And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he’s willing to do what they consider Serious — which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class. The idea is that they will finally drop the false equivalence, and admit that he’s reasonable while the GOP is mean-spirited and crazy.
But it won’t happen. Watch the Washington Post editorial page over the next few days. I hereby predict that it will damn Obama with faint praise, saying that while it’s a small step in the right direction, of course it’s inadequate — and anyway, Obama is to blame for Republican intransigence, because he could make them accept a Grand Bargain that includes major revenue increases if only he would show Leadership (TM)."
— Paul Krugman gets it right on the rumored Obama budget. This is the classic misstep; sure, it’s purely symbolic, but it moves the discussion to the right, damages what should be a through-line about the worth (and therefore the inviolability of) Social Security, and sets the stage for a Grand Bargain that is even further to the right than this “symbolic” proposal. After all, this is now Obama’s starting position. Any “compromise” will by necessity “hurt” Obama a little more in exchange for exactly zero GOP concessions and, additionally and without regard to any possible outcome, hands the GOP a readymade 2014 advertising campaign about Democrat cuts to your Social Security. It’s just the way Washington works now. And Obama’s people still haven’t figured it out and, apparently, never will.
"The proposition that Barack Obama was actually saying — literally — that business owners don’t build their own businesses doesn’t make a lick of sense. Unless, that is, you’re already convinced that he believes this, and only now has he finally tripped up and admitted it. In that case, it makes all the sense in the world. And what does this contempt for business owners translate into, policy-wise? An increase in the top marginal tax rate from 35% to 39.6%. Apparently this is the rallying cry of today’s socialist revolutionaries."
— Kevin Drumtouching on just how hard it is to deal with what Paul Krugman calls “invincible ignorance.”
The ultimate wages of absolute epistemic closure on the modern GOP unfortunately extend far beyond simply causing them to nominate national embarrassments like Christine O’Donnell every now and again and into actual peril for the Republic.
The two political factions officially have their own “facts.” One of those factions has a 24/7 news organization, the most popular such outlet in the country, dedicated to using anything and everything as “indisputable evidence” of their set of facts; when usable material doesn’t show up on a given day, they resort to creative editing and outright fabrication. That’s what’s happening here. Obama made comments about infrastructure; creative editing makes it into a comment about business in America. Next thing you know, the Boston Globe runs a story on their front page implying there is no empirical evidence (e.g. the text of Obama’s speech as delivered); therefore “GOP says Obama hates business; Democrats say otherwise…” and no conclusion about the veracity of the claims is made or even implied. Unacceptable.
Research has repeatedly shown that once this inaccurate information such as this is “out there,” there’s just no stopping it. Primacy always wins. Even people who know the information in question is false in hindsight have difficulty accepting the “new” and correct information.
How then does Obama “prove” he isn’t a secret socialist? When did he stop beating his wife? These and other questions will plague us until the non-FOXnews contingent of the American media wakes up, realizes there’s no there there, drops this view from nowhere approach that gives us only unusable he-said-she-said nonsense, and starts thinking and acting critically (but without malice, obviously) in all dealings with figures public and semi-private. Short of somebody utterly and unexpectedly disrupting the media as it stands today, I see no other way out.
New York City Romney Donor in Land Cruiser: "We’ve got the message. But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
Krugman: "So I was curious: what do “nails ladies” earn? The answer, according to the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics, is that in 2010 the mean annual wage of Manicurists and Pedicurists was $21,760. Among other things, this means that nails ladies probably face a higher marginal effective tax rate than Romney donors."
Lemkin: A truly agile messaging arm in a tight election year would have had Krugman responding to this linkage, not making it. This is why we fail.
"…this is the way the right goes after everyone who stands in their way: accuse them of everything, no matter how implausible or contradictory the accusations are. Progressives are atheistic socialists who want to impose Sharia law. Class warfare is evil; also, John Kerry is too rich. And so on."
— Paul Krugman, sole member of the mainstream media who seems to understand this simple concept.
"What’s going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They’re not John Galt; they’re not even Steve Jobs. They’re people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.
Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees — basically, they’re still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.
This special treatment can’t bear close scrutiny — and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage."
— Paul Krugman, hosting another edition of Krugman Explains it All in 200 Words or Less. Shrill.
"I know that admitting that Barack Obama is already the candidate of centrists’ dreams would be awkward, would make it hard to adopt the stance that both sides are equally at fault. But that is the truth."
— Paul Krugman, commenting on the seemingly eternal font of “what we need is a mystical centrist third party to fix everything” pieces from the MSM.
What we have now is a right wing party, the GOP, and a center-right wing party, The Democrat. Obama ran as and is governing as a center-right technocrat… and still can’t get much done in the face of blanket GOP opposition.
Sadly, admitting to or even obliquely referencing this reality is an unforgivable heresy and likely as not to get you run out of Serious Person circles forever.
Paul Krugman: David Altig points out that given the recent decline in gasoline prices, we’re likely to see a negative headline inflation number by June. What will the inflationistas say?
Lemkin: They will say that this is definitive proof that further austerity measures must be implemented immediately, the deeper and harsher the better, and preferably coming through brutal cuts to Medicare and the social safety net. Likewise, deep cuts to the tax rates of the top 1% are indicated. What other response is even possible?
"…these are the basic points liberals should be arguing:
• These vouchers would be grossly inadequate.
• For that reason, most seniors wouldn’t be able to afford adequate coverage.
• Medicare as it exists today is indeed sustainable.
If you find yourself arguing about something else, you may already have lost."
— Bob Somerby, speaking the truth. Keep it simple and to the point. Pizza, the Marine Corps, and their relative similarities or interchange rates need not enter into it and our arguments tend to be weakened or just diffused by the presence of these things.
The Democrats have a uniquely potent message to offer here, one that polls almost uniformly in their favor; as a result, constantly going off to fight ultimately pointless side-battles is precisely what the GOP would love to have happen. It muddies an otherwise crystal clear dichotomy. The GOP wants to end Medicare as we know it. The Democrats do not. This is because Medicare, even as currently figured, is sustainable. Long term fixes and cost (and rate of cost-growth) containment through mechanisms installed in the ACA? Of course. Wholesale gutting that leaves only the name in place: not necessary. Period.
"If you replace a system that actually pays seniors’ medical bills with an entirely different system, one that gives seniors vouchers that won’t be enough to buy adequate insurance, you’ve ended Medicare. Calling the new program “Medicare” doesn’t change that fact."
— Paul Krugman, reflecting on the Village Edict that Democratic claims that the GOP plans to “end” Medicare are misleading.
The stupidity of our discourse truly knows no bounds. Yes, a program called Medicare exists in the Ryan Plan. But that is where the similarities end. That realizing this requires reading even an executive brief of said Ryan Plan is why the Village will never, ever come to know this.