Congressman Paul Ryan (R, Wisc.)
Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan is in the news again. This time it’s for a redux of last year’s non-starter of an Ayn Rand budget. Don’t believe me?
“This isn’t just about math, this is a cause,” Republican Rep. Paul Ryan told the audience at the American Enterprise Institute this morning, on the release of 2013 budget.
This will be masticated to death by the sophists of the media, whose grasp on actual reasoning, debate and argumentation is, from the evidence, severely disabled, if not to say non-existent. The Republican spokes-models (as many blacks and women and black women as possible, please, seems the consensus within GOP/Dixiecrat circles) will spout whatever talking points have been faxed from Brain Dead Central, and the Democratic spokesmodels will each attempt to free-lance and maybe counter with talking points of their own. But the thousand pound gorilla in the room is the simple insanity that nobody’s willing to talk about:
You may not be able to tax your way out of a Recession, but you can SURELY never grapple with the national debt by only offering to cut taxes.
That’s simple enough that a five-year-old could get it, but Republican philosophy’s bedrock exists in the mind-set of those two years younger: MINE! MINE! MEE! MEE!
We accept this in Toddlers: they are the unquestioned centers of the Universe, and all things exist to amuse THEM, to assist THEM, to belong to THEM. If you have had a toddler, you know what I mean; if you do not, I congratulate you on your bliss.
But we do not accept this in Real Life™.
Part of the deficit may be a spending problem. But the other part of the deficit and the debt is UNQUESTIONABLY a revenue problem.
And you can’t solve the former by simply cutting all spending to zero. (Although, in his madness, Paul Ryan and his fellow-travelers would like nothing better.)
And you can’t solve the latter by cutting all taxation to zero, even IF you cut all spending to zero.
Again, comprehensible by any reasonably bright five year old.
The root of the problem lies in that deeper poison that has leeched through the body politic, arguably, since Barry Goldwater’s “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” campaign of 1964. Arguably, it is the Republican philosophy of Warren G. Harding, but nobody remembers his corrupt administration, nor, of those who recall, do any but a few remember that Harding was ALWAYS popular while in office. The discovery of the depths of his administration’s depravity was not known until AFTER he died and Silent Cal, Calvin Coolidge, assumed the office of the president.
Warren G. Harding
This is the poison: “freedom” is conflated with “utter abandon,” “liberty” is conflated with “license,” and “taxation” is conflated with “theft.”
Thus, ANY form of governance and taxation to PAY for that governance becomes OPPRESSION. All regulations become cruel repression.
The notion, implausible and fantastic on its face, is that the “free market” — which is to say, untrammeled greed — will benevolently lift all of Mankind on the backs of selfish Supermen — the Howard Roarkes and John Galts — who will benevolently move industry and civilization forward because it pleases them to so do.
Historical note: this was tried in Chicago in the 1930s, with well-known results.
The first symptom of the madness is to equate the “government” with “oppression,” and “state” with “evil.”
Yes, the three year old considers anything to be oppression that displeases him: the “Right” to stick his hand on a hot stove. The “Right” to play with matches. The “Right” to play with his own poop.
And he will protest and wail loudly when any of these “Rights” is challenged or denied.
“No taxation without representation!” has become, simply “no taxation!”
And “Give me liberty or give me death!” has devolved into “Give me puberty or give me death!”
But we are not children, and this notion that self-govenment is “oppression” is a fantasy that only serves the needs of toddlers and sociopathic zillionaires.
Grover Norquist formulated the idea for “no tax hikes, ever, for any reason” when he was, by his own admission, in Junior High School.
And it is not as sophisticated as that.
But that is an argument for another day.
In order to slay the Dragon of Debt, the Republicans again go after Medicare and Social Security, which are BOTH funded outside the debt apparatus that the Dragon frolics within. There may be problems up the line, but the wise man knows that you take your crises as they come, or at least virtually all successful generals understand this.
The thousand pound gorilla in the room is something that any lemonade stand owner understands: You must balance your overhead with your sales, and what remains is “profit.”
When you make it impossible to increase your sales (even hobbling the IRS, so that it can’t collect the taxes LEGALLY owed), you make it impossible to meet your overhead, and your lemonade stand folds.
Thus do the businessmen of the GOP understand finance.
God help us.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.