The phrase that justifies teabagger mayhem: we're broke. It's on the lips of them all. But, as E.J. Dionne says, not so damn fast.
Walker, of course, used the “we’re broke” rationale to justify his attack on public-worker collective bargaining rights. Yet the state’s supposedly “broke” status did not stop him from approving tax cuts before he began his war on unions and proposed all manner of budget cuts, including deep reductions in aid to public schools.
.... the fiscal issues are just an excuse for ideologically driven policies to lower taxes on well-off people and business while reducing government programs. Yet only occasionally do journalists step back to ask: Are these guys telling the truth?
The admirable Web site PolitiFact.com examined Walker’s claim in detail and concluded flatly it was “false.”
".... Walker has promised not to increase taxes. That takes one tool off the table.”
And that’s the whole point.
... As Bloomberg’s David J. Lynch wrote: “The U.S. today is able to borrow at historically low interest rates, paying 0.68 percent on a two-year note that it had to offer at 5.1 percent before the financial crisis began in 2007. Financial products that pay off if Uncle Sam defaults aren’t attracting unusual investor demand. And tax revenue as a percentage of the economy is at a 60-year low, meaning if the government needs to raise cash and can summon the political will, it could do so.”
Precisely. A phony metaphor is being used to hijack the nation’s political conversation and skew public policies to benefit better-off Americans and hurt most others.
As Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) pointed out in a little-noticed but powerful speech on the economy in December, “during the past 20 years, 56 percent of all income growth went to the top 1 percent of households. Even more unbelievably, a third of all income growth went to just the top one-tenth of 1 percent.” Some people are definitely not broke, yet we can’t even think about raising their taxes.
By contrast, Franken noted that “when you adjust for inflation, the median household income actually declined over the last decade.” Many of those folks are going broke, yet because “we’re broke,” we’re told we can’t possibly help them.
Give Boehner, Walker and their allies full credit for diverting our attention with an arresting metaphor. The rest of us are dupes if we fall for it.
Whenever it's suggested that taxes on higher incomes should return to the rates they were during the greatest economic expansion in eons, ie the Clinton years, wingers scream bloody murder. "Don't you believe in the American dream," they cry. "Liberals hate rich people," they announce.