Friday, April 08, 2011


Andrew Sullivan, responding to critics of his fanboy defense of Paul Ryan's budget, writes:

The Bowles-Simpson type tax reform in Ryan's budget really does boost revenue, largely fom the rich who benefit disproportionately from the byzantine tax code.... As I understand it the lower tax rates for the successul are paid for by eliminating tax expenditures that largely benefit the wealthy.

I think David Dayen is right: we won't get the Ryan plan, but it shifts the debate rightward so that Ryan becomes the bad cop, which makes Simpson/Bowles the good cop. We probably will get something like Simpson/Bowles as a result.

Except not entirely. The whole point of the tax overhaul in both Ryan's plan and Simpson/Bowles is supposedly that the broad-based cutting of tax rates will be offset by the closing of loopholes that benefit the wealthy and corporations. But how much of a rube do you have to be to think this will actually happen?

Well, of course you don't have to be a rube -- you just have to be a Beltway insider or an East Coast elitist pundit like Sully. Those in this caste all think we're going to get both sides of the bargain. Really? Here in Kochistan? In Immelt-vania?

Grow up. We're going to cut rates, or cut rates on the rich ... and close hardly any loopholes at all. It's just more shock-doctrine economics. Budget deficits and debt will persist, requiring more cuts to programs that benefit you and me, and more givebacks from government workers. As I've said before, I think it's a bubble -- the fat cats using our impoverishment to get us to support Republican economics, which impoverishes us even more and lines their pockets -- until, I suppose, we turn to revolution or fascism, or just have nothing more to give, which is the point when the bubble bursts.

In any case, the plutocrats aren't going to accept loophole-closing, and Sully's going to be shocked -- as shocked as he was when the Iraq War turned out to be a debacle. Ah, but I'm sure he'll be doing well enough financially to endure the pain of disillusionment.


Oh, and there's this from Sully:

My generation will have to suck it up. That's the price to be paid by both Democrats and Republicans failing to tackle this issue seriously in the past decade.

Well, the way I'd put it is that that's the price all of us under 55 will have to pay for five geezers in robes throwing the 2000 election to the guy who lost. I make a lot of lousy predictions, but the day Bush was declared the winner, I said to wife, "Well, there goes our Social Security." I had the wrong government program -- at least so far -- but it was painfully obvious: he was going to cut taxes, the economic reality of the boomer pig-in-a-python be damned. And don't get me started on the glorious war Sully once cheered.

Democrats "fail[ed] to tackle this issue seriously in the past decade" because Democrats in the past decade had no power. They had no power as long as Bush had a veto pen and they had no power under Obama as long as Republicans had 41 senators.

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