Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Brief History of Conservatism

Chapter 78: Fiscal Conservatism
  • The Entire Reagan/Bush I Era: Deficits? Wheeeeeee! Who gives a shit about deficits? We won! Reaganomics rool! Tax cuts rool! It's morning in Murrica!

  • The day Clinton was inaugurated: Deficits? Holy Mother of God! In the middle of the night while no one was looking a horde of mooching welfare queens snuck in here and nearly destroyed Murrica with deficits! Everyone knows deficits are worse than Hitler! We need to cut everything -- welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, school lunches, everything! -- in the next 60 seconds or we're all dooooomed!
  • ... On the five-hour trip back to Washington, Greenspan tried to assess what he had observed. Clinton was what Greenspan termed an "intellectual pragmatist." The term also applied to Greenspan himself. Clinton's campaign promises included tax increases on the wealthy, a violation of Republican orthodoxy. But increasing taxes reduced the federal deficit -- and those deficits, Greenspan thought, were such a threat to the future of the economy that it might just be worth it to support Clinton's proposal.

    One of the paradoxes, Greenspan realized, was that by running up the federal budget deficits, Reagan had effectively borrowed from the period that was now going to be the Clinton era. Clinton would have to pay it back by paying down the deficit in some way. The irony was that Clinton probably wouldn't have been elected if Reagan hadn't created the deficits. ...   
    -- Bob Woodward, "Behind the Boom"

  • The Entire Bush II Era: Holy Mother of God, where did all of these terrible budget surpluses come from?!? Jesus, we need to get rid of them immediately. Surpluses are worse than Hitler! Can you believe those CRAZY Libtards are actually worried about deficits? Wheeee! Who gives a shit about deficits? We won!
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due."
 -- Richard Bruce Cheney 
    LONG AGO, the Republican party was nicknamed the Stupid Party, and at times Republicans have done their best to live up to the label. But after the past week, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that when it comes to brainless, self-destructive behavior, the Democratic party has achieved a level of excellence that will be unsurpassed in our lifetime. 
    Last week the Congressional Budget Office came out with a budget forecast. The report immediately got submerged in a chatterstorm about whether Congress or the White House would dip into something called the Social Security trust fund, but the essential facts are these: The CBO economists estimated that the federal government will run a surplus of about $150 billion in 2001. That’s a lower surplus than the CBO estimated a few months ago, before the economic slowdown, the Bush tax cut, and the recent congressional spending splurge. But even in these adverse circumstances, the surplus is still projected to grow to about $200 billion a year in 2004 and close to $300 billion a year by 2006.
    The Democratic party proceeded to work itself up into a collective aneurysm. Dick Gephardt—who, when given the chance to play the demagogue, never goes halfway—said that the United States now faces "an alarming fiscal crisis." Democratic national chairman Terry McAuliffe said on Face the Nation that it had taken Bill Clinton eight years to build up the surplus, but Bush was able to "blow it in eight months." Other Democrats rose up en masse to declare that the Bush administration was going to bankrupt Social Security/the federal government/western civilization because the administration was going to have to "raid the Social Security trust fund." 
    -- David Brooks, 2001

  • The day Obama was inaugurated: Deficits! OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod! Deficits! In the middle of the night while no one was looking a horde* of mooching welfare queens and their Kenyan Usurper messiah snuck in the back door and nearly destroyed Murrica with deficits! Everyone knows deficits are are worse than nine Hitlers! We need to cut everything -- welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, school lunches, everything! -- in the next 60 seconds or we're all dooooomed!
Not saying that deficits aren't a problem.

Am saying that Conservatives who have been both deafeningly silent and volubly "OMG!  we're dooooomed!" on this issue depending on which Party occupies the White House need to be sealed in an oil drum and stored in a tool shed for the next 20 years.

*Thanks for the catch :-)


steeve said...

If you want to cut taxes for the rich, you don't give one shit about deficits.

If you want to inch taxes for the rich up a couple points, you don't give one shit about deficits.

if you want to jack taxes on the rich up to 70%, you still might not care about deficits since that's the theoretical optimum anyway.

The phoniness on this issue is staggering. Anyone who still watches the "news" after seeing this kabuki is too dumb to vote.

Smashed said...

Who is hoarding welfare queens, and how can I get me some?

Bustednuckles said...

"Conservative Fiscal Ideaology For Dummies"

"Driftglass makes it easy,"

Oh fuck yes I linked to this.

