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Too Honest

I’ve had a week to mull over Mitt Romney’s now infamous 47% tape, and my final conclusion is that Romney is too honest a republican. Nothing he said in that tape in regard to “poor” people (he was actually talking about the middle class) is any great departure from his party, either in rhetoric or in action. He didn’t make up that 47% figure.

He just repeated something that has been floating around in republican ideology for decades now. The 47% is the GOPs go-to demonization group when they don’t have Muslims, Russians (Romney is still clinging on to them as a threat), gays, or minorities to fall back on. You probably all know by now, that the 47% number that republicans like to toss around isn’t really accurate. It includes retirees, who don’t pay taxes on their social security checks (which represent the taxes they paid their whole lives), veterans deployed in combat zones, students, and the disabled.

It also includes the working poor. This is a particularly interesting group, with regard to the republican rhetoric. You see, the working poor don’t pay federal income taxes (they do pay sales taxes, gas taxes, payroll taxes, and state income taxes) because they get a deduction called the “earned income tax credit”(or EITC). The EITC in combination with the Child Tax Credit usually wipes out their federal tax burden. Where did these tax credits come from? Republicans. Milton Friedman (yes, that Milton Friedman) cooked up the EITC deduction. It was passed in 1975 under a democratically controlled congress, and signed into law by Gerald Ford. The idea behind the EITC was that if working people didn’t make very much money, minimizing their tax burdens would keep them working, and therefor off any public assistance programs. Makes sense, right? It made sense to Ronald Reagan. He was a big fan of the EITC.

Shouldn’t all republicans, past and present support this? It’s a tax credit. I thought they were all for people paying less taxes? What the fuck is the problem? Shouldn’t the GOP look upon these people as being American heroes for finding the taxless utopia they say they want? And why is it that modern republicans refer to Mitt Romney as a financial genius when he writes off $77,000 a year to maintain a fucking dancing horse, in order to minimize his tax burden, but a married couple with two kids making $30,000 a year can’t take a $3,363 EITC deduction without being freeloaders? Why is there such disdain for one class of people taking a relatively minute tax write off, when there’s nothing but praise for another class taking much more robust deductions?

The answer is obvious; the middle class and the working poor don’t have lobbyists, and therefore aren’t real people. They’re abstractions that don’t get any consideration at all. So much so, that republicans can’t even see that this class of people are doing what the GOP platform is based on; not paying taxes. Republicans have worked themselves up so much in their demonization, that they are no longer capable of consistency.

To them, Mitt Romney didn’t say anything wrong in that speech. He just got caught telling the truth. No one has talked about this, but did you hear any booing or jeers on that tape? I didn’t. I heard laughter when Romney said that he would have a better shot at getting elected if he were Mexican. Really , Mitt? Your father would have been the CEO of a major car company in the 50s if he were Mexican? He would have been elected to be the Governor of Michigan if he were Mexican? He would have been able to send you to Harvard and given you millions of dollars of seed money to start Bain Capital if he were Mexican?

These people have spun themselves into an inexplicable state of victimhood by putting themselves up on pedestals from which to look down on everyone outside of their class. They really believe that they are the anointed ones, being preyed upon by the rest of us. They’re entitled to $77,000 a year for dancing horses, while being galled by the idea of anyone taking $3,363 a year to feed themselves.

These people aren’t rational anymore. They see themselves as both anointed and victims simultaneously. What’s worse, they have absolved themselves of any civil responsibility. They are the elite puppet masters that make the world go round, and yet they bare no responsibility for fixing the country’s problems because problems they don’t have aren’t legitimate problems. Poor people are poor because they are lazy, and therefor not a problem. Rape victims that get pregnant obviously weren’t raped, since their bodies allowed he pregnancy to happen. Poor kids that want to go to college should just borrow the tuition money from their parents. Rising health insurance costs aren’t their problem because they don’t ever have to worry about being able to afford to buy health insurance.

The elite in that room don’t bother me nearly as much as the people that will vote for them. Romney was dead wrong when he said that “the 47%” won’t vote for him. An alarmingly large percentage of them will. Remember the tea party rallies full of senior citizens in medicare and social security? Remember how they were riding around on their fancy scooters that medicare paid for, while screaming about how they were being tread on? No, these are the real assholes among us. I can understand the 1% trying to protect their own self interest. I can’t understand the bottom 20% that go along with this crap, just so that they can elevate themselves in their own minds by punching down at the fictional people below them on the social totem poll.

Mitt Romney didn’t write off a constituency that the republican party cares about. He just made the mistake of saying that they’ve been written off out loud. He was too honest, and his crime was that he was careless enough to say out loud, what his party believes.

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Nine Most Terrifying Words

I’ve always been perplexed with politically active people that don’t believe that good government is possible. If you don’t believe that government is good, why bother to get involved?

I completely get the motivations of politicians that hate government. They want the power that comes with being in the government. It’s a great way to get really fucking rich without creating anything, or employing anyone. But the people that believe them? I find them inexplicable.

Who the fuck hears a candidate say, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help'”, and thinks “that’s who I’m voting for!“? How does that make any fucking sense? He just told you that he’s not going to help you if you elect him!

What kind of person perpetually votes for a party whose mantra is the promise of shrinking the government, despite the fact that no president in the history of that party, has ever made the government even a little bit smaller? Are these people fucking idiots?

The short answer is, yes. The longer answer lies in the inherent pessimism that fuels the belief that government’s only purpose is to fuck you.

See, republicans generally come into power and make things worse than they were before they got in. And once they’ve made things worse, they take the opportunity to leverage that crisis to make themselves (i.e the government) bigger and more powerful.

