Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I've summarized the right's main economic theory a number of times, but for those who've missed it, here it is again: All tax money is poured down a rathole. Then e all government services -- law enforcement, firefighting, national defense, education, parks, disaster relief, road building, Social Security, Medicare, the lot -- are provided by elves and fairies, who work for free. Therefore, every tax cut is too small, every tax increase is unnecessary and unjustified, and government is always bad. Whatever we like that comes from government somehow emerged from the labors of those tireless (and completely selfless) elves and fairies.

This sounds like snark, but how else do you explain the words and deeds of right-wingers like Sarah Palin and Tom Golisano? Palin, in a recent interview with Sean Hannity bragged about her state's lack of an income and sales tax, and about the state's (decades-old) system of distributing a portion of oil revenues to households ... then, a few minutes later, decried "socialism" in D.C. ... then declared that that ability to tap into oil revenues could be a bad thing if it meant (ick! pthui!) a bigger government:

Hannity: ...The price of oil is going up again. It's not quite at $140 a barrel, but it's on its way up to $70 and $80...

Palin: Yeah, well and I thank God it's not at $140. You know people say, "Hey, Alaska! 85% of your state budget is based on the price of a barrel of oil. Aren't you glad the price is going up?" I say, "No!" The fewer dollars that the state of Alaska government has, the fewer dollars we spend. And that's good for our families and for the private sector.

So more revenue -- dare we call it tax revenue? -- from the oil companies is actually bad for Alaska, even if it means more money distributed directly to each household, because it means government will spend more money. Because all government money is spent on that rathole pour. The elves and fairies don't use any of it. They provide the needed services for free.

Meanwhile, here in New York, we have Tom Golisano, a businessman who thought he could buy state Senate Democrats outright if his financial support won them the majority in New York's upper chamber -- but then they had the audacity to respond to a massive budget shortfall by supporting (in addition to cuts in programs) a (gasp!) tax increase on people like Golisano. Didn't they get it? Tax increases are always bad! And always unnecessary!

After Mr. Golisano's fruitless meeting with [Democratic Senate majority leader Malcolm] Smith in March, [Golisano aide Steve] Pigeon and Mr. Golisano returned to Albany to meet with Mr. Smith's top aide, Angelo J. Aponte, the secretary of the Senate. Mr. Golisano insisted that there had to be a way to balance the state budget without raising taxes, and at one point snatched a pad from one of Mr. Aponte's aides and began scrawling back-of-the-envelope calculations.

One of Mr. Golisano's aides asked whether the state could issue billions of dollars worth of bonds. Mr. Aponte said it was unlikely the bonds would find buyers in the economic slump.

But it's always possible not to raise taxes! Wahhh! Wahhh!

It should be noted that the coup Golisano helped engineer, in which two Democrats, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate, joined with Republicans to replace Smith with a Republican Senate leader, doesn't seem to have involved say, eliminating earmarks. It's as if the lead plotter of the coup doesn't think spending has anything to do with those taxes he hates. They're completely unrelated! The earmarks are merely redistributed:

Mr. Espada has said he joined the effort because he wanted to change how Albany does business. Indeed, shortly after taking power on Monday, Republicans enacted new rules for the Senate, including one ... equalizing distribution of the $85 million the Senate allocates annually for legislative earmarks.

This is the right-wing mindset. This, right-wingers, is why your party didn't impose fiscal discipline in D.C. when it held power, something that you now seem to find baffling. Your guys simply don't really understand that there's a direct connection between income and outflow. You guys think taxes are collected are collected just for spite, and that spending just happens.

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