Since I missed my connection and I'm spending New Year's in an airport hotel, I figured I'd take this time when everyone is out celebrating to point out something I know is unpopular, but which still annoys me.
Joe Stiglitz, writing at the New Deal 2.0, echoes the conventional wisdom on the bailouts:
We are accustomed to thinking of government transferring money from the well off to the poor. Here it was the poor and average transferring money to the rich.But was it really? It was the government transferring money to the rich, that's for sure. But where does the government get its money? Mostly from....the rich. According to the Tax Policy Center, the top income quintile pays 67.2% of all federal taxes; people who make over $100K/year pay 73% of all federal taxes. When it suits their argument, pundits like Stiglitz suddenly forget that we have a progressive tax system.
I'm not saying the bailouts weren't unfair (they were), or that the middle class hasn't suffered for the mistakes of others (they have). I'm just saying, let's stop pretending like the majority of the bailout is being financed by Sally Schoolteacher. It isn't.