Why even bother discussing it anymore?
On Hardball this afternoon Matthews was talking about “cut-go” with Todd Harris and Steve McMahon, the Tweedledum and Tweedledummer of the Village and he ranted and raved about how both parties promise spending cuts to bring down the deficit but refuse to give any big specific items that would really make a difference. The Republican Harris went on about how “it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be painful and like I said, I hope entitlements are on the table.” (Now keep in mind, they were talking about “cut-go” in the context of raising the debt ceiling, which means Harris is advocating for immediate cuts to “entitlements”.)
After Harris babbled for a while about “entitlements” destroying the country, Matthews again said how frustrated he was that Republicans always refuse to say what they will cut — “give me a couple hundred billion at least, give me somethin’ big, they give me nothing. Democrats too, by the way.”
We just have to cut. We just have to cut back. Cut and cut and cut and cut. Do less. Be less helpful. Be less kind. Be less decent. I mean, we just can’t afford it anymore. Cut Social Security and Medicare and food stamps and for God’s sake don’t educate people anymore, it’s just too costly. Cut back. It’s the only way. It’s the only answer. It’s the only solution we’re considering even for a second. Cut funding for everything from roads to schools to cops to firefighters. Cut what? Doesn’t matter. Just cut. Cut everything.
We need to hunker down and stuff all our dry goods into the bunker and hole up and defend ourselves against “entitlements” and never, ever, ever even once discuss why there’s no money anymore. Much less how we’re trying to figure out how to live on half the rice and beans we’ve been living on, instead of trying to figure out HOW TO GET MORE MONEY. Especially not when a solution is staring us in the face:
I’ll give it to you right now. Democrats are going to come with a bill to take away the tax cuts for people making 250 thousand dollars a year. That’s 700 billion dollars that we borrowed …
Matthews: I hate to break it to you, but that’s not a spending cut it’s a tax increase.
McMahon: no it’s not a spending cut, but it results in revenue that will…
Harris: It’s a tax increase!
YES IT IS. SO WHAT?
This is what happens when you reject something as completely out of hand without considering it, which is why I talk about laziness and stupidity in our political punditry so much. Why NOT talk about a tax increase? Why not talk about giving more in order to get more, in order to get better schools and better streets and more cops and courts and snowplows and all the shit we complain about when it disappears? Why AREN’T we talking about raising taxes to pay for it?
Why? Well, because everyone knows you can’t do that. You just can’t. Why not? Because you can’t. Because people don’t want to pay more taxes. At all. Ever. How do we know this? We just do. People’s lizard brains don’t come to this kind of conclusion accidentally; people hate taxes because a) they’ve always hated taxes, from like the Bible onward and b) they’ve had 40 years of Republicans screaming at them that they don’t have to pay for anything they don’t want to pay for, and fuck the poor by the way, they’re really expensive. And because nobody in our supposedly independent, adversarial press fucking THINKS anymore, they get that mindless nonsense repeated at them over and over until it’s like pointing to the blue sky and calling it orange to say that reasonable tax increases are good and possibly necessary and stop being so fucking selfish, you assholes.
Jesus Macchiato Christ, people mostly hate taxes because they’re being told taxes are why everything sucks. They have lost the plot entirely and no longer connect amount of taxes paid with amount of services received, and it’s just all “taxes bad” and “entitlements bad” and “it’s the people’s money,” never mind that the people fucking need their snow cleared and their kids educated. They hate tax increases when they see those taxes going for stuff they don’t like, like TWO GIANT WARS and David Vitter’s health insurance. We have so disconnected what we pay for with what we pay that I don’t honestly think there’s a road back, which is just how these assholes want it.
I would gladly kick in a little extra this year if I could get back the cops that used to patrol the alley out back of my place and keep the neighborhood crackheads down to a dull roar. Now that alley’s like some kind of ongoing festival for teenage delinquent assholes setting stuff on fire and stealing hubcaps, because there’s not enough money to pay as many cops as there used to be, but at least my taxes haven’t gone up a cent! That’s totally increased my quality of life! Not to mention the value of my home, because in a couple of years of saving up the six bucks a month I save, I will be able to pay for steel-reinforced doors and security systems and fourteen locks and maybe we can turn the back porch into a panic room for the inevitable Escape from New York scenario that’s shows up after enough years of not telling crackheads to cut the shit. It’s so awesome. Let me turn up Lee Greenwood on my stereo.
It’s not so much that this is the argument that’s winning as that it’s the only one being MADE AT ALL.