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.
Worth noting that the “scandal” eating up several days worth of Congressional hearings cost American taxpayers $823,000. That’s Thousand, with a “t.” Particular interest seems to focus on a single party that cost $1960 dollars. Two thousand dollars.
Bonuses paid post-bailout in AIG’s godforsaken Financial Products Division? $168 million.
Total USG investment in AIG alone: $180 billion. With a B.
That’s just for AIG and really just for one division of AIG. The whole shooting match there on Wall Street was measured in trillions of dollars.
These and other gross mismatches in outrage brought to you by Feckless, the official messaging arm of The Democrat. Well played, boys. Should government money be wasted? Of course not. But let’s keep a sense of scale and focus the outrage on the truly outrageous.
I’m not sure how many times the Republicans have to say the same stuff, plainly and in modern English, before it begins to sink in to the minds of those in the media that they, the Republicans in Congress, want Obama to fail in his bid for reelection and to achieve that goal, they need the American economy to fail.
You, as a GOP House mover-and-shaker (aka Tea Klan fanatic), are faced with the newly rising popularity of Obama (e.g. he’s in the 50s for the first time in a while), the first positive news on housing starts in a long, long time (driven more or less entirely by huge demand for apartments, since vanishingly few folks can qualify to buy houses anymore, at least not considered relative to the bubble excess and the fact that home foreclosures are still relatively high), a suddenly more optimistic public attitude re: the economy, and none of your own GOP candidates for the nomination are exactly setting the woods on fire, and may well be instead burning down the house relative to your broader chances both up- and down-ticket come 2012.
All that considered, do you, the rank and file Tea Klan fanatic, feel comfortable handing that same Obama you want to fail a sure-fired way to boost the economy even more as 2012 rolls along? Or do you want to apply the emergency brakes? With this most recent nonsense, I think no sensate being could still deny that we have our answer.
Now, of course, there is some subtlety to their position. They don’t want the extension of this particular tax break because it a) doesn’t help their prime audience in any way (aka the 1%), because those folks either don’t draw traditional paychecks and/or said pay is a relatively tiny fraction of their entire portfolio, so they could care less and won’t notice either way b) it legitimately does help the broader economy and quickly since we’re in an aggregate demand slump and this is cash in the pockets of the 99% who actually create that aggregate demand in, uh, aggregate, and c) is a quick and relatively easy way to sand the gears of the economy, and they think they can sell it to their crazed idiocratic supporters through ever-willing conduits like FOXnews and the Wall Street Journal (The latter of which is already overboard) using such time-honored tools as goalpost moving and poison-pill additions. No one will ever know, and if they do, we can convince them to blame “Democrat leaders in the Senate.” Who, for once, have grown a pair and are doing their part to (rightly) hang this on the GOP. They even have a “Tea Klan tax hike” style meme going. It’s like they’ve finally gotten hip to the way the other side messaged in, oh, 1992.
But frankly this is a pretty simple calculation for the GOP. Braveheart and all the rest are just window dressing that, as usual, the MSM is lapping up. The real story, the one far too shrill to actually report: Anyone or anything getting in the way slowing the economy can kindly go die in the streets. Tax proposals benefiting the 1%: always welcome. Wedge issues that reliably bring this or that fractional percent of old white voters to the polls in November: always welcome. Anything that might actually help the economy and, by extension, Obama: forget about it. And they have.
Loser liberalism, by implying that all fortunes are created equal, alternately goes too easy on scoundrels and comes down too hard on people who are merely prosperous. [Even “low” paid] folks working on Wall Street are making a living in an industry that’s systematically dependent on implicit and explicit government guarantees. Making a living as a patent troll is totally different from making a living as a genuine innovator. Dentists enriching themselves by blocking competition from independent dental hygenists and tooth whiteners aren’t the richest people around, but their income represents a healthy share of ill-gotten gains. A viable egalitarian politics needs to find a way to distinguish between “malefactors of great wealth” whose revenue streams need to be systematically reappropriated, and people who are just paying higher tax rates because of the declining marginal utility of income.
Reasonable people are going to disagree, of course, as to who exactly the malefactors are and what policy levers can and should be used against them. […] But there’s something deeply unimaginative, cramped, narrow, and — I think — fundamentally incorrect about this vision of America where everything is on the level, but people need to pay a top marginal income tax rate of 39.5% rather than 35%.
I’d say Yglesias has provided us with a rather trenchant distillation of just how warped our national political discourse has become.
