Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are Republicans Ever Right?

The GOP heads to a strategy session.

It's a slow season in Blogsylvania.  The fiscal curb was avoided.  Obama was sworn in for the fourth time.  The Senate punted in filibuster reform.

Blah blah blah.

But the coming weeks should see some fireworks over the coming sequester.  The Zombie Eyed Granny Starver says we will hit the sequester.  Of course, Paul Ryan is - as was once said about Newt Gingrich - a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like.  If you missed Ezra Klein eviscerating him on budget matters, here is Chait summing it up.  The key exchange was here:

Klein then transcribes the resulting exchange:
“But you could have the same or lower rate there,” I said. After all, if you’re closing loopholes, the top marginal tax rate doesn’t change.
“I don’t know about that,” said Ryan. “Remember, we have to write these things statically. We don’t use macroeconomic feedback on the Joint Tax Committee.”
“But if you capped deductions at $15,000,” I pressed, “that wouldn’t change rates.”
Ryan didn’t budge. “You have to decide where you want to cap deduction or which deductions stay or go, what will pass, and what the resulting rates will be.
Here Ryan is descending into word salad, which impresses observers because he is using terms that pertain to tax policy — “statically,” “Joint Tax Committee” —  but he is not using them in a way that makes any sense. The fact is that you could increase tax revenue by capping deductions, without increasing rates, or even with lowering rates. Ryan would know —  he ran for vice-president promising to do exactly that!

Ryan could be a fraud.  But he could just as easily be so dimwitted that he thinks he's making sense.  And because he uses "words" that "mean things" he thinks he's smart.

In some ways the same is true of climate change denialism.  The Great Orange Satan did a nice recap on some of that today.  Any reasonable intelligent and informed person has to realize that the climate is changing and that we are causing this change.  Arguing against climate change is like arguing against evolution, but of course many in the GOP do argue against evolution.

So we are left with the problem that the GOP has gerrymandered itself into a House majority, despite losing the national popular vote for the House.  And that GOP majority thinks they can balance the budget by ending foreign aid, stop mass shootings by arming elementary school teachers, avoid dealing with climate change because scientists were once wrong about something once and not have to deal with any issue if it involves compromise.

This exchange, via Booman, from the New Republic sums it up nicely.  The GOP is mindlessly obstructing any efforts to improve the lot of the American people.

Are they doing it because they are evil or stupid?  It's tough to tell.

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