A Little Ignorance Can Do a LOT of Damage.
Every once in a while, I get into an online “argument” with some Teabagging idiot that thinks that I’m a clueless moron that’s out to destroy the country (I reposted once such conversation last April). But after just one or two exchanges, it is clear that everything they know about the world they learned listening to other ill-informed Rightwing idiots that learned everything they know from a chain email forwarded to them by their Cousin Jeb in Tennessee. I had another such exchange over the weekend when I was called “an F’ing idiot” (censored here but not by him) for daring to suggest “tax cuts don’t create jobs”. “As opposed to what? Tax increases???”, was the first salvo. Insert lesson on Keynesian Economics and “Marginal tax rates” here. I won’t bore you with the details. Needless to say, it didn’t take too long to figure out that the person calling me “an F’ing idiot” had a depth of knowledge that was… uh, er… what does a baby frog say while standing in a puddle? “Knee deep”.
Anyway, on yesterday’s “Meet the Press”, the “Roundtable” discussion included Tea Party Congressman Raul Labrador, who told host David Gregory that “All I want is a level tax structure. I believe everyone should pay the same rate.” This is the popular “flat tax” argument, which sounds so “fair” and “logical” that I myself once supported the idea. The arguments for doing so are attractive: “You could file your taxes in two seconds on the back of a postcard”, “Save millions of wasted man-hours”, “And it’s only fair that everyone pay the same percentage of their income in taxes.” But here’s the problem with a “flat tax”:
Notice, the rates of the poor and middle-class go UP while the rates of the rich go DOWN. And you will never make up all the revenue lost by lowering the rates of the Top 50% by raising the rates of the Bottom 50%. They just don’t make enough money. And it is NOT “fair” because the “rich” DO use more government services than the poor (a point I constantly find myself having to explain to disbelieving Republicans that see every welfare recipient as a drain on society.) I’ve NEVER seen a Wal*Mart at the end of a dirt road. And if a vagrant gets rolled for his wallet at the same time the local jewelry story is being robbed, where do you think the cops go first? Ditto for the fire department. The government provides businesses with an educated workforce thanks to the public school system. The SEC protects their investments, and the U.S. Military fights oil wars for Exxon. Government contracts, subsidies… and let’s not forget the $750 BILLION dollar bailout of Wall Street. You could bust every two-bit car thief in Chicago for less money than it took to prosecute Bernie Madoff. YES, the “rich” use more government than the poor. And they need to pay for it.
Today/Monday should be the last day Congress discusses the Debt Ceiling until after the 2012 election. To date, the discussion has ranged from the infuriating (“The Debt Ceiling must be raised, but I’m voting No.“) to the “wildly irresponsible”, to the flat out clueless (Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) wants to lower – not raise – the debt ceiling.) That last one is in Pure-D flat out “Oh my f’ing God, these people are stupid!” territory. Rep. Broun CLEARLY doesn’t have a CLUE what a “debt ceiling” is or how one works. Thinking you can “lower” the Debt Ceiling is like calling your credit card company and… not only refusing to pay your bill, but demanding they reimburse you for some of your past charges! People THIS dumb have no business managing a $24Trillion dollar economy.
A recent CNN poll on the “Budget Crisis” revealed that “74% of Americans support a Balanced Budget Amendment”:
I find that more than a tad frightening, demonstrating about as clear as anything just how ill-informed most people are about how our economy works. Thank goodness Democrats in Congress are smarter than the average neophyte. And once again, I too once supported the idea of a balanced budget amendment. We waste billions of dollars each year simply paying interest on our debt, and when you are beholden to countries like China for more than a Trillion dollars (and looking for more), it makes it that much more difficult to condemn them for their human rights abuses (pre-Bush’s torture regime when we actually had a leg to stand on) or pressuring them to “please don’t sell nuclear technology to Iran. Pretty please? With sugar on top?” No one likes being in debt, especially to brutal Communist regimes.
No question a balanced budget is desirable. But a “Constitutional Amendment” REQUIRING we have one every year would be an unmitigated disaster. Why? Right now is the perfect example. Because when the government isn’t taking in enough money due to high unemployment and/or continued excessive & irresponsible Republican tax cuts, a BBA prevents you from borrowing to make up the difference. The worse things are, the more you’ll have to cut to balance the budget. Now, if you’re a Republican that believes in privatizing everything, then a BBA is a wish come true. Because that is exactly what the government will have to do as tax revenues sink lower and lower.
The same poll also showed that 66% of Americans oppose cutting farm subsidies:
That’s because most people still think we still have small family farms in this country. They picture “Farmer John” out in his field hoeing lettuce and carrots by hand, or maybe they are a bit more realistic, and picture a farmhand in a giant John Deere combine threshing wheat. What they DON’T picture are the giant “factory farms” of multi-billion dollar “agri-business” corporations like ADM collecting $20-BILLION dollars a year in tax-payer funded farm subsidies (one of whom happens to be Presidential candidate and reigning Teanut Queen Michele Bachmann… all while her “doctor” husband collected more than $137,000 in Medicare payments for his unlicensed “anti-gay conversion therapy” hokum). Factory farms don’t need subsidies any more than oil companies do right now.
Have you ever noticed how similar the debate over whether or not disaster will strike if we don’t raise the Debt Ceiling sounds like the “debate” over Global Warming? In both cases, the opponents are STRIKINGLY ill-informed, basing their opinions on false information, made up “facts”, supposed “common knowledge”, nonsense based on nothing more than a “gut feeling”, all the way down to outright denial out of pure stubbornness?
During the Winter, every snowstorm is “PROOF!” that Global Warming isn’t real. But come July when Texas is suffering its “worst drought in 125 years“, and Eastern Africa is in the midst of its worst drought in 60 years that is so bad “300 children were left for dead” because they or their parents were too weak to walk the 300 mile journey to the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya (BBC World News showed one woman, hysterical after having to leave her baby on the side of the road to die because the child was so malnourished it was about to die of starvation.) 12 percent of the U.S. is currently under the (quote) “exceptional” drought classification, but it snowed in Buffalo last Winter, so we know Climate Change isn’t real, right?
In both cases, be it Climate Change or the Debt Ceiling, the ignorant minority’s stubborn adherence to their ideology is not only endangering the future of OUR country, but jeopardizing the safety & security of the rest of the planet. Stupidity is not only dangerous, it can be deadly.
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