Outstanding and spot on.

DAY said...

Note to Republicans: FDR won. Get over it.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Not saying that deficits aren't a problem.

I'll say it. The problem is unemployment. Fix that, and the deficits will take care of themselves.

Concentrate on cutting spending, and revenues will fall even more quickly, making the problem worse. We're seeing that very thing across the pond. Of course, we are ruled by idiots, as Atrios often points out.

Coldtype said...

Not saying that deficits aren't a problem

Ok, then I'll say it: deficits are not a problem. In fact, deficits are an essential necessity if the economy is to function at all.

Coldtype said...

Not saying that deficits aren't a problem

Ok, then I'll say it: deficits are not a problem. In fact, deficits are an essential necessity if the economy is to function at all.

Quaker Orts said...

The problems are:
1. No living wage
2. No health care
3. Republican destruction of the economy
4. Outsourcing cheap labor
5. The rich sitting on mountains of money

If the working class had money and some sense of security, this economy would be on fire!

Bukko Canukko said...

You've got Thom Hartmann on your blogroll, but I don't know whether you listen to his radio show or watch his nightly show on Russian TV. Hartmann often mentions the "Two Santa Claus Theory" which was described in the late 1970s by Jude Wanniski, a Wall Street Journal writer. Simplified, it said that the Dems were the Santa Claus political party of giving money to people, and the Repigs were the Santa of tax cuts.

The key to the Repuke's game is to keep being Santa for THEIR favourite good boys and girls (rich fcukers and corporations) even though it blows out the deffyshit, while screaming about how bad the debt is when the Dims are in power and trying to do THEIR Santa thing. That's the underlying dynamic that's been at work in the cycles you laid out in this post.

What's amazing is that aside from a few lefties like Hartmann and some widely (but undeservedly) ignored bloggers such as you, nobody points this out. I guess I shouldn't say it's amazing, because you and I and all your readers know what corporate whores the media attention leaders are in Duhmerica. It SHOULD be amazing that the Dimwitocrat Party doesn't point out the Bad Santa aspect of the Republikkkans, but the fact that the Dims don't is further proof that they're in on the one-party game of Inverted Totalitarianism.

proverbialleadballoon said...

@ifthethunderdontgetya: not idiots; sociopaths.

Bukko Canukko said...

Sociopaths -- aka Snakes in Suits -- are a good unified field explanation of many things that are going wrong in the world. If it was simple idiocy, there would be a chance that the fools would wise up, or that their feeble IdiotIQs would be overwhelmed by smarter, more righteous power-wielders. But if the power structure has been tumoured out by a malignancy of amoral bastards who are out to steal and screw what they can, even if it makes the whole world burn down around their ears because they just don't give a shit, it makes more sense.

Anonymous said...

Today Andy "I hate all revisionists like Chomsky but mine is just fine" Sullivan wrote a supremely projective post entitled "The line between memory and imagination" - hey, the guy who fought against minority rights and brown people until he realized his beloved conservative Repubs put the hate on the gays these past 40 years too late should know all about that!

Oh, and as always, arrest Bill "the liberal sexist who hates Muslims" Maher who put Andy on the map. Hey Maher, hows that prison view from your window? Maybe Andy will post it one Saturday.

J Neo Marvin said...

Note to Republicans: FDR won. Get over it.

Note to Democrats: FDR won. Act like it.

ofladrt said...

Taxing high incomes causes the "job creators" to either create jobs, or pay very high taxes. In a sustainable system if you get millions you can either pay the high taxes or invest the largesse. Either way the money goes back into the economy, instead of sitting in the Caymen Islands.

ofladrt said...

The quality of a man isn't about how much wealth he has but how he got that wealth. Sweatshop owners and Slumlords are often very wealthy but they are nasty human beings.

Batocchio said...

Well done. The bad faith on this, Medicare, the Bush tax cuts, and, well, all of civil rights and the Southern Strategy really drives me up the wall. Rather, it drives me up the wall that the corporate media insists we pretend that Republicans argue in good faith, and gets ornery if anyone even suggests that's not the case, and both sides are not equally to blame.

DeistPaladin said...

As long as the rich get to keep their record low tax rates,

As long as the Pentagon gets to keep its bloated Cold War budget,

As long as the most profitable oil companies and other corporations get to keep their corporate welfare,

...the American people do not owe one damn dime in austerity cuts!

jcg said...

Why the fiscal cliff and deficits are propagandistic fraud: