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Bill O’Reilly Ready to Abandon Staff Over Pittance

November 17th, 2011

I was working on this before a family emergency drew me away and then I got loaded up with work upon my return. Soon after I made my post on how stupid it is to assume that raising taxes on the rich will cause them to up and quit, Bill O’Reilly fabricated another deep cesspool of Randian BS:

If you tax achievement, some of the achievers are gonna pack it in. Again, let’s take me. My corporations employ scores of people. They depend on me to do what I do, so they can make a nice salary. if Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50%, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m gonna do this. I like my job, but there comes a point when taxation becomes oppressive.

First, O’Reilly is lying outright. Well, that’s obvious, and he’s lying about more than one thing. But right off the bat, it is not even remotely possible that Obama would raise the top marginal tax rate to 50%. He is suggesting 39.6%, a mere 4.6% increase; just that will be a battle royale against a dead-set GOP relentlessly opposed to wealthy people paying as much as the middle class. Raising it another 10% above and beyond that would be virtually impossible, and suggesting it is “very” possible is a flat-out lie. O’Reilly knows this damn well, and clearly has no problem making a patently false claim from the outset.

Now, even Obama’s 39.6% is just his opening bid–we all know too well that Obama usually moves towards Republican numbers from there, so what is “very possible” is that he’ll settle for something less than that, or just as likely get nothing. But let’s assume Obama stands firm and we get a tax hike exactly as he proposes.

O’Reilly makes at least $20 million a year, and his net worth is estimated to be at least $50 million. Now, let’s keep it simple and presume that he pays the top marginal rate on every dollar (he doesn’t) and has no deductions, shelters, or other ways to lessen his payment (you can bet your ass he’s got lots of those). This would mean that at 35%, O’Reilly takes home $13 million. Under the increased rates Obama would be lucky to get passed, O’Reilly would take home $12,080,000.

So, a man who is sitting on a fortune of more than $50 million and takes home $12 million a year is going to lay off “scores”–that’s at least 40 people, probably more–sending them to the unemployment lines and possibly derailing their careers, not to mention stop doing what he clearly loves to do, simply because he is unable to receive 4% less of $20 million when he has such a massive fortune already?

Keep in mind, of course, that O’Reilly is not claiming that he is tired of doing his job and thinking of retiring anyway, and this just is the last straw. No, he is acting as if he’s perfectly happy to work now–but would be so put off by a minor tax hike that he would kick “scores” of people he employs out on the street because his embarrassingly gigantic income dropped by such a small amount that he would have to look carefully at balance sheets to notice that anything had happened.

What kind of pathetic psychopathic prick would do that?

Of course, we’re assuming that O’Reilly’s screed is honest on its face. And that is never a good assumption.

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  1. Troy
    November 17th, 2011 at 10:23 | #1

    Plus if he stops yapping his trap it’s not like Fox can’t find someone else.

    Part of what O’Reilly gets paid for is to lie so convincingly, to either tell people what they want to hear or piss people like you off so you talk about how bad he is.

    But his show is actually serving no concrete wealth-creating purpose.

    It is drivel, pap, crap.

    The sum total of wealth in the world would not go down should it disappear.

  2. Tim Kane
    November 18th, 2011 at 02:34 | #2

    There’s is no history that shows O’Lie-ly to be correct.

    When Eisenhower was in office and the top tax bracket was at 90% people nor corporations, didn’t “pack it in”.

    Uncle Milty says, as do most other economist, that the historical rate of return on investment is 4%. So basically, for an endeavor to be viable it has to make 4.1% rate of return.

    I’m reading “The Wages of Destruction” by Adam Tooze on the economy of the Third Reich. When German Corporations in the early 1930s went to the Nazi Government to get help in financing some venture, the Government often said yes, usually through loan guarantees, but the price was that the Reich would get to keep any profits over 5% return on investment. So, if the company bet wrong, the Reich covered the bet, but if the company bet right, the Reich took ALL profits over 5%. Not one company, when given the option, walked away from that proposal.

