Lincoln * Institute

Ralph R. Reiland

Ralph R. Reiland

The B. Kenneth Simon Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University

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Reflections

MSNBC's Tag Team of Redistributionists

by Ralph R. Reiland
 

It's not hard if you have a show on MSNBC.

There's a mantra and all you do is repeat it, like a fourth grade math teachergoing over the same fractions year after year until she starts to develop adislike for 10-year-olds.

I get home from work and click on the TV andMSNBC's Chris Matthews is saying"the

rich" aren't paying their "fair share."

The message is that none of us would be fallingoff the fiscal cliff like a herd of lemmings if only the top 2 percent ofincome earners would pay "a little more."

I go out for dinner and come back and RachelMaddow is on TV standing in front of the Hoover Dam in a blue hardhat saying weneed to "think big," like previous

generations.

If "the rich" would pay their "fair share," wecould build more government projects,more dams, and leave more infrastructureto the next generation, like in the 1930s.

The problem is that the Hoover Dam straddles theColorado River. Try pouring that

much concrete in a river today and the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service would be going through the mud to make sure no bug orworm was having its home turf disturbed.

The Knab Ambersnail (the Oxyloma HaydeniKanabensis or Oxyloma Kanabense by its

scientific name) is currently on thegovernment's list of endangered species.

The snail, about an inch in length, is known tolive in only two places in the U.S. and one of those places is a spring alongthe Colorado River, and there aren't many of the tiny snails making a go of itat that location.

The total population of Knab Ambersnails at theColorado River spring, according to wildlife biologist Jim Petterson at theGrand Canyon National Park, is "thought to number less than 2,000 individuals."

Note that they're "individuals," not escargo, not things to be simmered inmelted

butter with mushrooms and then smothered with wine sauce and cheese.

Petterson says the Willow Flycatcher, Humpback Chub, and Razorback Sucker also "call the Colorado River their home." All are officially endangered, and allare put at even greater risk by hikers, explorers, fisherpersons, riverrunners, and campers, many of whom are there precisely because of the Hoover Dam.

The Humpback is a federally protected fish with ahump on its back. The Willow

Flycatcher likes to sit in willow trees and eatflies. A female Razorback Sucker,

another fish with a hump on its back, isgenerally attended by up to 12 males.

Echoing Matthews and Maddow on MSNBC are Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, and LarryO'Donnell.

Sharpton says "the rich" aren't paying their "fairshare." Then Shultz takes over and says "the rich" aren't paying their "fairshare."

Then O'Donnell takes over and says "the rich" arefalsely accusing Democrats of

playing "class warfare."

It's like those fake wrestling shows where a tagteam take turns bashing an

opponent's face against the ring's turnbuckles.

What the crew at MSNBC doesn't mention when theytalk about "fair" are the latest IRS reports, for calendar year 2009, that showthe top 1 percent of income earners receiving 16.9 percent of the nation'sadjusted gross income and paying 36.7 percent of all federal individual income taxes, or that the top 5 percent of the nation's income earners paid a larger share of total federal income taxes than the bottom 95 percent of income earners combined.

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Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. KennethSimon

professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

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Ralph R. Reiland

E-mail: rrreiland@aol.com

Phone: 412-527-2199

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