Archive for hypocrisy

Newt Loves Drug War, Wants Expansion

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by rottenart

Obviously, since the deficit is the only thing anyone in DC wants to talk about, it makes sense for the new Republican frontrunner to come out in favor of expanding one of the biggest wastes of money in American history. And, since it is Newt after all, he’s also thrown in some hypocrisy on the issue, just for good measure.

Not only does he now think medical marijuana is a “joke” despite having supported it in 1981, he’d like to see more drug testing of citizens requesting unemployment compensation or food stamps.  He also supports the death penalty for high-level drug smugglers, noting the “successful” and “draconian” drug policies of Singapore. However, despite getting “more aggressive about drug policy” and emulating Singapore’s mandatory executions, he doesn’t want us to throw anyone in jail either.

Remember, folks, Gingrich is supposed to be the “ideas man” of the GOP

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Let’s Talk About ‘Fair Share’

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by rottenart

Steve Benen has a good post today about the persistent meme that’s been making the rounds since the deficit became the holy grail of national political discussion: it’s not fair to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes because they already pay so much! John Boehner, ever the voice of the oppressed 1%, said this:

“Come on. The top 1% paid 38% of income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?”

“We are not going to engage in class warfare,” Boehner said, adding: “The president’s clearly trying to do it, and it’s wrong.”

Well, let’s just parse that a bit, shall we? As Steve puts it:

“Just as important, while these very Americans are paying a larger percentage of the nation’s overall income taxes, they’re also paying a smaller share of their personal income in income taxes.”

As a percentage of their income, they’ve seen their tax rate drop significantly. While the top 20% do pay the majority of the income tax, they also control around 90% of the wealth and account for ~80% of the income.  In fact, while the middle and lower classes have seen their wages stagnate and even decline over the past 30 years, the uppermost 1%  have seen their incomes soar by 275% in the same period. And those vast majority who Boehner thinks aren’t paying enough? They’re already poor and don’t make enough money to have to pay!

Beware the Republican bearing statistics about taxes and who pays their ‘fair share’.

Failure is a Pretty ‘Super’ Option

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2011 by rottenart

It’s been clear for a while now that Republicans on the so-called “Super-committee” to oversee deficit reduction weren’t going to budge in the slightest. The media, for their part, have continued to advance a ridiculous narrative in which the GOP’s offer of $300 million in raised revenue (read: taxes) while making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent is somehow serious. Democrats on the panel, surprisingly, have refused to go along with such an inane proposal. So, here we are, less than a week until their deadline and they appear to be headed for complete failure.

Good.

First of all, the whole idea was stupid in the first place. It’s already congress’ job to come up with a budget. To put in the hands of an extra-super-secret congress is just political theater. More important, however, is what happens when they do fail. The whole idea was to make this committee accountable by building a doomsday scenario into their work:  if they can’t come to an agreement, automatic budget cuts (or sequestration, to use the word of the day) are triggered. Entitlements take a hit, defense takes a big hit, everyone’s pissed off and everyone can brag about reducing the deficit, right? Well, yes, but there’s one other huge piece of the puzzle that would have more of an effect than anything else: letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire.

We faced this same scenario earlier this year in the debt limit fiasco and last year when the cuts were supposed to expire originally: Republicans are too busy licking Grover Norquist’s boots (no matter how much John Boehner tries to pretend otherwise) to actually get serious and admit to fiscal reality. The fact that the GOP has become radicalized to the point of self-parody doesn’t help either. Tax rises, no matter the context or practical use, are anathema to the modern Republican party.

Regardless, the super-committee’s failure to reach an agreement, for all the bitching and moaning that Republicans will undoubtedly do, will actually lower the deficit. They won’t admit it, but it’s hard to deny facts. In fact, it looks to be as much as $7.1 trillion over the next decade. That’s a lot of scratch and it should be cause for celebration for those who feel the deficit is the end-all, be-all of American political discussion. Yet it’s clear that if the panel fails to deliver, the blame game is going to shift into overdrive with an election year looming. At the end of the day, however, the Bush Tax Cuts are the major driver for the deficit and letting them expire at the end of 2012 would put us back on track, with virtually no other actions to be taken.

It seems like those on the GOP side who are accusing the Obama administration of cheering for the super-committee’s failure should be doing a little cheering themselves if they truly care about the deficit. Anyone believe that’s the case?

