Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nursery Rhyme Capitalism

Today on guess where -- Fox News -- Rep. Mike Pence (R - Indiana) became the latest in a series of cold-blooded, vultures who said that extending the Bush tax cuts [for the rich, white benefactors of the GOP] was a good thing, despite the effect they will have on the growing deficit. In fact, Pence said, foregoing that $678 billion in revenue would actually help the economy:

"The reality is that as you study -- when President Kennedy cut marginal tax rates, when Ronald Reagan cut marginal tax rates, when President Bush imposed those tax cuts, they actually generated economic growth, they expand the economy, they expand tax revenue," Pence said. "The point is we've got to get this economy moving again and we can't go back to the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats or the tax-cut-and-spend policies of the prior administration." 

To Pence, cutting taxes for the rich and continuing to spend (on endless wars) is OK. Talk about spin (and bad math). This is just another way of professing the GOP love for trickle-down-your pants economics without mentioning the debunked and income-redistribution-to-the-wealthy tax plan of Reagan and Bush.

Of course before Pence even got to the campaign talking point of tax cuts, he began with the now now ingrained Rovian/Luntz meme that those poor unemployed people are just lazy bums sitting on their fat asses all day watching General Hospital, drinking beer and refusing to flip burgers at the local grease pit. Since they are just a bunch of good-for-nothings, they will just have to continue to wait for the $400 unemployment checks - because, according to Pence, we just cannot afford to help them. The GOP, who really do feel for those lazy, leaching bums, just cannot in good faith authorize or vote for the $33 billion it will cost to extend unemployment insurance without offsetting comparable spending cuts. [but don't touch wars or ask for tax increases!]

Sing a song of Mike Pence,
A pocket full of sighs.
Four and twenty tax cuts,
Baked in some lies.

When the lies were broadcast,
The House became a race;
Isn't this a dainty dish,
To set before our base?

The base is in their counting house,
Counting out their cash;
The whacks are with the teabags,
Toting guns to bash.

The Moose was in her garden,
Hanging $150,000 worth of clothes;
When down came an oil soaked pelican
And pecked off her nose.

Check this out for a great mashup on Pence by Bluegal

What will it take for America to realize that
  1. Trickle down economics - aka tax cuts for Pence's rich Republican benefactors - simply do NOT work, all they do is put more money in the hands of the people who already control 95% of the money. Most people making under $100K or even $200K barely see a nickel of these tax cuts.
  2. The Republicans - including Mike Pence - are primarily the ones that got us into this mess to begin with by pushing for unfunded and unnecessary wars and deregulating everything they could get their grubby hands on.
A few words about Trickle-Down-Your-Pants economics. On paper it sounds so great. Give more money to the smart (and rich) and they will invest it - in businesses, in companies and in research and development. But hold on - that is not what actually happened. The money ended up with the rich alright, but instead of investing it back in the economy and American society (which they started labeling "income redistribution") - they invested it with each other. 30 years of Reagan "trickle up" wealth redistribution just allowed the rich to gather more personal assets (like homes, cars, jewelry, hedge funds) instead of building plants, fostering energy independence, repairing infrastructure and a whole slew of other things that could have been accomplished on behalf of the US as a whole. And since billions in excess income proved to be not enough, the beneficiaries of trickle down Republican tax cuts created new (and ultimately way too risky) ways to make even more money. The new uber-class kept tossing the money wads back and forth to each other, somehow making obscene profits and purposely keeping those bucks out of reach from the proletariat, descamisados and regular Americans. While they had their fun, the middle class became a bunch of welfare queens driving Yugos.

The Congressional Budget Office stated that the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts disproportionately benefited the wealthiest households. The tax cuts boosted the income of the top 1% of households (with average incomes over $1 million) by 10%. Compare this to a 2.3% increase for middle-income families with average incomes of $57,000 and a 1.6% increase for the bottom 20% of families, with average incomes of less than $17,000. (Here comes the lame argument about how the rich already pay a disproportionate amount of taxes, they control a disproportionate amount of the assets of this country).

Think about this - the unregulated "financiers" on Wall Street played cat-and-mouse with pension funds, insurance pools and securitized mortgages. 30 years of binge chugging finally led to an economic meltdown. Bush and company then bailed them out (as he walked out the door). The rest of the country - including the idiots who voted Republican because of a bunch of slogans like "we think government is too big" or "we will insure your right to own a gun" ended up losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings and watched as un- (and under-) employment drove towards depression levels. Two scant years later, the criminals who took us down this road are making more money than ever and those without jobs can't even get a $425 unemployment insurance check from Mike Pence.

This is Nursery Rhyme Capitalism at its best. The few who caused some of the greatest losses ever are rewarded the most, while those who actually produce real things of value, are punished the most severely.

The continued argument about deficit reduction just proves what an abomination Pence and his pals are. He and Kyl (who went on this rant last week) think debt just fine for to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthiest in the country, but debt for those who have been thrown into an economic tailspin due to the misbehavior of the wealthiest - well that is just too much red ink for the budget to handle.

And this is who America wants to run Congress again.

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