03 August 2010

Deficit Discourse (2) ~ A Disaster Bequeathed to Us by BushCo

This graphic appeared at HuffPost this morning. It is not as useful as the very similar graphic I posted on here some months ago. This one is not quite as clear because it requires viewers to start at the upper left hand corner and work downward and outward - a lesson in how not to design an informative graphic. It nonetheless makes an important point.

Conservatives face a predicament. It was bequeathed to them by George Bush and his minions. They (conservatives) very much want to be deficit hawks and keep a keen eye out for government spending - especially when such spending threatens to benefit the less well off. Yet the clearest, simplest way to cut the deficit is to (1) rescind tax cuts Bush bestowed on the wealthiest Americans and (2) cut our losses and end the pointless wars he started. In other words, it is impossible to be a deficit hawk, a foreign policy hawk and a patron to the wealthy all at the same time.
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P.S.: And, of course, it is crucial to recognize - as the folks at HuffPost point out, that the dollar for dollar stimulating effect of tax cuts for the wealthy is significantly lower that what we get from other forms of government spending.

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3 Comments:

Blogger rcp216 said...

A tax cut is not "government spending." It's letting people who earn money keep more of it.

You might try investigating conservative philosophy more seriously. Taking on its best arguments, rather than picking apart rote liberal caricatures of conservatism via HuffPo, would lend your blog more credibility.

04 August, 2010 00:03  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

rcp216

So, let me see, I am supposed to find coverage in the conservative press of the primary sources of the ballooning deficit? Fat chance. Conservatives want to decry the deficit and blame it on discretionary expenditures even when those are more or less negligible causes of the current situation. And I will point out that there is no news here. I posted about this six months ago with reference to a report not found at HuffPost. Perhaps you missed the link?

That said, other than not liking the source of the information I mention here - namely that BushCo bequeathed us a financial disaster - you do not actually dispute it. A typical conservative ploy - when you cannot face facts, blame the messenger. Unfortunately, casting aspersions is not an argument. Nice try though.

Next to last, I take exception to the notion that rich people "earn" their money in quite the pristine way you'd like to think. Let's set aside the mere difference between merit (or desert) and luck. And let's forget about the huge sums doled out in corporate welfare. Let's focus on all those IT companies. Even though al Gore did not invent the internet, the government funded it. Sure people are making money on it. But they could not do so 2without it. In other words the government is enabling their ability to make money now just as it has always done (in the past, think Post Office, banking system, courts, canals, highways, and so forth). The rich are always willing to take advantage of government support and then claim that they've "earned" every cent. Again, nice try.

Finally, get off your high horse re: my credibility. You stop in, leave anonymous (and largely off point) comments. and then call my credibility into question. Are you kidding?

04 August, 2010 09:17  
Blogger Tom White said...

To Rcp216 (If that is your real name). Someone once said to me that the more you have, the greater your responsibility to provide for those that have not. Something it seems you would disagree with.

I think this is the basic philosophy behind tax, correct me if I'm wrong. The more you earn, the more you pay. Even if the percentage of tax increases with your income the actual net amount you keep stays relative to the cost of living. Therefore, a government run tax is supposed to fund all those things that keep a society running and contribute to it's overall well being and improvement, which then in turn allows for more people to become 'successful' in society and as a result, contribute more to the said well being and improvement of said society, y'know, little things like high quality healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc etc etc so that those who cannot afford it (for whatever reason) can at least have access to the same basic services as those who can, in an effort to provide everybody with the same level playing field so that those with the ability to advance a society are able to put their talents to use, be rewarded monetarily for it (in a capitalist society) and then are required to contribute a portion of their wealth back to the society that provided for them in the first place. The whole system falls apart if you allow people to accumulate wealth and then hoard it. Or are you of the opinion that all poor people are poor because they are lazy, talentless and stupid.

Tax is a (flawed, I'll admit) way to regulate people's contribution to the society they live in. The fact that many of the conservative political persuasion find the idea of tax abhorrent speaks volumes to me about their attitude towards making a contribution to society. Or does all that sound a little too socialist? Try saying the word 'Socialist' with a derogatory sneer in your voice. Then with the same tone, say the word 'Capitalist.' Go on, it's fun.

Our current society is skewed in favour of those who are able to accumulate a lot of money and hold on to it. This accumulation of wealth, by a small percentage of the population, is often done at the expensive of those on the lowest income. That is not a matter for debate, it is a provable fact. That the richest percentile should then be permitted to refrain from redistributing that wealth back into the society so it may benefit the people from whom it was taken in the first place is not something I would hold up as an example of decent human behaviour. Quite the opposite in fact. It points to the worst aspects of our nature. It is no accident that most of the decisions in our current society are made by the richest people (for their own benifit I might add).

We would do well to remember the old adage: "Free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that cannot."

04 August, 2010 22:54  

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