Extending his example, the Republicans more or less universally call this potential 4.5% rise in top marginal rates on the richest of the rich “pure socialism,” or, at best, anti-American, anti-jobs, anti-whomever they’re talking to at that moment. That approach tends to be a conversation ender and the point at which the MSM says something along the lines of “we’ll leave it there.” And but also it’s unclear to me how you even address the broader issues in the economy that Yglesias rightly lays out without at least being able to have a semi-sane discussion about tax rates and revenues. If that 4.5% rise can be effectively dismissed using “socialism!” just how is a national candidate supposed to make the more nuanced and complex point?
I’d say it can’t be done in the current media environment. It is not possible. The slow motion implosion that is the GOP’s series of primary debates is a symptom, not a cause. The underlying rot is fundamental to the discourse itself; the growing and brazen willingness to use that rot for personal gain (e.g. by lying your ass off to score temporary political points even within your own party) is simply the work of our old friend the invisible hand. Fix the discourse and you’ll functionally eliminate the lying and its various outgrowths, such as but not limited to uniform one party partisan intransigence that the predominant national discourse inevitably blames on both political houses in Congress. A truly honest assessment could never reach such a illogical conclusion as that. Obviously one party is more to blame in any gridlock situation. Say so. You’ll put the Daily Show right out of business.
Considered relative to our long-term national health, the truly successful national candidate needs to disrupt the discourse itself. On the surface, this would seem a relatively straightforward thing for a President to do (despite the ineffective nature of Presidential speeches)…Obama did make some early feints in the direction of cutting off their air supply but ultimately (and predictably) chickened out. And, frankly, a frontal attack that simply refuses to speak to FOXnews (or similar organizations) will never work; journalists love nothing better than circling the wagons over perceived slights. You’ve got to destroy their memes by making them functionally irrelevant and you cannot do that by simply not talking to anyone but your chosen scribes.
If Obama really wants to be the modern TR, I’d say that’s where to start: with the discourse. Be smart. Explain, but not in novel form. Short, declarative sentences and concise paragraphs. Pick one thing; this cycle it’s going to be an outgrowth of what Yglesias is distilling above. Explain that. Repeatedly and in simple language. People already understand it in a deep sense, but they need you to give those feelings voice (Elizabeth Warren is proving the true power of such an approach; the application of the traditional GOP meme(s) actually increased her popularity). Explain. Say nothing else. If they want to show the President, some of this stuff will have to be included. Never leave that message behind, even for a second. Also provide it to your Congressional allies. Anyone who goes off script loses financial support, chairmanships, or whatever idiotic perks matters most to them. It’s our rotted discourse or the country. Choose one.
"President Obama is replacing our merit-based, opportunity-based society with an entitlement society. In an entitlement society, everyone is handed the same rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to others. And the only people to enjoy truly disproportionate rewards are the people who do the redistributing — the government."
— Mitt Romney, accurately describing the inevitable and country-destroying results of going from a 35% top marginal rate to a 39.6% top marginal rate. Let’s not have anyone ask him about or call him on this issue specifically. Shrill.
"The surtax would impact around 345,000 taxpayers, roughly 0.2 percent of taxpayers, or one in 500 of them. Those people would pay on average an additional 2.1 percent of their overall income, or just over 1/50th of that overall income, in taxes.
In a majority of states, only one-tenth of one percent, or one in 1,000 taxpayers, would pay this surtax.
And how many people would benefit from the payroll tax cut? According to the group, around 113 million tax filing units — either single workers or families that include more than one worker — would see their payroll tax cut extended. That’s a lot of people — well over 113 million workers, in fact."
— Citizens For Tax Justice runs the numbers on the proposed funding mechanism that would extend the payroll tax “holiday” currently scheduled to end December 31, 2011. I don’t have to remind you that Republicans are categorically against this tax increase, because it harms the “job creators” out there in that 0.2 percent.
The vast majority of the GOP’s 1% constituency wouldn’t even see so much as a dime’s difference, whilst everyone earning a paycheck would stand to receive ~$1000 dollars more in an aggregate demand crisis. So, of course, we prevent the tiny increase for a tiny fraction of the richest people on Earth in exchange for a further insult to our tottering economy when the payroll tax extension is worth ~$250 billion to our economy. Great policy.
"I think it’s going to be Obama’s 99% versus the 1%, and Romney sort of represents the 1%."
— Joe McQuaid, publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader, on why his publication endorsed disgraced former Speaker Newt Gingrich instead of Mitt Romney. I think he’s right. But let’s not have The Democrat get to messaging this way or anything.
"…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.
Reblogged to note that an identical poll that instead targeted only Democratic “strategists” would produce the inverse result. They see none of these as “winning” issues, and plainly have no desire to get out of the defensive crouch on any issue of genuine importance, much less any of these. This is why they fail.