Is There Any Other Conclusion?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by rottenart

Steve Benen has been pushing the line for weeks. Paul Krugman, Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher all have touched on it. And now, Chuck Schumer, Democratic senator from NY and newly-appointed message machine, has spelled it out in such a way as to make it very, very clear: The GOP is deliberately sabotaging the economic recovery  because it helps their election prospects.

As he says, as distasteful as it may be to say it, the evidence getting hard to ignore. When Republicans are willing to reject a tax cut for chrissakes, you know something is seriously amiss.

When Doing Nothing Makes Sense

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by rottenart

Yesterday, Eric Cantor had a tantrum and stormed out of the budget talks between himself, Boehner and Obama that have been ongoing for weeks. Today, we get a look at why: he simply couldn’t bear to live in a world where we didn’t give corporate jets favored tax status. It’s been known for a long time that the GOP is holding the country’s economy hostage over the Most Pressing Issue Of Our Time™, the deficit. Of course, the reason Eric ran off in a huff is that the right is absolutely opposed to anything and everything that could even remotely be considered a tax increase. Never mind that raising revenue is the only way to reduce the deficit. Setting aside the utter hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue, let’s assume for a moment that running a balance the red is our biggest challenge at the moment. At the very least, the Republicans would be correct in thinking that we simply have to do something quickly, right? Well…

The numbers don't lie...

…not exactly. It turns out, if we let the Bush tax cuts expire (as they were designed to do last Fall, before the extension was passed), then that’s it. The deficit simply goes away because of the increased revenue. Keep in mind, that this would mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates for the whole country, wealthy and worker. I seem to recall things were pretty good during the 90s but perhaps I’m misrembering…

In any event, Boehner & Co. think they have a winning strategy, pushing the US right up to the deadline of our debt limit and threatening a default. This would be catastrophic and they know it, therefore, they aren’t serious about any of this. But if the Kabuki play continues and we let the preening egos prance without actually touching anything, then maybe we might see the GOP’s worst nightmare for 2012: a recovering economy.

Dr. Tom: Needs More Gutting

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by rottenart

Tom Coburn, bag-man extraordinaire, is having a bit of a tough time. Sure, there’s all the questions about the John Ensign affair, which make Coburn out to look not only like the worst Christian ever but also a little bit like a potential perjurer. But that’s not the big issue facing our nation, people! What’s that you say? You’re pretty sure the American public is worried about jobs? Well, what the hell do you know about anything? Haven’t you heard that the most pressing issue of our times is the debt? Jobs, psh…

So, what to do? Everybody’s got a plan. Some are not popular, some are slightly more popular and some are curiously non-existent in the conversation. So, while everyone is arguing about whose budget is more serious, the Senate comes in to the rescue! The Gang of Six are here to offer a bipartisan solution that everyone hates (I wonder if it ever occurred to politicos that the word ‘gang’ is king of a turn-off) and they’ve been working very hard on that last point.

But we’re going to have to wait, boys and girls. Because while Tom Coburn understands that sometimes you have to negotiate with millions of dollars in real estate to keep untidy indiscretions quiet, there is no way he is going to accept anything less than gutting Social Security and Medicare to solve our nation’s ills. From TPM:

A source with knowledge of the negotiations says Coburn ultimately broke ranks after members of the group rejected his proposal to introduce a global cap on Medicare spending that would have cut $150 billion from current beneficiaries.

“The issue we have now is, over the last couple weeks Coburn has been slow walking this and it’s become clear that he’s not been negotiating in good faith,” the source said. “He came yesterday with demands that we make immmedate and deep cuts to current Medicare beneficiaries.”

I mean, if we’re not willing to throw old people in the street, we’re simply not serious enough to deal with the debt. And so Coburn picked up his bible (?) and went home. Reportedly, there is no more Gang of Six, I suppose because everyone besides Dick Durbin wanted to cut even more.

So remember, folks. Tom Coburn is willing to haggle with criminals to cover up an affair and lie about it, but if he doesn’t get his way when we’re talking about the country, he  sticks his fingers in his ears and screams. It’s so serious I could puke.

Perhaps Dr. Tom Wasn’t Being Exactly Honest?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by rottenart

"I will never tell!"

Tommy Boy has some ‘splainin’ to do.