    By your math O’Lie-ly says he will quit work if he can’t make $13 million a year after taxes. In other words, he would retire and make nothing rather than continue to work and make $12 million. That’s a lie that no one buys. If some one was engaged in an activity that he hated, and didn’t NEED to work, then at some point the money isn’t worth it – your time on earth is finite, why give it to someone else if you don’t have to. But few people on THIS earth would turn down a multi-million dollar pay check because he had to pay high taxes, let alone if it was work he enjoyed.

    In the case of O’Lie-ly his enjoyment of his job probably stems from the immense power he has as a result of his job. Kissinger said that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac. For every intern that turns down his sexual advances, there’s plenty who are enthralled with his power to allow him to proceed. Not only would O’Lie-ly not quit his job if his take home pay was reduced by one million, he would not walk away from it if it was reduced to a million. In fact, he’d probably do it for free, maybe even pay to do it and will only leave it kick, scratching and clawing to remain in place.

    More troubling is his lack of patriotism or care for the median American worker. The Great Recession is a direct bi-product of the Bush tax cuts. It shifted $5 trillion from the demand side (commercial economy) of the economy to the supply side – together with another $5 trillion dollars shifted in the same way courtesy of other Bush proposals, this lead directly to the implosion demand in the commercial economy. The route the economy took to the implosion might have been circuitous, but the collapse was coming in any event, courtesy of Bush policies.

    There is only one way to restore the economy and the prospects for millions of Americans, and that is demand side bias policies. That means, for starters, that the Bush tax cuts have to expire. I don’t care what the politicians say, it’s either they expire or mayhem is coming, on a scale that no one can cognize. I’m sure the Republicans in in 1928-1932 didn’t cognize the holocaust in the 1940s, but their policies lead directly to it.

  3. Troy
    November 18th, 2011 at 07:57 | #3

    The Great Recession is a direct bi-product of the Bush tax cuts.

    Well, I don’t see it that way.

    My thesis is that the working class economy is just getting too tapped — from various economic rents and the trade deficit.

    The trade deficit is $500B/yr! That is money that is leaving the US working class and not coming back as US wages.

    Then there’s the immense health care sector, where we pay $8000 per capita, more than twice what Canada pays and 3X Japan, Taiwan, etc.

    Health care at least provides 14 million jobs so it’s not a total loss, but there still is an immense flow out of the working class via this rent-seeking in medicine.

    I think the Bush tax cuts are really neither here nor there compared to that. Something like $200B/yr for the middle class and $100B/yr for the top 1% IIRC.

    The tax cuts did get more disposable income into housing, 2001-2003, but it was the larger bubble fraud that really got the economy rolling, 2004-2007:


    the above graph is CRITICAL to understand what the Bush years gave us.

    it shows household mortgage debt growth year-on-year, and you can see it literally spiking to $1T+ per year of new debt.

    This was a colossal stimulus, and once we lost it in 2008, the economy simply had to crash.

  4. Troy
    November 18th, 2011 at 09:44 | #4

    The tax cuts were & are stimulatory to a degree, they essentially replace middle class tax money (@ $200B/yr) with rich peoples’ purchases of treasuries.

    We can raise taxes $200B/yr on the middle class, but that’s going to be a body shock to the system.

    Raising taxes on the top 2-5% is much less of a body shock, as it would just be diverting what is now treasury buys into taxes again.

    But like I said above this tax jazz is NOT the problem with the economy one way or the other.

    I really think the very economic structure of the middle class is just too porous. Money that is earned as wages just drains out of the middle class to quickly.

    $500B/yr trade deficit, including the cost of the 1000 gallons of gas each household buys each year.

    Housing costs are also a very big issue. The profits — economic rents — in this sector are immense. Stuff that I was renting for $800/mo in the 1980s is now renting for $1600 or more! It’s the same building, same land, yet the price has doubled!

    This is an immense, trillion dollar tap per year on the working class. What happens to all that rent money? Much of it is in fact redistributed back to labor via things landlords buy, but not all of it, or even most of it AFAICT.

    I have a hard time explaining this thesis so that’s why I repeated it : )

    What’s odd is that I don’t see anyone else like Krugman making this analysis.

  5. Tim Kane
    December 5th, 2011 at 01:22 | #5

    Always meant to follow up on Troy’s comment.

