Monday, December 12, 2011

Daydream Believers

Okay, I'm not sure they actually believe what they say -- not all of them, anyway; but they sure think their followers will. I speak of the Republican noise machine, and their breathtaking ease in countering truth with falsehood. It's the Rovian model: figure out your opponent's greatest strength, and tackle it head on. Not by addressing it honestly, that is, or trying to make a viable counter-argument, but by turning it upside down and telling lies. Admirable in its brazenness, maybe, at some level, it has no equivalent on the other side that I can think of. What's not admirable, though, is the hunger with which it's gobbled up by their credulous side of the electorate, repeated endlessly by their media, and ignored by what's left (is there any?) of the mainstream (meaning thoughtful and bearing some self-respect) media.

Virtually all the the talking points of the right have been discredited as policy or proven false as charges. Name one: apology tour, job creators, tax cuts, regulations, health care... the list is endless.

More recent cases in point:

Think it's hard to spin away the fact that President Obama gave the okay to the raid that killed OBL? Child's play: George Bush gets the credit. Not only that, if Obama "had his way" OBL wouldn't have been gotten at all. No kidding: that's what they say. Coming from Fox "news" you can be sure no one would question either premise, or ask for the tiniest shred of evidence for Obama's purported preference.

How about Elizabeth Warren, toward the effort defeat whom Wall Street is pouring money like twenty-year old bourbon? She's a Wall Street shill. Really: that's what they say.

You're aware of President Obama's war on religion, right? Any one ask Rick Perry WTF he's talking about, what's the nature of this war, where's the evidence that it's anything other than (like Fox "news" annual rolling out of their Christmas outrage) manufactured for teabagger consumption? Doesn't matter. That's what they say.

Now, consider one of the Rs' most central economic points: taxes on small business are killing job creation. Guess what's found when an actual news organizations seeks specific examples: nothing. Unsurprising, given the fact that the entire premise is false:

-- Jody Gorran, chairman of Aquatherm Industries: "This mantra that every dollar in tax increases is a dollar away from job creation -- give me a break. ... It's not taxes that affects job creation, it's demand."

-- Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley-Waite Associates: "I don't decide to hire or buy equipment based on tax policy. ... We know how to make shit out of wood."

-- Debra Ruh, owner of TecAccess: "We need to hire people, but we don't have the cash or the credit to do it. ... I don't mind paying taxes. ... I like living in the United States and having the opportunities here. I don't understand why running a business has to be about avoiding paying taxes."

-- Michael Teahan, owner of Espresso Resource: "What we do in business, how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources -- that has very little to do with tax policy. ... I map my business based on my customers and what my customers want to buy and what they can afford to buy."

-- Rick Poore, owner of Designwear Inc.: "If you drive more people to my business, I will hire more people. It's as simple as that. If you give me a tax break, I'll just take the wife to the Bahamas."

-- Lew Prince, owner of Vintage Vinyl: "The economic premise that people won't hire because they might have to pay more taxes if they make more money is beyond laughable. ... You hire when you think there's a way you can make more money with that hire. The percentage the government takes out of it has almost nothing to do with it."

As I've said, as is obvious, as the businesspeople above say: it's not taxes or lack thereof that drives hiring: it's demand. Which is exactly why Congressional Rs continue to kibosh Obama's attempts to increase infrastructure spending: it's the most obvious way government can create jobs, which puts money in people's pockets, which creates demand for other goods, which creates more jobs, which helps America. In which, for purely cynical political reasons, Rs couldn't be less interested:

“Basically we’re still stuck in the situation we were three years ago and we haven’t made any progress at all except that our problems are much worse because of political reasons, because we now have a crazy party in charge of one of the Houses of our Congress and they won’t allow anything to happen because it’s in their vested interest to make things worse,” Bartlett explained in his typically exasperated way. “Plus they have a theory that is completely nuts….

The "Bartlett" is Bruce, Ronald Reagan's chief economic adviser, back when there were still a few honest and thoughtful Republicans. Reagan, after all, saw the failings of his extravagant tax cuts, and proceeded to raise them some eighteen times, if memory serves. I'm no fan of Reagan or of the Reaganismic approach to governance; but clearly there's not a single Republican in Congress or running for president who'd make such a move; and it's needed now more than ever.


Anonymous said...

Millionaire business owners are too busy to screw around on NPR/Huff Post. They wouldn't waste valuable time explaining the rationale behind their hiring/growth decisions to strangers. They wouldn't advertise themselves as millionaires for fear of alienating themselves from potential customers or making themselves targets for IRS audits. Nothing good can happen by responding to that request and thus few will.


Sid Schwab said...

Excellent, excellent rebuttal. Well-sourced, incisively addressing the central points. There's a future for you as a Fox "news" talking head.

Sid Schwab said...

I saved you the embarrassment of publishing your "no citations needed" response, PT.

You're welcome.

Funny, though, isn't it: the only R who doesn't use the word "professor" as you do, as an epithet, is Newt Gingrich, when he refers to himself.

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