The next Tea Party plan?
Given that the Tea Party (or elements of it) has already campaigned on crashing the global economy by reneging on the United States’ debt commitments, and asserting (in many cases) that the vicious crime of rape should be enfolded into the abortion issue as a point in favor of pro-life stands, I have been trying to figure out what the next double down crazy idea they’ll come up with might be.
I have now come up with a think on the matter. My think? Debtors prisons.
Think about it: they combine social shame with punishment of the poor, with the added bonus that once you’re in a debtors prison you can’t actually work and pay off your debts and get out. (This, after all, is why nations got rid of debtors prisons in the first place.)
Debtors prisons offer an antiquated, disproven and discredited approach to solving the problem of debt and personal irresponsibility. It’s perfect for the Tea Partyists …
Dead. Solid. Perfect.
Indentured servitude seems right up their alley as well.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, protesting the tentative debt deal. In subsequent messages sent out on Twitter, Cleaver said that the deal was “antithetical to everything the great religions of the world teach” and that “Democrats got nothing in this deal.”
Only problem with this analogy: “sugar-coated satan sandwiches” are delicious.
See, this is what aides are for. You tell them what you want to say, then instruct them to come up with a less tortured metaphor.
Say it With Me; John Boehner is Just Wasting Everyone’s Time
Seriously, what the hell is Sir John of Orange doing? Last night, Boehner finally had to abandon his attempt to get his debt limit bill passed, because he couldn’t get enough votes in the House to push it through. But that’s OK, because there was no way in hell the Senate was going to pass it anyway. Metaphorically speaking, he was gunning the engine in a desperate attempt to run straight into a brick wall before the clock ran out.
Now, he’s actually taking the zero chance his bill had of surviving in the Senate and moving it into negative territory, by tying his bill to a Balanced Budget Amendment to please the crazies.
House Republican leaders will tie a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution to their two-step debt-ceiling bill — a move that is all but certain to clinch the necessary votes to pass Speaker John Boehner’s proposal a day after it stalled…
Several GOP conservatives had held back their support for Boehner’s bill because they wanted the balanced budget amendment provision included. It was the main point of contention in Thursday night’s talks between GOP leaders and the holdouts.
The House plans to vote on the bill Friday afternoon.
"If Boehner pulls off a victory in the House, the bill will then head to a hostile Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid has said the package is dead on arrival," the report goes on. "Reid is preparing to introduce his own debt-ceiling package, calling it ‘the last train out of the station.’ It shares some similarities with Boehner’s plan, but would raise the debt-ceiling into 2013, rather than require a second vote in February."
Of course, the ‘baggers are happy with the Balanced Budget Amendment, because they believe that people in Washington are incapable of doing their jobs — while bending over backwards to prove that assessment correct. A Balanced Budget Amendment could more honestly be called the “Stop Me Before I Spend Again” amendment, since (presumably) no one put a gun to Republican’s heads and made them vote for unfunded deficit fertilizer like Medicare Part D, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Taken together, these have all grown deficits at a record pace, while all these teabagging freshmen were sitting in their easy chairs, listening to Rush Limbaugh, and cheering it all on. Want to cut down on deficit spending? Elect fewer Republicans, not more.
And, in all the drama and late-night arm-twisting Boehner’s plan is generating, the sheer pointlessness of his efforts is being lost. None of this is going to go anywhere, it’s all a waste of time, it’s all just fiddling while Rome burns. The media should be spending a lot less time on the behind-the-scenes wrangling and a lot more on the stupid pointlessness of it all. We’re four days away from the debt limit deadline and Boehner’s dicking around with doomed, symbolic legislation designed solely to create the appearance of doing actual work.
It’s recently been asked if this is the “worst congress ever.” Maybe we should narrow that down; is John Boehner the worst speaker ever?
Note to GOP Voters: You’re Being Played for Suckers
There is no more perfect example of just how off-kilter — morally and economically — the Republican Party has become than yesterday’s floor statement by Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted against beginning debate on a measure that would have the Senate declare the rich should share the pain of debt reduction Thursday, a day after arguing that it’s the poor and middle class who need to do more.
"I hear how they’re so caring for the poor and so forth," Hatch said in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, in reference to Democrats. "The poor need jobs! And they also need to share some of the responsibility."
Hatch’s comments were aimed at a motion that passed 74 to 22 to start debating a non-binding resolution that says millionaires and billionaires should play a more meaningful role in reducing the nation’s debt.
Yes, let’s not tax people who can afford it, let’s tax people who can’t afford it. Let’s add an extra burden to working families and reduce consumer demand, because that’s just such a freakin’ smart freakin’ thing to freakin’ do. Sen. Hatch, I say this with all the respect you are due — which at this point is close to none — but you may have said the stupidest thing anyone in the world said yesterday.