    I believe we are talking about the same thing: the sequestering of resources from the commercial/demand side of the American economy.

    It is intrinsic to capitalism, or any free market system, that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Why? Because the rich, who have abundant resources, use their resources (capital) to enrich themselves (rake in more money) – they then employ that new money to pull in even more money. Money so employed is money that has journeyed from the demand side of the economy, to the supply side, and as such the pool of demand has permanently shrucken. This did in the Roman Empire. Near its end, six senators owned half of North Africa and the commercial economy of Rome had collapsed.

    This can only be staved off by demand side policies, that would include progressive taxation, the estate tax, and moderate levels of inflation (which also has other uses, such as empowering monetary policy to manage the economy).

    In the United States the rich began getting richer under Reagan, and this continued through Clinton. The Rich then payed deliberately and dearly to put Bush into the White House, roughly about $200million to $250 million. At the time I wondered how they would get their money back. Silly me. As I stated in above post, they got at least $10 trillion, and maybe even $15. They also got two more fascist on the court, who soon went out of their way to render the Citizens United and Arizona Free Enterprise Club opinions to formally entrench fascism into American civics. It will take a revolution to reverse this out come in history and the rest of our lives, and probably more. An armed revolution might be quicker, but less accurate so of dubious help.

    Troy’s point is basically the same. The lopsided trade relationship the U.S. has with Japan, China, and perhaps some oil states, is bleeding cash out of the commercial, demand side of the economy. It’s one thing if we send a billion dollars to, say Canada, for hockey pucks, if we know we’ll make it back in sending baseballs to Canada to even out the flow. It’s another thing if we send billions of dollars to a country that is self sufficient and is not intersted in buying from us.

    In this sense, it appears that American foreign policy has been to use trade to cement alliances, that were paid for off the backs of America’s long beleagured working class. Since 1970 Korea’s working class has seen their incomes rise 30 times, Japan, maybe, 15 times. America’s working class has stood still. For families to make more, they had to send more people out to work. Today working class families will have multiple members working multiple jobs. One wonders why parenting skills have collapsed and with it the education in working class areas.

    But our points are roughly the same. Resources are being drained from the pool in which the working and middle class swims – to the point where it is neither healthy or sustainable.

  6. Tim Kane
    December 5th, 2011 at 01:42 | #6

    The net affect of the bush tax cuts, along with other policies, was equal to roughly $5 trillion over ten years. I’ve seen that in a number of places. Just moving that much out of the commercial economy is probably enough to collapse demand.

    Furthermore I believe Republican strategist believed this and new it would cause an implosion. I think they knew it. I think they were banking on a cyclical turn in the Presidency to a Democrat, and that the melt down would occur after January 2009, when Bush would be stepping down.

    However, by January 2008, they knew it wasn’t going to happen. As economist have noted, the “recession” began in December 2007. There had already been a major tremor in the markets in August 2007. So it looked to the Bush Republican policy makers that they weren’t going to make it to January 2009, and so the collapse would be laid on Bush and Republican policies.

    So what did they do?

    In March 2008, despite their anti-keynesian bearings, Bush signed into law a mini-stimulous of $130 billion dollars that when into effect around the end of May/early June. To sign a bill in March meant that it had to be proposed months earlier and it also means it had to have weight behind it. The size of the bill says it all, it suggest that it was just enough stimulus to put off the Great Recession until after the Republican were out of power. Then the melt down could all be cleanly blamed on Democrats and Democratic policies – with the hope that they would be discredited for a generation. Not they used a democratic policy choice, Keynesian stimulus, to discredit democratic policy choices.

    By August the Administration could begin to see the cracks in the wall that would fall apart in September. The mini-stimulus was too little, too late. No doubt some Republicans would use this as a pretext to say Keynesian policies don’t work, but more likely it proves that small stimulus won’t work. If $130 billion didn’t work to help a pre-melt down economy, the pawltry $700 billion wouldn’t solve a post melt down economy. Not by a long shot.

    The only good out of this, as the two stimulus kept things from being worse, and for all history, Bush rightfully gets the blame for the meltdown. Any body who cares to look can see tax cuts were an epic disaster to the economy.

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