I decided to take a brief hiatus from the Depression Blog to reflect on the 2010 Mid-term election, specifically how the rabble became so intellectually softened by propaganda and utter bullshit that they actually voted into office a cabal of no-nothing wretches, pseudo-intellectualclowns, and corporate bag men. This will take the form of a tutorial that requires a certain amount of patience on your part, largely because I want you to repress your gag instinct and read and reflect upon the post-election words of the country’s foremost corporate bag man, Rush Limbaugh. I will not force you to chug this toxic kool-aid in one huge gulp but instead have broken it down into digestible little shooters, diluted by my comments. The following bloviation is excerpted from Limbaugh’s November 3rd radio program.
Well, I had a chance to listen to just a little bit of the Obama press conference. Jake Tapper, ABC, asked Obama about the compromise that he might make on extending the Bush tax cuts. Right now, of course, the tax cuts will eliminate, stop for everybody, $250,000 or more, and maybe everybody’s taxes will be raised. But believe me, there’s no tax cuts on the table. And Jake Tapper said, (paraphrasing) “Would you compromise and say people who make a million dollars a year will not see their tax decrease, tax cut sunsetted?” And I started thinking, where’s all this talk of rich equaling $250,000 a year, a million a year, where does all this start? What right does Obama have to sit there and proclaim that people who earn X are gonna be punished with Y, people who earn less than X won’t be punished with Y? Do you notice how easy it is to fall into the premise trap that the left sets?
Here, Limbaugh lays out his basic argument, that to be taxed at a higher incremental rate is tantamount to “punishment”, a modern scheme cooked up by a coalition of media stooges (Jake Tapper) and “leftists” (Obama, et al) who collectively hate the rich. However, progressive taxation, or at least the concept of progressive taxation, can be traced to Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776. The initial use of progressive taxation goes back to 1862 (to finance the Civil War) and has been a permanent part of U.S. tax policy since the turn of the last century. With Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act, the highest rate went from 50% to 28%, the lowest since 1916. But Limbaugh is shrewd enough to know that the tea baggers and ditto heads, despite all their incessant babbling about the the “founding fathers” and the constitution, don’t know shit about the constitution and couldn’t care less about learning anything.
Looked at within the prism of liberty and freedom, as our founding documents spell out, the Declaration, the Constitution, in nowhere in any of our founding documents was it ever said that people earning X would be punished for it. It was never said in our founding documents that people earning X would share a greater burden of funding the government than people who didn’t. Where does all this talk start? Because all this is nothing more than a direct attack on liberty, a direct attack on freedom and it creates class envy and resentment and anger between the classes, between people of different income groups. So all of a sudden we’re faced with a possibility here of the Bush tax cuts ending for people who earn $250,000 a year or more. Well, why are we even discussing it in the first place? What did those people do?
Of course, “What did these people do?” reiterates the “punishment” claim, that the rich are being targeted with slightly higher tax rates, not because they can more easily and comfortably afford them, but because of “class envy”. And there is no mention in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of “innocent until proven guilty”, marriage, congressional districts, The United States Air Force, immigration, paper money, executive order, and any number of other modern day realities.
What have they done that resulted in this irresponsibility in Washington? Nothing! The people who earn $250 or 500,000 or a million are in fact the people who are investing in this country and the private sector hiring other people, producing products and services that allow for the country’s economy to grow and for people to have jobs and to earn higher wages. The federal government, the state government cannot and does not create wealth. All it can do is destroy it. All it can do is confiscate it. And what we’re doing is discussing the proper level of servitude.
This is Limbaugh’s pitch to the $40K-a-year income earners who comprise most of his audience and the Tea Party in general. What’s in it for them if people making over $250,000 get a tax break? This is a reiteration of the “trickle down theory”, that a higher economic tide raises all the little boats in the harbor. It’s a cute and reassuring theory despite the fact that it is utter bullshit and has been proven to be time and time again, specifically following Reagan’s massive cuts in the 80’s and George W. Bush’s tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy in 2001 and 2003. Hell, David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, has made a personal crusade of exposing the folly of trickle down. But, again, proving that a lie repeated ultimately becomes the truth to the uninformed, this reality is lost on the ‘baggers.
Now, who made Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or any Democrat, I don’t care, any Democrat, who made them the decider on what anybody should make and then what level of taxation they should pay? Who made them the deciders on what we should eat? Who made them the decider of what kind of lightbulbs we have in our homes? Who made them the deciders on the kind of car we should drive? Who made them the deciders on what kinda house we live in? Who made them the deciders of when and where we can and can’t turn our lights on? Who made them the deciders of who loses how much of their freedom? Who gave them that power? It doesn’t come from the Constitution. The Constitution does not say the Democrat Party gets to decide which car people drive, which lightbulb they have, what foods they can and can’t eat, and what lights they can’t turn off or on at what time of year. The Constitution does not say that the Democrat Party gets to decide any of this.
I guess the short answer to this question would be the election of 2008. A longer answer would be that lead-based paint, arsenic tainted drinking water, small pox, mesothelioma, sweat shops, and massive oil spills are not mentioned in the Consitution either. In Limbaugh’s world, we should all have the “freedom” eat the paint, drink the water, and breath in the asbestos. But, except for the fact that Democrats have been in control of Washington for the past two years, what any of this has to do with tax cuts is lost on me.
So now we have a guy who is the least qualified in any room he walks into being asked a question by an equally incompetent reporter, “Mr. President, are you willing to compromise, people that earn $500,000 a year will be able to keep more of what they earn, will you even go as high as one million?” And I’m watching this, who the hell are either of you people to decide this? How did I end up as an American with a guy who doesn’t even like my country telling me how I have to live? How did that happen? How did I end up with a guy who does not even respect the founding documents of this country, how did I end up — how did we all end up — with that kind of guy telling us how immoral and unjust we are?
This is really the gist of Limbaugh’s “argument”, not that breathing second-hand smoke and eating double bacon cheeseburgers equates with “freedom”, but that Obama is nothing other than an illegitimate, America-loathing, leftist imbecile. The “least qualified in any room”? Has this lard bucket ever heard of Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, or Carl Paladino? Or for that matter, Jim Demint, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, the “birthers”, or any other of the intellectually impaired bobble-heads who comprise the Tea Party movement?
Let me tell you something, President Obama. You can reject it all you want. But you’ve done it. And we know you’re happy you’ve done it. You might want people to think you’re not happy about the direction the country is going, but if you really were unhappy about it you’d do something to stop it. Instead, you’re doubling down on it. You reject the idea your policies have taken the country in reverse? Where the hell have your policies taken us? You happily preside over a nation in decline. You have told the world no longer will the US population lead the world economy. Ain’t gonna happen anymore. Right. It wasn’t AIG-Lehman Brothers-Goldman Sachs, Bush’s god-forsaken trillion dollar wars, toxic mortgages, or a world-wide economic melt-down that created this mess. It was the Nigerian Muslim fascist, Obama and his America-hating policies. And now that the Republicans are back in charge, the “temporary” Bush tax cuts will be perpetuated, “Obama Care” will be repealed, and Wall Street will be de-regulated.
And after two more years of incessant right wing lies coming from corporate suck-ups like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck, the White House and Senate will be safely back in the hands of the oligarchs, brought to power by a gaggle of useful idiots. And the shining City on the Hill will be restored to its former glory.
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