Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew Joseph Stack: Pauper with a Private Plane

cross-posted at Dagblog

So, Andrew Joseph Stack was angry at the IRS for his financial problems. So he got in his plane....

Stop. Stop it. Stop right there.

Do people in the media ever listen to themselves?

We have a person who, aside from being a murderer, feels he's being unjustly treated by the taxman. And that person, who considers his woes so unbearable that he's willing to take human life, has at least one personal aircraft. I know what you're thinking: The poor man. It's like something out of Steinbeck.

A little surfing around the internet suggests that one could buy a used Piper Cherokee plane, like Stack's, for something in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $170,000, depending on how old the plane is and some other factors. So Stack, persecuted victim of the IRS, owned a pleasure craft whose resale value was either two or three times the national median income. What has this country come to?

This is what our national discourse, our national sense of what's normal, has come to: a man so rich that he can spend two or three years of average-middle-class income on a toy still feels entitled to talk about himself as an economic victim, and that part actually seems normal to people. Republican Congressmen, people in elected office, can say, yes, it's wrong what he did but the IRS really is a problem.

It's laughable. Or it should be. But people actually base successful political campaigns and real policies and actual legislation on this nonsense. Because let's face it: a lot of the people complaining most bitterly about taxation in our public forums, the people screaming about Big Government even as the effective tax rate on the rich stays at rock-bottom lows: those are almost all Guys with Planes. Sometimes it's actually a plane. Sometimes it's a boat. Sometimes it's a summer house, or a ski lodge. Sometimes it's a boat and a ski lodge and a Jaguar and a Vicodin addiction and love nest somewhere. You know what these people call themselves?

Regular guys. Average joes. Victims. "The middle class."

It would be funny if it weren't so ugly and so mean. You know who the real privileged in America are, according to these people? Mothers receiving food stamps. Illegal immigrants busing tables for half of minimum wage. The unemployed. According to the Guys with Planes, these people are not being punished enough, so the thing to do is cut off the food stamps, kick penniless immigrants out of the emergency rooms, and cut the capital gains tax.

Conservatives have been complaining for years about the culture of victimhood. And they're right. It's ugly. Anytime they want to drop the victim act is good with me. You can put the sense of entitlement next to it.

I'm tired of being poor-mouthed by guys with their own planes. Suck it up, fellas. Things are tough all over.

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