Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Styx – "Cold War" (1983)

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It’s been exactly one year since the most surprising election of my lifetime.  

Actually, it’s been exactly 52 weeks since that election – which is one day short of a year.  (“Close enough for government work,” as we used to say back when I worked for the government.)

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Tout le Washington is still chewing over what happened in the last election.  Hand-wringing and finger-pointing about the failure of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign abound.  

The cover of Donna Brazile's new book
Former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile says in her new book (which went on sale today) that she considered replacing Clinton with former Vice President Joe Biden after Clinton came down with pneumonia because her campaign had taken on “the odor of failure.”  

(By the way, Brazile recommended that Clinton see an acupuncturist for her pneumonia.  The quality of her medical advice was on a par with her performance as party chairwoman.)

Over a hundred senior Clinton campaign officials have disavowed Brazile’s account the campaign, saying “We do not recognize the campaign she portrays in the book.”

Brazile and Clinton
Donna Brazile, you’ll never eat lunch in this town again!

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The political controversy du jour this week in Your Nation’s Capital relates to the Republican tax reform plan.  Predictably, opponents of the proposal claim it benefits the rich at the expense of the middle class.

A recent rally against the proposed tax plan at a suburban elementary school in the Luxmanor neighborhood in Montgomery County, Maryland – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the star attraction at the rally – offers a textbook example of the hypocrisy that always rears its ugly head when there's a proposal to reform the tax laws.  

The Washington Post story about the rally could have been headlined “Affluent suburbanites cheer Pelosi’s support of tax breaks for the wealthy.”   

“Congress, Congress, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree” also would have been an appropriate headline.

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The folks at that rally got all riled up because they fear that Congress may get rid of the current federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes.

A typical middle-class Luxmanor home
The congressional district where the rally took place has a higher percentage of residents who claim the state and local tax deduction than any other district in the country.

There are two reasons for that.  First, the income and property tax rates in Maryland and Montgomery County are very high.  Second, the people who came to the rally have very high incomes and live in very pricey homes.  Put it all together and it means that they pay a lot in state and local taxes.

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The name of the school where the rally took place – Luxmanor – gives you a pretty good idea of what the neighborhood is like.  The median household income there is $157,532, which is about three times the median income of U.S. households as a whole.  And the median home value in Luxmanor ($485,100) is almost three times the median home value for the country as a whole.

Welcome to middle-class Luxmanor!
That means that the typical Luxmanor household is at the 90th percentile when it comes to income – meaning that 90% of all households in the U.S. make less money than the average Luxmanorite.  

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I’d bet you dollars to donuts that virtually everyone at that rally would describe themselves as plain ol’ middle-class folks, and deny that they are wealthy.

If Luxmanor is a middle-class neighborhood, I’m a monkey’s uncle.   You can’t tell me that you’re middle-class if you make more money than 90% of Americans.  

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Let me make my point a different way.

If you’re 70 years old, you’re older than 90% of the population.

Would you call a 70-year-old “middle-aged”?  I wouldn’t.  

Likewise, I wouldn’t say you’re a middle-income household if you make more money than 90% of all American households.

"Save the middle class"?
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“Cold War” was track two on Styx’s 11th and final studio album, Kilroy Was Here, which was released in 1983.

Track one of that album was “Mr. Roboto,” which is a silly song.

Here’s “Cold War”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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