22 February 2010

My Stars & Garters

In what I hope will be the last post I ever write concerning Paul Krugman, let's close with a bang.

I agree whole-heartedly with this column.

Here are the key points:

So the beast is starving, as planned. It should be time, then, for conservatives to explain which parts of the beast they want to cut. And President Obama has, in effect, invited them to do just that, by calling for a bipartisan deficit commission.

Many progressives were deeply worried by this proposal, fearing that it would turn into a kind of Trojan horse — in particular, that the commission would end up reviving the long-standing Republican goal of gutting Social Security. But they needn’t have worried: Senate Republicans overwhelmingly voted against legislation that would have created a commission with some actual power, and it is unlikely that anything meaningful will come from the much weaker commission Mr. Obama established by executive order.

Why are Republicans reluctant to sit down and talk? Because they would then be forced to put up or shut up. Since they’re adamantly opposed to reducing the deficit with tax increases, they would have to explain what spending they want to cut. And guess what? After three decades of preparing the ground for this moment, they’re still not willing to do that.

This is the main reason I made the switch to the Libertarian Party. Sure, my guy will never have a chance to win. But when one of them get elected, they do (or try to do) what they say they're going to do. The Republicans during the 90s & 00s were a joke. They talk big when out of power and spend just like the Democrats when they're in power--except they have tax cuts, which I like, but if you continue to cut taxes and never cut spending you then raise future taxes while throwing the interest rate off kilter and crowding out private investment. In other words, they end up doing exactly what they accuse the Democrats of doing.

80% of federal agencies (and workforce) should be eliminated with an across the board 20% cut in staff (and budget) in every agency that remains (a la Jack Welch). And yes, you can cut the size and amount spent on the military while not hating America, loving communists and letting the terrorists win.

Anyway, Krugman is right. The Republicans have never specified what should be cut. When W proposed partially privatising Social Security (pusillanimous sod should have called for the elimination of it) there was one small problem. Right now the feds still collect more in FICA "contributions" than they pay out--they have since the program was started, though they won't be for long. The overage is spent on other things and "replaced," if you will, with IOUs (debt sold to other countries in the form of interest bearing bonds. Bush never proposed how the "hole" in funding should have been filled, or what was to be cut to make up the difference. So it wasn't a serious proposal and was treated as such. And this is only one of several thousand examples from the last 20 years.

Then again, Democrats keep promulgating taxes on "the rich" and then punch it full of loopholes so that only the very dimmest of wealthy people would actually pay the tax. And guess what happens? Revenues usually drop. They add the loopholes so that neither they nor their friends or patrons actually have to pay the tax--only the "bad" rich people will pay it or be excoriated for avoiding the tax; never mind that tax avoidance is not only legal and logical, but responsible behavior (anyone who didn't exercise every legal option to retain as much of his legally obtained property and avoid having it confiscated would be considered mad, or at least "irrational" in the jargon of economists).

So there it is, Paul Krugman and I are in agreement...Republicans are just as scummy and self-serving as their Democratic brethren. Screw 'em all. Now if Krugman would only go away.

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