Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If It Ain't Broke...

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 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.

What a load...

I think Franken's words -- which I'd not noticed until I read Dionne -- are hugely significant. The balance is off, way off. The economy is inarguably skewed toward the very wealthy to the great harm of everyone else: and yet, it's everyone else -- ie teabaggers -- who willingly enable this disastrous state of affairs, to their own detriment. You know, we're not talking about returning to Eisenhowerian rates, or even Reaganesque, before or after his tax hikes. It's about restoring a modicum of equality of opportunity; and by "modicum" I mean remaining skewed up, but marginally less so.

Income redistribution, they shout, from the bowels of Fox "news" and the drug-addled chamber of Limbaugh's studio. What, I ask, is income redistribution if not the results of the Bush tax cuts? And how is that kind of redistribution helpful, especially when it's leading to the sorts of cuts in programs that will guarantee the end of progress?

Yet the people who should be the most infuriated by this state of affairs are the very ones who are facilitating the travesty. They've actually been convinced that the problem is... teachers. Teachers!! A third of income growth to the top one tenth of one percent. Those damn teachers!

And the teabagged are cool with it; ecstatic, evidently. To let it stand, to keep the money where it is, we need to cut food programs for the poor, jobs, fire teachers, and, sure as hell, eliminate funding for tsunami warning systems. Clearly, for teabaggers to see what they're doing and how they've been deceived would take a level of comprehension of which, it seems, they are simply incapable. It's absolutely unfathomable to me; and yet, there it is. (Wonder what they'd "think" if they followed moderate conservatives, and "read" this.)

Played like a snare drum, teabaggers are buying the bullshit they're being sold; and it's been as easy as lying with two words: we're broke. Two words: income redistribution.

Simply dumbfounding.

1 comment:

  1. Ummm Sid-ney
    I bet you just hate bein called "Sidney"...:)and I'm stealin this from Dr.Bill Cosby Ph.D, but I thought my name was "Shit-head" until...
    umm people still call me that alot...
    OK, maybe its another one of those 1977 LSD-25 flashbacks but.......
    Didn't Our President (Success in the NAACP basketball brackets be upon Him) cut the FICA tax by 2%?
    OK, its only on the measely first $106,800 that I don't know how anyone can live on, but still thats 4 or 5 pairs of my wifes shoes...
    and funny, but my Federal Withholdings the same its been for the last 8 years, they must have forgot...DADT I always say...
    in fact, the only taxes that have gone up are on my Cigars and Tanning, so I switched over to the Honduran Cigars(pretty tasty)my Yard guys smoke, and the tanning place cut me a brake for bein a "frequent melanoma" I mean tanner, and cut there rates by exactly as much as the tanning tax.
    I just go for the conversation anyways, its like an old fashioned barber shop, except its hot Israeli chicks instead of grumpy old men...
    and whats with the "Cowboy Poetry Festival"? thats money Po' Black Peoples with Negro Dialects could spend on Crack, I mean Lottery Tickets, I mean, Malt Liquor...



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