Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Batman and Two-Face #25

Are any of these DC Characters even relevant anymore?

This paragraph was going to discuss new heroes that would represent modern times better than Batman and Superman but it just began to make me angry and depressed trying to think up heroes that could represent our current state of government officials that think their job is looking out for the best interests of corporations, investors, and bankers while destroying the middle class and actively hating not poverty but the poor themselves. What the fuck happened, America? The creation of The Middle Class made this country work. People didn't mind a soul-crushing job because their souls weren't invested in the job. The job offered security for the present and the future; it offered a way to own a home, raise a family, have the newest model car which is always next year's model for some reason. I suppose that only worked when the government knew that it could send out draft notices and steal the Middle Class sons for its own uses. The contract seems to have been broken once those children decided not to give up their lives for other people's bullshit. And so government and corporations decided if they weren't going to be fed the blood of our young men on a regular basis, perhaps the Middle Class didn't need as much money and security as it thought it did. So they picked a stooge from Hollywood to change the tax laws in such a way that money would stop flowing back into companies and instead start lining the pockets of the CEOs and upper management.

Under Reagan, the government lowered the amount you need to earn to find yourself in the top marginal tax bracket but they also decreased the percentage you have to pay. In essence, they just whittled away the number of marginal brackets until in 1988 it was down to two brackets. Nobody was paying more than 28% which kicked in at about 30,000 dollars. Before Reagan, people were paying 70% on income over $200,000 [People tend to get confused over marginal tax brackets. When somebody makes enough money to wind up in the 70% tax bracket, that does not mean they pay 70% on all income. Everything under $200,000 is taxed at lower rates, all the way down to their first $16,000 or so which isn't taxed at all. Just like everybody else.]. That's your trickle down theory. Give CEOs the same tax rate as lower income people and lower income people will get higher, better paying jobs! No, not really. What really happens is that money is invested back into the business far less than before because the money is worth more to the CEOs and investors. They begin keeping more and more of it as they raise their salaries since the money is worth more to them overall. And to justify this, they begin changing the discussion to make them look like heroes of the economy as opposed to pillaging pirates of industry. Also, if you keep the populace ignorant on how taxes actually work, they'll get angrier and angrier any time they hear somebody was taxed at 70% or more (70% on $200,000 or more was far from America's highest rates).

As an example of people's ignorance on tax laws, when I was looking for the hard numbers on tax brackets with Lord Google's help, I found a forum where people were astonished to find The Beatles were paying a rate of 98% which is why they fled to America and wrote The Tax Man and took LSD and had lots and lots of photo ops with gurus. Nobody chimed in to explain marginal rates to the angry people in the forum who were just assuming The Beatles were making $2 for every $100 they earned. One person even mentioned how ridiculous it was that somebody would invest one million dollars in something, double it, and only earn $20,000. This is why the Republicans have so many Tea Party fans. Because they're idiots that don't understand how taxes work.

Yeah, yeah. Fuck off with your incentive to create argument. The only incentive people have to make money is to make money. They'll make as much as they can no matter what the tax rates are. If somebody is in a lower tax rate at $49,000 a year and the tax rate goes up at $50,000, they don't have any incentive to not start making $50,000. They still make more money making $50,000 in a higher tax bracket than they made making $49,000 in the lower tax bracket due to the way marginal tax rates work. And due to the way greed works, people always have incentive to make more no matter what the fucking taxes are.

For the record, I think 70% on 200,000 is high. But I think the highest tax bracket should amount to 95% or up but it should have a much, much higher yearly income for that to kick in. But then, I'm just an asshole business owner who doesn't even want to own my own business. I just want to sit around reading comic books and playing video games. Maybe the conservatives are right! Fuck you, personal responsibility! I think I'll join the glorious life of a welfare earner, living large on government handouts! What a glamorous life! I can cackle at all the chumps working for a living, fulfilling their stupid dreams, feeling self-reliant and happy with their choices. Suckers! Don't they know they can live well below the poverty line with no effort at all?! Jerks!

Finally, let me just say that I'm not saying I have the answers to fixing how fucked up the greedy have made our economy. But I certainly think it can't be fixed until people are educated and honest when joining in on the discussion. It's irresponsible to spread fear and blame and lies because you're just trying to get something for yourself or your lobbyists. But know this: it isn't poor people that have fucked everything up.

