Sunday, March 27, 2011

Conservatives Are Astonishingly Stupid

During the period 1951-63, when marginal rates were at their peak - 91 percent or 92 percent - the American economy boomed, growing at an average annual rate of 3.71 percent. The fact that the marginal rates were what would today be viewed as essentially confiscatory did not cause economic cataclysm - just the opposite. And during the past seven years, during which we reduced the top marginal rate to 35 percent, average growth was a more meager 1.71 percent ~ Eliot Spitzer (b. 6/10/1959) former Governor of New York and current co-host of the CNN political commentary program "In the Arena", as quoted in his 2/23/2011 Slate magazine article, "Tax Fraud".

Question: What's the difference between a Liberal and a puppy?

Answer: A puppy stops whining after it grows up.

The above "joke" is from the "best-selling" book, "365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy", by Libertarian Conservative dumbass James Delingpole. Upon reading the setup I assumed the punch line would mention how puppies are born blind but later open their eyes - unlike Liberals. This is the joke (or some variation of it) I'm sure most people are familiar with. Mr. Delingpole must have never owned a dog, or known anyone who owned a dog. As a pet owner (or pet guardian, as a politically correct Liberal might refer to himself) I can say unequivocally that adult dogs whine - quite frequently, in fact.

Another way a Conservative can drive a Liberal crazy, according to Mr. Delingpole, is to use the words "Oppressive" or "Regressive" instead of "Progressive". Then feign puzzlement when called on their incorrect language usage, asking, "how is it progress to steal free citizens' liberties, money, and hope, and hand it all over to government bureaucrats"?

I'm a subscriber to Mr. Delingpole's newsletter, and every day he sends me an email containing another method by which Conservatives can drive Liberals crazy. Most of them are as stupid (or stupider) than the two provided examples. Delingpoole obviously believes that, to drive a Liberal crazy, one must ignore the advice of Abraham Lincoln who said, "it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt". One Amazon reviewer accurately describes the book as "a celebration of ignorance".

Conservative ignorance is most apparent when it comes to the issue of taxation. For some reason Cons believe that cutting taxes for wealthy individuals is the most effective way to stimulate economic activity. Some of them seem to think that it is the only way. Which is why they insisted tax cuts be a part of the Democrat's stimulus bill - the stimulus bill they almost immediately began to claim had "failed".

In reality it was their tax cuts that failed to produce economic stimulation. Specifically it was (and continues to be) the bush tax cuts that are supressing the recovery. A 3/1/2011 article by Larry Beinhart on Alternet makes the point that "history shows that when spending is cut - in the name of balancing the budget - recessions immediately follow".

When he decided to extend the bush tax cuts for an additional two years President Obama said he had no choice because the Republicans were holding benefits for unemployed people hostage. After the Republicans got the tax cuts for the rich they had demanded (significantly increasing the deficit in the process) Congress repealed DADT and passed a number of other pieces of significant legislation in the lame duck session.

Politically moderate citizens across the nation rejoiced at what they (incorrectly) perceived as bipartisanship - and the president's popularity increased. Unfortunately what they apparently did not realize is the fact that the "compromise" actually sabotaged the prospect of an economic recovery.

On the 11/4/2010 broadcast of the Thom Hartmann Radio Program economist Ravi Batra said "3 or 4 months ago... [I] said to you that, if the government spending stays where it is we'll be stuck at the bottom, and we'll stabilize at the bottom. And that is essentially what we are seeing. Even now there are layoffs in the economy, although there is some growth. But now that we have this new leadership from the Tea Party and the Republicans... They're going to put even more constraints on government spending, and I think a double-dip is for sure now".

Taxes are at a historical low, and the deficit and national debt are at an all-time high. The last Republican administration passed their tax cuts (which went primarily to the wealthy) at a time when we had a budget SURPLUS. Then they spent trillions on two (illegal) wars. Finally, financial deregulation, as championed by Conservatives, lead to a housing bubble burst which brought our economy to it's knees.

Even though they are still pro-tax cutting, pro-war, and pro-deregulation, they believe continued high unemployment can be solely attributed to President Obama and the Democrats. Either the Republicans are astonishingly stupid or this is all part of a long running plan to impoverish the middle class and funnel even more money into the hands of the upper one percent.

Apparently the American people are that stupid. Many of the voters who helped elect Barack Obama in 2008 didn't bother showing up to rebuke the Republicans in the 2010 mid-term. Disillusioned moderate and Tea Party idiots were duped by Koch-funded "grassroots" organizations into showing up and voting against their own interests, which allowed the Republicans to seize control of the House and proclaim the American people had sent a message. The message was we needed to do more of the same shit (cut taxes and spending) that brought about the recession to begin with!

This is why the Cons have been circulating the ridiculous conspiracy theory which suggests it was progressives who are responsible for the 2008 crash. It wasn't excessive tax cuts, two lengthy wars, or deregulation that we can attribute the downturn to - the reason we are in a recession is because Democrats forced Fanny Mae, Freddie Mac, and private banks to give risky mortgages to irresponsible poor people.

Now they're setting up another economic downturn which they will blame on the President and the Democrats. The mind-blowing thing is that their strategy to win back the White House in 2012 may work. I think the chance of a president Palin or Bachman are quite low, but what about President Romney or Pawlenty (who Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC's "The Last Word" believes will be the GOP nominee). Whoever the Republican challenger is, they will be, without doubt, a worse choice that our current president. Yet, some Democratic voters say there isn't much difference between the two parties. Some may vote for a third party candidate (who can NOT win), or stay home (in which case the Republican WILL win).

I've seen comments on a number of progressive blogs expressing disappointment with Obama. He isn't a Socialist and he surely isn't the most Liberal president ever. He's a moderate corporate-appeasing Democrat at best. But this does NOT mean progressives should HELP elect a Republican president (by throwing their vote away)! To my fellow progressives I say, if this course of action isn't astonishingly stupid, it is at least an exceedingly bad idea.

SWTD #64

2 comments:

  1. Great post, w-d. You got it exactly right. The top marginal tax rate is way too low. An analysis of the economy over the last 80 years shows the optimum top rate should be around 60 to 65%.

    Also, I would recommend added some brackets at the top end. The top bracket now is about $250,000 and above. I would add brackets with higher taxes at maybe one million, 5 million, 20 million.

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  2. Thank you for this informative post. I just want to share a good source for tax forms and tutorials - PDFfiller. It has a ton of tax forms and legal templates. It helps me fill out a needed form neatly and gives me the option to esign. http://goo.gl/yoGwr2

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