le mensonge dans une bouteille

Bastardized phonyms using a different language that has a close but completely different meaning… draw comparisons where appropriate. Working on this week’s column, I’m seeing a route through to making the point that

Is there any doubt that most of the talking heads on cable, along with an uncomfortable ratio of the professional politicians they report and comment on, do not know what they’re talking about when it comes to the causes for and ways out of our economic recession?

And I come back to the ‘fools or liars’ construct, where your interlocutor (or presidential candidate –  candidate McCain was offering something up seemingly every other day this summer and twice on weekends) offers a point predicated on only one of two possibilities – either he’s a fool or he thinks you are.

And the trends continue, unabated. Krugman today, on the Treasury plans to make low-interest, non-recourse loans to lure private investors into buying bad assets:

And the insistence on offering the same plan over and over again, with only cosmetic changes, is itself deeply disturbing. Does Treasury not realize that all these proposals amount to the same thing? Or does it realize that, but hope that the rest of us won’t notice? That is, are they stupid, or do they think we’re stupid?

I don’t know which possibility is worse.

And this

ABC News reports on “upper-income taxpayers” who are trying to reduce their income so they avoid proposed tax increases on those earning more than $250,000.

According to ABC, one attorney “plans to cut back on her business to get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama tax plan be passed by Congress and become law.”  According to the attorney: “We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999.00.”  ABC also quotes a dentist who is trying to figure out how to reduce her income.

This is stunningly wrong.

The ABC article is based on the premise that an individual’s entire income is taxed at the same rate.  If that were the case, it would be possible for a family earning $249,999 to have a higher after-tax income than a family earning $255,000, because the family earning $249,999 would pay a lower tax rate.

But that isn’t actually how income tax works.

And that’s just today… this morning, actually. Please make it stop. Has anybody seen the bridge?