our audience prefers to get their information from dummies.

Dummy, you were telling our listeners why the top marginal tax rate shouldn’t be raised to 39.6% from 35% because you resent that Warren Buffet thinks you’re “coddled” and you resent that Obama doesn’t think you deserve your money and that he wants to spend it as he thinks fit.  You also mentioned that you spend 90% of your income on taxes.  Is that right?

GOLUB DUMMY:  That’s what I wrote.

DUMMY:  You sure did.  Please go on.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “Others could pay higher taxes if they choose. They could voluntarily write a check or they could advocate that their gifts to foundations should be made with after-tax dollars and not be deductible. They could also pay higher taxes if they were not allowed to set up foundations to avoid capital gains and estate taxes.”

DUMMY:  Something which you clearly don’t do since you pay 90% of your income to Uncle Sam.

GOLUB DUMMY:  That’s right.

DUMMY:  Please go on.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “What gets me most upset is two other things about this argument: the unfair way taxes are collected …,”


DUMMY:  Wait a minute.  How are taxes collected from your carried interest and capital gains income?

GOLUB DUMMY:  Can we keep this strictly “for dummies”.  I’m talking about how the government steals money directly from your paycheck.


GOLUB DUMMY:  That’s unfair.  Americans should just declare what their income was at the end of the year and pay the taxes on that.

DUMMY:  That’s a great idea.  Like in Greece.

TEA PARTY DUMMIES:  Yipeeeeeeee!

GOLUB DUMMY: What also upsets me is “the violation of the implicit social contract between me and my government that my taxes will be spent—effectively and efficiently—on purposes that support the general needs of the country.”

DUMMY:  Good point.  Iraq war?  Money well spent.  Coddling our lazy grandparents by paying them not to work?  Total freaking waste.

GOLUB DUMMY: “Before you call me greedy, make sure you operate fairly on both fronts.”

DUMMY:  It is unfair for us to ask multi-millionaires like yourself to accept a tax rate on income above $379,150 of 39.6% instead of 35%.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “Today, top earners—the 250,000 people who earn $1 million or more—“

DUMMY:  The Top 1%.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “… pay 20% of all income taxes,”

DUMMY:  And take in nearly 25% of all income in the United States.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “and the 3% who earn more than $200,000…”

DUMMY:  Who take in about 42% of all income…

GOLUB DUMMY:  “…pay almost half.”  Almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all.”  Do you hear me?  Almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all!

DUMMY:  That’s right.  Nearly half of all filing Households in the United States have incomes so low that their federal tax burden is effectively zero.


DUMMY:  The lowest quintile average about $12,400 per year, the second lowest quintile average about $25,000 per year, and the third lowest quintile average about $33,400 per year.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “Clearly they earn less and should pay less.”

DUMMY:  Clearly, since the bottom 40% of the nation’s households only own 0.3% of the nation’s wealth.  You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “But they should pay something and have a stake in our government spending their money too.”

DUMMY:  And how much should they pay?  Say, a family of four earning $12,400 per year?  How much should they pay?  A thousand dollars?  Two thousand dollars?

GOLUB DUMMY:  I don’t know. Something.  Do you think it’s fair for me to pay federal income taxes when all of these people don’t pay any federal income taxes?

DUMMY:  No.  And what do you say to those liberals who say it’s also unfair that in 9 hours you make more than 80% of the nation’s households make in a year?

GOLUB DUMMY:  I say “I earned it.”

DUMMY:  Can’t argue with that.  After all, you’re part of the top 1%.  The 250,000 people who own 35% of the nation’s wealth.

GOLUB DUMMY:  Damn straight.

DUMMY:  And damn straight.

GOLUB DUMMY:  Why should I pay an extra 4.9% in taxes when these lazy shlubs don’t pay anything except sales taxes?  It’s not fair!  It’s not fair!  IT’S NOT FAIR!

DUMMY:  It’s not fair, dummies.  Do you hear that?  This isn’t fair.  Dummy, go on.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “In addition, the extraordinarily complex tax code is replete with favors to various interest groups and industries, favors granted by politicians seeking to retain power.”

DUMMY:  Like the financial industry.


GOLUB DUMMY:  “Mortgage interest deductions support the private housing industry at the expense of renters.”

DUMMY:  Yes.  That’s how I would put it rather than they encourage home ownership and provide the underlying assets for a significant portion of financial industry derivatives.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “Generous fringe benefits are not taxed at all, in order to support union and government workers at the expense of people who buy their own insurance with after-tax dollars.”


DUMMY:  If only we could reform the health insurance industry.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “Gifts to charities are deductible but gifts to grandchildren are not.”


DUMMY:  Gifts to grandchildren should be deductible.  Then we could stop giving to charities altogether.

GOLUB DUMMY:  “That’s just a short list, and all of it is unfair.”  It’s unfair!  It’s unfair!  IT’S UNFAIR!

DUMMY:  No doubt.  You certainly got hit by the unfairness stick.  You’re like the poster boy for an unfair life.  That fat girl in that “Precious” movie has nothing on you.

GOLUB DUMMY:  Damn straight.

DUMMY:  And you’re damn straight.

GOLUB DUMMY:  Damn straight.

DUMMY:  Dummies, that’s all we have time for today.

GOLUB DUMY:  But there’s more.  There’s much more.

DUMMY:  I know there is.  Let’s give a cheer to one of the great Americans, this Titan of Business, as represented by this dummy.  Tune in tomorrow and we will read you part three of My Response To Buffet And Obama written specifically for dummies.


Punch … Punch. Punch.

When Titans Talk To Dummies (Part 2 of 3)

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