Monday, August 22, 2011

Burden in Their Hand

"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn... but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again."

-- Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas on his opposition to a payroll tax cut extension demanded by President Obama

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled apparently wasn't convincing people that he didn't exist -- it was getting people to inexplicably rally around him, believing that he was doing good for them. I say this because if I got plowed over by a semi tomorrow morning I'd go to my grave not being able to grasp how the Republican party, as a whole, continues to get anyone at all to vote for it.

Read that quote above again, read the attribution, and understand that your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That's a House Republican, one of many according to a report by the Associated Press, saying flat out -- without the least bit of shame or concern for being pilloried as the worst kind of hypocrite -- that he's against extending a tax cut that would primarily benefit the American working class. These are the same people, understand, that were willing to bring the country to the brink of default to avoid an increase in taxes on the wealthiest among us and on the most profitable corporations -- the same people who have fought with unprecedented ferocity to protect their precious Bush tax cuts and who signed, en masse, Grover Norquist's prodigiously idiotic pledge promising never to raise taxes under any circumstances -- and who are now willing to turn around and tell those truly struggling in the current economy and who could really use a tax break to go fuck themselves.

I wish there were more to this story -- that there was some kind of pure and benign motivation at the root of this madness -- that there was a decent reason why any House Republican who defends to the death the wealthy would oppose giving a leg up to the working and middle class in this country in the same way. I wish, but it just ain't so. The explanation they're falling back on for this unconscionable obstructionism -- what supposedly makes one tax break different from the other -- is the now ubiquitous and absolute horseshit conservative talking point that making life as easy as possible on the rich is the carrot on the stick that leads them to create jobs. Jobs like, you know, the millions they've created since ending up on receiving end of the most impressive load of government-sanctioned tax largesse in a generation. Everything else, of course -- any consideration suggested that isn't aimed squarely at helping the very well-off stay that way -- falls under the heading of strictly forbidden in the name of warding off the omnipresent threat posed by Debtzilla, which in case you haven't heard is sitting just off the coast of our country, waiting to stomp us all to death at any given moment.

The real reason the GOP is, by and large, opposing the payroll tax extension is as transparent as it is fucking deplorable: It's something Barack Obama wants and says will help our flailing economy. And as I've said before, more than once, and as they prove over and over again, the current crop of Republicans care more about making the president look bad in the hope of retaking the White House than they do about actually helping Americans. They hate Obama more than they love this country. Period. They would burn this entire nation to the ground and leave it a hollow shell of what it once was if it meant that they could rule whatever's left.

You know something? I hope to hell that if you support this kind of indefensible crap you're not one of those people who also has a sticker reading "Freedom Isn't Free" proudly emblazoned on the back of your car or truck or whatever. Why? Because you're right -- it isn't free. It costs you -- it costs all of us -- to live here, to thrive here, to make a future for our families here, in the United States of America. It took your tax dollars and mine to make this nation what it is; it hurts like hell to pay those taxes sometimes, but they are a necessity. Without them, you have no America to giddily proclaim unwavering allegiance to. The weakest among us, those who make barely enough to survive, pay less to the government for the simple reason that even a few dollars to them means that they and their families don't eat. Those for whom America has provided the platform upon which to launch endeavors that have made them vast fortunes -- they sometimes have to pay a little more, and they should damn well want to. This country has taken excellent care of them by helping them to accumulate immense wealth and, despite bullshit political arguments to the contrary, has done so partially by placing very few restrictions on their capitalist enterprises. They're living the American dream -- but once again, that privilege isn't free. It never was. The working class built this nation from the ground up and continue to defend it at home and overseas; they are the mortar that holds the United States together.

It's time to start honoring our responsibility to them again.

Because what we're witnessing now truly is a brand of class warfare. And if you haven't been paying attention -- it's a fucking rout.


Matt Osborne said...

"The current crop of Republicans care more about making the president look bad in the hope of retaking the White House than they do about actually helping Americans. They hate Obama more than they love this country."

Politics as the continuation of war by other means.

Tim Harrison said...

It's especially galling since Hensarling's statement makes perfect sense...from the opposite point of view. Not all tax relief is created equal in terms of stimulating the economy. His way, the Bush way, doesn't work; the president's way would.

(Ironic aside: the captcha word verification I'm asked to enter is "hatedness.")

Marc McKenzie said...

Man...this guy, in the words of a buddy of mine, a class A-1 douche.

Thanks, Chez, for posting this. Honestly, if there are those who read this and still sit there and gripe that both parties are the same and that Obama doesn't give a damn about people....well, I can't go on any further.

The GOP wants to put the country over the goddamned cliff. Period. Full stop. End of story.

...And yet, by God and Sonny Jesus, people still spew out the meme that Obama's worse.

QuadCityPat said...

Damn these guys damn them. Fucking fucks. Thanks for the post Chez I've already retweeted it.

Steven D Skelton said...

I won't jump with you to the conclusion that Republicans are like the devil, but I am more than a bit perplexed here.