I guess the preceding all fits here because, you know, fucking Bruce Wayne and his tax shelters and loopholes and gentrification and family wealth passed down from generation to generation. What an asshole.

Here's a picture of America.

McKillen, the woman who killed Harvey's wife and burned off half of his face, is currently in a Gotham Police Headquarters Holding cell which is why Harvey decided to turn the Batsignal into the Two-Face signal. Fucking Christ, Harvey. Gordon just had that thing fixed after Bruce Wayne's girlfriend was dropped on it! Do you think the Gotham PD has enough cash in its budget for another Batsignal fix? Hopefully Batman supplies the Batsignals gratis (that means "for free but with many strings attached" in the original Latin).

Ignore the innocent and guilty coin bit. The rest is perfectly stated.

In two speech bubbles, Harvey puts voice to the biggest fear in most people's lives. It's such a subtle fear that people really don't spend much time thinking about it. But it's why they believe in God. It's why they lock their doors at night. It's why they teach their children to dial 9-1-1. It's all of the little things they do to make it seem like they have control over their lives. And yet they still cross the street while speaking on a phone knowing in their heart of hearts that the bus will see them and stop. Because they've so ensconced themselves in the illusion of control that they begin to believe they have more control than they really do. You feel safe when you know all the data and all the odds and you've made the proper choices. But chance is just a loose brick on the top of a building away; a rabid dog on the loose; a fucking meteorite deciding it wants to fall where you currently stand. Random chance scares the shit out of people. It's why newscasters are quick to explain that the victim and the shooter knew each other when someone is gunned down. They know people will feel the sweet relief that the murder could not have been them. It wasn't random at all.

The fear of random chance is why so many people can't believe in the truth of the universe.

Land of the free, home of the rich white captains of industry!

After Harvey flees from Batman because Batman has to save some people about to blow up, the story flashes back to the night Harvey Dent's wife was murdered by Erin McKillen. Looks like Erin's twin sister has died and she blames Harvey. Now she wants to take away the love of Harvey's life. Which she does with a knife to Gilda's chest. The flashback ends when Harvey is knocked unconscious but I'm sure we'll be revisiting it soon enough to see him get half of his face melted off. Unless that happened last issue. Sometimes these exploded narratives are hard to follow!

Back in the present, Erin is granted a meeting with Bruce Wayne because she wants to hire some Bat-security from his Batman, Incorporated business. He refuses.

Why do people gotta keep bringing up his dead parents? I suppose if he'd just get fucking over it already, everybody would stop rubbing the wound raw. I was going to say they'd stop picking the scab but I don't think Bruce has ever let that old wound even form a scab.

Erin is carted off to Blackgate Penitentiary to await trial. But this is Gotham, so no place is safe unless you've got Bat Security. Guards are bribed and/or threatened and a bunch of inmates get their hands on Erin. Just as they're about to tear her to pieces, Bat Security arrives.

Okay, this is more like second rate, bottom of the barrel, knock-off Bat Security.

Matches rescues Erin and helps her escape Blackgate by blowing a hole in the side with some homemade C-4. It's bad enough that the criminals and Batman are always destroying Gotham property but now Matches Malone too? I have a feeling Bruce Wayne must be looking to buy a prison on the cheap. Blow enough holes in the place, suck out a ton of money from their budget for repairs, they can't afford to run the place, and suddenly they're willing to sell cheap to Bruce Wayne. It's how he owns so much property in Gotham already! Batman smashes a few walls and windows, owner can't afford upkeep, Bruce Wayne buys low. Cha-ching!

Matches and a recently sedated Erin plunge into Gotham Harbor where a submarine waits piloted by Mr. Sassypants.

Bruce is not amused.

Later, Erin McKillen wakes up in Wayne Manor protected by Bruce Wayne and his penis.

Batman and Two-Face #25 Rating: No change. You think Alfred logs on to his Underlings of Superheroes Forum late at night to share all the quips he's made at Batman's expense during the day? Has Matches Malone made a previous appearance in The New 52? Not counting Batman Incorporated which is in a hinky place in continuity anyway. It feels like Matches may have appeared previously in another Batman and Robin but fuck if I can remember. Anyway, solid comic as always with some really enjoyable moments. Although it didn't make me cry this month. Seriously, it didn't! I am not lying this time!

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