Bush ignored mounds of evidence (not to mention the emphatic warnings from his predecessor) , outlining the threat that Bin Laden poses to America. The US gets attacked, and the administration used that crisis to pursue the neocon agenda of world domination through invasion and occupation.

Ronald Reagan revived fears of a Soviet takeover of the world, at a time when no one was thinking about the Soviet Union. Iran was holding fifty-two Americans hostage, and we had an oil shortage that created long gas lines. The last thing on any American’s mind was the cold war. But Reagan gave those old fears some CPR and brought them back to life. He then leveraged the fear he resurrected, to get the American people to go along with his wild defense spending that blew up our deficit. He massively cut taxes for top income earners when he first came into office, and then had to raise taxes eleven times to offset the the shortfall that he created. In classic republican tradition, those tax hikes shifted the tax burden on the middle class.

Scott Walker turned a surplus into a deficit ten minutes after being sworn in, by cutting taxes at the top and doling out government contracts to his cronies. A minute after that, he leveraged the budget “crisis” he created to decimate collective bargaining rights for public employees.

I can give dozens of examples, but you get the idea. This is an age old tactic of the republican party. Why does it work on some people? Because if you are pessimistic enough to believe that government can never work for you, fucked up government validates your world view. It makes you right! Never mind the fact that you voted for the government. You were right, and that’s all that matters. Buying into the “nine most terrifying words” theory is purely emotional.

No rational, thinking, logical person would ever accept the idea that a human (any human) will ever relinquish power that they’ve obtained. That’s never happened in recorded history. So buying into the bullshit narrative that someone is trying to get into government so that they can turn around and give up the power that comes with the office. That’s just batshit crazy. So if you’re buying into this bullshit, you’re not doing it with your mind. You’re doing it emotionally.

That goes for you too, democrats. If you believe that a democrat will give up power that his/her predecessor secured for that office, you’re not being rational. I never, not for one second, thought that Obama was going to give up any of the expanded powers that Bush snatched up. To do so would be crazy and stupid, and I was definitely not voting for someone I thought was crazy and stupid. That’s just not how I roll. I will admit that I never saw the Bradley ┬áManning abuse coming under this president’s watch. I knew that Obama wasn’t going to give up the power to do anything, I just didn’t think that he would use this particular power. Don’t kid yourselves, Obama is completely aware of what’s happening with Manning. In my defense, I’m no less disgusted with Obama when he does it, than I was with Bush when he did it.

Die hards on both sides vote irrationally, but the whole foundation of republicanism is based on irrational voting and perpetuating a pessimistic world view.

We have a republican congress now, whose sole mission is to make things shittier so that they can point to Obama and tell you that government sucks. And Obama is playing into their hands by not standing up to make sure that shitty things don’t get passed.

It’s a vicious cycle, and to some degree, we’re all playing our part.

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Another Disastrous Concession; Tax Cut Edition

David Axelrod just confirmed that Obama is going to cave in on tax cuts for the rich. I’m feeling demoralized, to say the least. This is another example of unnecessary acquiescence that hurts America, by Obama. We can file this one with Van Jones, Shirely Sherrod, and ACORN.

Look the strategy on this one should have been very simple since most Americans, democrats and republicans alike, are opposed to this. Democrats should have done nothing but ask republicans, “How are you going to pay for this?” like simpletons, stuck in broken record mode. That’s all they should be saying about anything. Regardless of what the question being asked by the reporter is, every single democrat should respond with, “How are republicans going to pay for the tax cuts they didn’t pay for the last time around?”. If the question is, “How about those Giants?” The reply should be, “How are republicans going to pay for extending the tax cuts for the rich?”. PERIOD. No other words should be coming out of their mouths until republicans cave.

Another prong of this strategy should be for Obama to continue the praise that he offered to Ronald Reagan during the campaign. Breathe, breathe, and hang in with me for a second. Obama should repeatedly exclaim that he intends to set tax rates where the great and wise Ronald Reagan set them. Over and over, in perpetuity, Obama should be regurgitating out the “Great and wise Ronald Reagan” line.

You wanna know where Reagan had the top tax rate? It was at 50%. Do you wanna know what we’re talking about today? We’re talking about going from 36% to 39%! Are you fucking kidding me with this shit? Off the top of my head, if that 3% difference we’re debating equates to 3/4 of a trillion deficit dollars over the next ten years, I’m going to go ahead and say that if we went back “the great and wise Ronald Reagan” rates, we would be able to raise roughly enough to pay off Bush’s deficit in five years.

This wasn’t a hard fight to win but once again, Obama didn’t even try. Axelrod claimed that they didn’t want to “jeopardize” the middle class tax cuts in order to fight to let the disastrous Bush tax cuts expire. That’s the kind of bullshit false choice that makes me extra, supersized bitchy.

Let me go a step further. I want to raise the corporate tax rate back to 91%, where it was under Eisenhower. That was the tax rate that got us out of the great depression. It works well because it forces companies to reinvest profits, rather than to let their executives pocket the money. Personally, there’s nothing that the government can squander that money on that would be less offensive to me than watching Paris Hilton snort it. Watching the government spend that money on $400 toilet seat covers would be less disgusting to me than watching Lloyd Blankfein spend it on anything. Yeah, I’m the jackass.

Guess what Obama? That extra 3% that you’re letting good old Lloyd keep is ultimately going to be spent on spanking you with his wallet in the 2012 election. Nice move, jackasses. You have once again managed to fuck the country and fuck yourselves.

I can’t imagine why 29% of democrats that voted in 2008 stayed home in 2010.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – You BLOW, Obama administration!

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