I was prepared to call Paul LePage a crazy conspiratorialist, someone who's as crazy as a birther, after reading this:
Following a fundraiser for Vermont Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock Thursday morning, Maine Gov. Paul LePage repeated and elaborated on controversial comments he made over the weekend equating the Internal Revenue Service with the Gestapo.But I listened to the clip and, well, LePage is crazy, but it's a different kind of crazy. He doesn't believe IRS agents are going are going to be turned into a murderous secret police under Fuhrer Obama in a second term. He just believes that (a) Canadian-style health care is the equivalent of the Holocaust and (b) America is about to have something indistinguishable from Canadian-style health care.
Standing by Brock's side at the Sheraton in South Burlington, the Maine governor said, "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad -- yet."
LePage then said, "They're headed in that direction."
Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Asked whether the IRS "was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people," LePage answered: "Yeah."
INTERVIEWER: And so the IRS is headed in that direction?Where to begin? Maybe with the fact that a guy who thinks the IRS is the Gestapo also thinks more Americans should pay income tax? And you know he's not talking about hedge fund managers -- he's talking about those freeloading poor who take the Earned Income Tax Credit. This is a favorite right-wing talking point (never mind the fact that people who don't owe income tax pay FICA and sales tax and a whole lot of other taxes). So asking the IRS to enforce the penalties in the health care law is fascist, but having the IRS collect more taxes from people who are dead broke isn't?
INTERVIEWER: They're headed in the direction of killing a lot of people?
INTERVIEWER: Are you serious?
LePAGE: Yeah, they're very serious. You know why?
INTERVIEWER: Tell me.
LePAGE: They ration health care in Canada. That's why a lot of people in Canada come down to the U.S. Believe it or not, there's not enough money in this world when you're sixteen trillion dollars in debt to have the federal government pick up everybody's tab, and that's the unfortunate thing. There are only fifty percent of Americans that pay into the system. The fifty percent cannot support a hundred percent.
INTERVIEWER: And so you're saying that the IRS is headed in that direction.
LePAGE: I'm saying that the federal government is taking away the freedoms of Americans to make choices.
And deaths from single-payer are equivalent to Holocaust deaths? Even if America actually were going single-payer, has LePage looked at life expectancy rankings by country? Canada's #12. The U.S. is #50. And there are a lot of countries ranked above the U.S. that have single-payer and don't have borders with the U.S., so it's not as if their citizens are taking day trips to get "real" health care here.
And, um, we don't have rationing in this country now? So it's not rationing if it's economic rationing? (Oh, sorry, I forgot -- that's freedom. The rich and the poor are equally free to wait months for an appointment at an overburdened charity clinic, just as they're equally free to sleep under bridges.)
But at least we've determined that LePage doesn't think IRS agents will go around arresting and killing people in the night. That's something, I guess.