And the outrage on the right over a suggestion that we raise taxes? Nonexistent. If you want proof that Republicans represent only the privileged elite, there ya go. If you want to raise taxes, you can go ahead and raise them on anyone but the elite, because no one else in the world matters. And this argument was made without shame — either because Hatch is shameless or because he’s so far gone he has no idea where the line between moral and immoral is anymore.
If you’re a Republican voter and you’re not part of that privileged elite, then you’re a fool. A sucker. A patsy. A stooge. Hatch is arguing that those who have little — meaning you — should pay more, so that those who have plenty can keep plenty more. Republicans are against raising taxes? Give me a second to engage in derisive laughter… They aren’t. If they were, Hatch would be facing a firestorm of criticism today from his own party. Instead, he’s enjoying silence.
Republicans want to take things that are yours away from you; Social Security, Medicare — you’ve paid for that. You own those. And the reason they want to take what you’ve bought from you is so that the very wealthy can continue to enjoy the lowest tax rates in recent history.
And the argument that this tax rate creates jobs? Look around you — you living in a free market paradise right now, with hot and cold running jobs and high salaries trickling down from on high? I hate to break it to you, but you’re not. If lower taxes on the rich creates jobs, where are they? Why was the economy better under a higher tax rate?
Seriously Republican voter, you’re being had. And of all the silent voices Hatch faces today, yours speaks the loudest.
No, the Government Doesn’t “Just Print Money”
It’s not often that I blog about a letter to the editor in my local paper. Generally, one person’s misinformed opinion isn’t worth worrying about. But sometimes, the opinion expressed is so wrong, yet so widespread, that it must be addressed. I’ll quote the whole thing here, so you can get the full impact.
Wisconsin State Journal:
It amazes me how supposedly intelligent folks can claim that the stimulus, bailout, bribery money is an actual benefit to those receiving it. You read about brain drain out of Wisconsin when it comes to jobs, but what about brain drain when it comes to intellect?
It’s not hard to understand the simple concept of currency value. Print more money and the existing money becomes worth less. Print even more and it continues to drop. At some point it will become worthless. Read about Germany’s Weimar government of the 1920s to get a glimpse of what it could be like here.
So when I hear professed intellectuals say that not taking $810 million in deflated dollars is insanity, I question their sanity. For every time you accept debt as a benefit, you widen the hole in the hull of the ship. That is true no matter what the new job scheme is. In the end it will still be debt, and people will be poorer than before or out of work because the stimulus jobs have run out.
We have joined the frogs in the pan, never realizing we are actually being boiled for dinner while thinking we are in our new swimming pool.
The $810 million referred to is stimulus money for high speed rail that our new — and mostly brainless — governor turned down. It may be the stupidest move a Wisconsin governor has ever made.
But my larger point is that the writer — who I won’t name here because I’m about to say unpleasant things about his intellect — is factually wrong on just about every point. If you want an example of how badly our media is failing us, consider that someone can write something so ignorant without any fear of becoming the target of public ridicule.
For example, the government doesn’t just print money. I’ve had to shoot this idea down more than once in conversation. And it’s not just the right, I’ve had to address it in speaking to people about the Bush administration.
The government issues bonds. It’s kind of like selling a loan. People buy those bonds and this covers the debt. In fact, most money is created by debt, since banks create money out of thin air when they give loans. No bank has cash reserves equal to the money it’s loaned out. Money is created by debt and most of that money is speculative.
What the writer describes would result in a massive wave of inflation. In fact, he says, “Print more money and the existing money becomes worth less. Print even more and it continues to drop. At some point it will become worthless.” And, even as he writes it, he fails to notice that it simply isn’t happening. Currently, inflation is all but nonexistent, at an average of 1.64% last year. In 2009, when the stimulus was passed and the government was supposedly printing up all this worthless money and driving down the value of the dollar, inflation was actually a negative — -0.34%. In other words, the value of a dollar went up.
Further, even if the government were simply printing money, how would that create debt? It’d be like cutting smaller pieces of pie; whether you slice it six ways or twelve, you don’t wind up “owing” pie. It’s impossible to cut it small enough that you wind up with a negative number of slices.
I guess what I’m getting at here is that, when it comes to economics, a lot of people are just dumb. It’s only partially their fault — we don’t teach this stuff in school and we should. People are casting votes based on the economic mumbo-jumbo and that’s an extremely serious problem. If we don’t do something to raise the level of economic literacy in this country, we’re heading for some terrible problems. Already, people who subscribe to this crap are being elected to office, where they’re poised — as Governor Walker is — to wreak havoc on the economy, by virtue of their complete misunderstanding of the most very basic economic principles.
Until we make sure that our kids are learning how to be informed citizens by teaching civics and economics in high school, we’re going to have to do this ourselves. If you hear someone making this argument — and sooner or later, you will — don’t bite your tongue. Set them straight. Facts matter.
Because when people start making decisions based on this level of ignorance, we are really, really screwed.
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