Monday, November 15

Boy, That's Totally Unexpected! Vol. MDCCXLVII

Ross Douthat, "The Party of No" November 15

GUESS which is the Party of No here. Go ahead, I'll just make some coffee.

Okay, I'm back. Did you guess? It's the Democrats! Douthat just pulled the Ol' Switcheroo on you! So having viewed your own hypocrisy, unexpectedly illuminated by a lightning flash of brilliance, are you planning on writing your Congresscreature, demanding he swear fealty to the Will of the People, as Revealed in the Historicallest Elections Ever? Or are you planning to write the Times, asking them to make 18 the minimum age for getting an Op-Ed slot?

The No in Question here is Nancy Pelosi's reaction to the Simpson-Bowles It's Doubly Bipartisan Because Erskine Bowles Is Almost A Democrat, And Alan Simpson Is A Lovable Fascist Commission.
But the reaction from Republican lawmakers and the conservative intelligentsia was muted, respectful and often favorable; the right-wing griping mostly came from single-issue activists and know-nothing television entertainers. The liberal attacks, on the other hand, came fast and furious, from pundits and leading Democratic politicians alike — starting with the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who pronounced the recommendations “simply unacceptable” almost immediately after their release.

Yeah, c'mon, Nance; you know how much The Conservative Intelligentsia love those bi-partisan Presidential commissions. You're just trying to be hurtful. Besides, it's fifty pages long! No one could have read it that quickly.

It is, of course, no concern of Douthat's that the Commission's "recommendations" are explicitly presented as "Illustrative Only", like the Serving Suggestion on the label of the can of beans which sports a four-course banquet on the front. It's a con job, and a stupid frickin' con job at that: "both" sides of a one-sided debate pretending to sacrifice some of grandma's precious figurines for the Greater Good, when they know no Good will come out of it, and one grandma is more equal than the other.

Look: the co-chairmen of The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform--is that title less clownish than the one I suggested?--recommend that we freeze tax rates at a percentage of GDP they decided they liked. Isn't that all you need to know to declare the game rigged? Th' fuck? Did they leave "Fiscal Morality Squad" off the letterhead? Or do they imagine that's going to give Teabagged Republicans the political cover to raise marginal tax rates by 1%? "Hey, we're only trying to reduce the deficit in a bipartisan fashion!" Great rallying cry for 2012.

The James B. Riley Nobody Asked Me Commission Interim Chairman's Report of Fiscal Reform:

1. Cut the bullshit.
2. #1 is sufficient.

Let's us just note, here, that the Co-Chairman's Report claims to cut a supposed $4 trillion out of the supposed $10 trillion projected deficit by 2020. That is, it would leave us over the next eight years (FY 2012 is just ahead) overspending at the same rate the Bush/Cheney administration managed. Good times. No budget fat in them days.

Take My Defense, Please! The report proves its bipartisanship by cutting Defense ("Security") and Domestic ("Non-Security") spending equally. Except, of course, they aren't equal; Defense + Veterans entitlements + their share of the cost of retiring the debt = 60% of the budget. And that's a budget which funded Defense at World War Two percentages for the following sixty-five years. The bulk of the ("illustrative") savings are supposed to come from 1) enacting Secretary Gates' overhead reductions, which, presumably, we intended to do without the advice of Cowboy Mussolini and Baron von Krupp; and 2) reducing procurement 15%. In the sixty-five years since WWII ended, the annual Defense budget has been reduced from the previous year nineteen times. Fourteen of those came at the end of enormous, enormously wasteful, and ultimately worthless spending on Vietnam and the Late Cold War. Aside from the end of WWII--the slashed budget of 1947 was immediately doubled in '48, so we'd be ready to defeat the Commies--the biggest one-year cut--the Bush I Peace Dividend--was 12.5%, and elicited howls of protest and a 6% increase the following year.

Military spending in the Bush II years rose by 37% while we conducted two wars off the books.

We're building aircraft carriers at a rate which suggests we expect another ocean to be discovered any day now.

So, y'know, forgive me, but I'm not quite convinced they're serious. The idea that the Congress of the United States is going to reduce "Security" spending at any time is a losing proposition, as is "by 15%"; the idea that they'll do so while Piss Your Pants The Moooslems Is Coming! is still a hot brand is ludicrous. And the idea that 15% even reaches the bottom of the bucket, let alone leaving a dent, is yet another example of that fine Center-Right/Right bipartisanship which got us here in the first place, and every so often sends us a dunning notice.


Anonymous said...

Is the 18 referring to age or I.Q.?

bjkeefe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bjkeefe said...

I'm fascinated that Chunky David Brooks thinks the "home-mortgage tax deduction" is among the short list of things that "represent the American welfare state at its absolute worst."

Wonder when this became a thing for guys like him.

I mean, there's probably, in theory, an argument to be made about why mortgage interest never should have been tax-deductible in the first place, but unless I've imagined political rhetoric over the past few decades, hasn't the goodness of home ownership been praised by the pretty much everyone not way out on the edges? And how isn't suddenly eliminating this deduction not going to be seen as "raising taxes on the middle class?"

Oh, wait, I get it. You badger the spineless Dems into doing it, and then you accuse them of doing it come 2012.

Forget I asked.

freq flag said...

...and liberals are the real racists
(or fascists now, too).

Yeah, we "got it" the first 250 times it was bleated.

Anonymous said...

I used to think that Jonah Goldberg was the most ignorant person working an Op-Ed slot, but ole Ross is coming up fast. What an ill-educated little fart this man is! He really does write like a man twice his age, and just as ignorant. Why, oh why, does the Times continue to employ him? Oh, to make Brooks look like a great thinker? Puleeze...