Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Everything Wrong With Prager U's "The Progressive Income Tax: A Tale of Three Brothers," Part III

Ok, so despite a wide income disparity between the brothers, they've all decided to buy equally-priced homes on the same private street.  Whatever.  Let's move on.

One day, the three brothers decide that for the sake of security, etc. they are going to pool their resources to build a fricking palace gate seperating their suburban estates from the rest of the world (the video puts it differently, but that's about it.)  They figure the landscaping, gate, moatwork WTF EVER I ALREADY HATE THIS FAMILY will cost $30,000.  Harry says the cost should be divided evenly, but the other brothers object- Harry has more money, well, shouldn't he pay more?

The first thing that bugs me is that the work has already been done before they figured out how it would be paid for.  I'd expect this from lazy slacktards like Tom and Dick, but not Looking to the Future Hard-Working Harry!  Why wasn't this planned out beforehand?  Who put down the deposit for the landscaping, paving and other work?  I hate plotholes!

You see, if the question of payment had come up during the PLANNING phase, Tom and Dick could have said something like "it may not be 'fair' for us to ask you to pay more than us, Harry, but here's how we see it- for Tom, $10,000 represents about 35% of his total annual income.  For me, it represents about 12% of our total annual income.  For you, it represents about 7% of your family's annual income.  So it's a much larger investment for us than it is for you, yet your benefit will be the same as ours.  So from our point of view, you should pay more because you can.  But if you and Dennis Prager don't agree, there's an even simpler answer- Tom and I and can't afford to invest in these improvements.  So if you want them done, you'll either have to take more of the burden on yourself, or wait until we can contribute more.  Sorry."

This isn't rocket science, is it, Mr. Prager? Do you offer science at Prager U?

Instead, Harry takes the opportunity to lecture his brothers and suggest that being asked to pay more because he can afford to would be "penalizing" his and his wife's hard work.  And now the straw men are really unleashed as the brothers have it out in the middle of the street.

Tom says "Harry, you and your wife can work as hard as you want, but my wife and I want to enjoy ourselves now, not 25 years from now."  Obviously Tom is supposed to be a bad guy here- a "live for today, let society pay our bills" immoral lazy twat with his hand out all the time.  When Harry replies "fine, but why should I have to pay for that?" Tom plays the "because we're brothers" card, clearly not understanding that while blood is thicker than water, it's the thickness of the wallet that matters most in the real world.

Dick steps in and basically endorses the Progressive Income Tax formula as a solution to their problem.  For a moment, Dick is the Voice of Reason here.  But only for a moment, because Dennis Prager is by no means a fan of the Progressive Income Tax.  So he has Tom jump in with an enormous Straw Man "let's do it like the Feds who like to give freebees to deadbeats like me I don't pay taxes at all so I should get these improvements for free" speech worthy of the Republican National Convention when there are no microphones around.  Dick KNOWS this isn't fair but he likes it anyway because it reduces his share while putting a much larger burden on his Evil Capitalist Swine brother Harry.  And so the Class Struggle is explained- the middle class is conned into joining with the poor to fight a war against the thrifty, hardworking rich.  There's another freaking minute and a half to this ad but I'm not even going to finish it- instead I'll sum up this monstrosity in Part IV.


  1. The stats Prager U's ad uses don't even back up Tom's suggestion- if they followed the US tax structure, Harry would pay 70%, not 80%, and Tom would pay 3%, not 0%. I guess that didn't seem "unfair" enough for Prager, so he had to tweak the story a bit.

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