Friday, November 19, 2010

The always-insightful Frank Rich:
The G.O.P.’s arguments for extending the Bush tax cuts to this crowd, usually wrapped in laughably hypocritical whining about “class warfare,” are easily batted down. The most constant refrain is that small-business owners who file in this bracket would be hit so hard they could no longer hire new employees. But the Tax Policy Center found in 2008, when checking out similar campaign claims by “Joe the Plumber,” that only 2 percent of all Americans reporting small-business income, regardless of tax bracket, would see tax increases if Obama fulfilled his pledge to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for the top earners. The economist Dean Baker calculated that the yearly tax increase at the lower end of that bracket, for those with earnings between $200,000 and $500,000, would amount to $700 — which “isn’t enough to hire anyone.”

Those in the higher reaches aren’t investing in creating new jobs even now, when the full Bush tax cuts remain in effect, so why would extending them change that equation? American companies seem intent on sitting on trillions in cash until the economy reboots. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ranks the extension of any Bush tax cuts, let alone those to the wealthiest Americans, as the least effective of 11 possible policy options for increasing employment.
Love that small business nonsense the GOP has stooped to offering as reason to extend tax cuts. Completely ludicrous.

But then while on the subject of what's ludicrous and nonsensical, Kevin Drum points out a sad fact, one that has been the case for decades:
This comes from the LA Times, but I think it could be the lead story in pretty much any newspaper in the country:
Californians object to increasing taxes in order to pare the state's massive budget deficit, and instead favor closing the breach through spending cuts. But they oppose cuts — and even prefer more spending — on programs that make up 85% of the state's general fund obligations, a new Los Angeles Times/USC Poll has found.

That paradox rests on Californians' firm belief that the state's deficit — estimated last week at nearly $25 billion over the next 18 months — can be squared through trimming waste and inefficiencies rather than cutting the programs they hold dear. Despite tens of billions that have been cut from the state budget in recent years, just a quarter of California voters believed that state services would have to be curtailed to close the deficit.
Well, there you have it. This is America in a nutshell.
Americans have always been all for cuts in "wasteful" spending -- just as long as those cuts do not affect any spending that benefits them. Nothing will ever get resolved with that kind of ass-backwards, delusional thinking, but you can count on politicians refusing to explain and force voters to recognize their flawed logic, fearing an angry backlash. Thus, we remain in this increasingly worsening state, seemingly paralyzed and sinking.

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