Republicans argued against the stimulus and in favor of tax cuts because they would stimulate the economy immediately and the stimulus would take months to years to add money to the economy. That is a viewpoint with which I agree. Further, I agree in principle that the more of people's money they keep the better (to a reasonable extent...don't go Cesca on me). After all, they earned it.

Now the Republicans only begrudgingly acknowledge their own fiscal ideology and oppose something they should agree with??

I can think of other reasons than just being evil for this position, but they are all misguided.

According to the article, these Republicans prefer sweeping changes to the overall tax code to this extension.

Rubbish if you ask me. While sweeping tax reform is needed and would be a good thing, it isn't mutually exclusive with the payroll tax reduction. The payroll tax reduction could easily be extended while a larger bill is negotiated.

It would likely end up a part of the final package anyway.

This is like opposing an appetizer round because Grandma hasn't figured out what her entree will be.

vera lynn said...

Just Goddamn Awesome.....sincerely.

Vermillion said...

Jeebus, they really do think you have to be borderline Third World to count as "poor" nowadays.

That is the only reason I can see for such monumental stupidity. I apply Hanlon's Razor and all, and I can't vote Team Evil here. It just makes too little sense. At least with evil you can say "Oh well, that makes sense. It's evil as fuck, but it makes sense. Especially if you are a sociopath. Because it's evil."

But this? This utter defilement of logic? It has to be stupidity. There has to be some viral infection killing brain cells in normal human beings for this to make any sense.

So like Mr. Skelton, I am not going to demonize the right. I am going to pity them. And maybe get Dustin Hoffman in a biohazard suit.

P.S. Hey again, Chez! Been a while, but when I saw the link on Twitter had to come back and poke my head in. Congrats on the co-hosting gig, by the way!

Just in case.

Luke Weiss said...

the picture looks like a dude with a giant cock. it is unnerving. fuck the repubs.

Liquid said...

I would be outraged but Deus Ex hits in two hours, I need the shiny thing!

Ducky said...

If you are confused about why they would say such things, and believe that they are confused or contradictory, perhaps I can help. See, these "white-collared business criminal cocksuckers", as Carlin would say, aren't voting like this because they are having a giant collective brain fart. Something like this must go beyond simple politics. This isn't a case of Congress voting to protect the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. This is simply a case of the rich voting to protect themselves. These so called civil servants...aren't. They are desperate to maintain the status quo, and will go through some admittedly impressive mental and political acrobatics to do so. This, naturally, MAKES MY BLOOD FUCKING BOIL!

Sommer said...

I've been throwing around the idea of not voting for Obama next year. I agree with the man on more topics than not, and I truly believe he is what this country needs. But I also believe that the current insanity in the Republican party will wane significantly when there's an old white guy in the Oval Office. I hate that I even have to consider this, but maybe having any white dude in office and the Republicans returning to their pre-2008 ways would be better than having Obama for another 4 years and running the risk of the Republican party going even more batshit. What if they keep electing Teabaggers? I still believe the entire Tea Party will disintegrate as soon as Obama is gone, but in the meantime the fringe right is doing so much god damn harm to the entire world just cause they don't like having a black president. Am I crazy to think that maybe pacifying them with a President they don't hate would be better than reelecting Obama and running the risk of doubling their temper tantrum? Obviously I'm not saying the Reps behavior is acceptable in any way, but to think they'll accept another 4 yrs of Obama without turning the crazy up even further is wishful thinking. Is the Tea Party doing more harm than Obama can do good? Someone talk some sense into me! I'm considering voting Republican!

Chez said...

You know something, Sommer? I've actually considered the same thing more than once. Not necessarily voting Republican but the notion that it might be worth it to return someone they like to the White House just to stop the insanity. My rationale for even thinking this way has been that they're going to screw the country either way, so maybe at least more would get done if these clowns got their way (though we all saw what happened the last time they were given complete control).

Needless to say, this is a terrible way to think and basically constitutes, for lack of a better term, letting the terrorists win. In the long run it would prove that the kind of hostage politics they've engaged in -- in the big picture, "We're going to thoroughly run the country into the ground if you don't give us what we want" -- works and of course nothing would ever be the same. But I do understand what you're saying and I'm not as indignant about wanting to just give up as you might think.

Steven D Skelton said...

Chez and Sommar

Stop being ridiculous. (and stop throwing the word "terrorist" around willy nilly)

I don't see the two camps of the world being the right and left. It's the informed and the uninformed, and if the informed give up we are going to be ruled by the brawndo klan for fucks sake.

We don't agree on much, but I still think we are on the same team and I don't want my teammates to quit.

And it won't work anyway. Just look to your left and see if they are any happier now that we elected a liberal president. People on the far edges who see anything toward the center of them as evil will never be placated.

Chez said...

Relax, man. I'm plenty entitled to my moments of being driven to irrationality by all the batshit crazy going on around us right now.

beep said...

Sommer & Chez:

three words: Supreme court nominees. Please stop this nonsense and support the person you most want to be making that choice.

Sommer said...

I certainly don't want to give up, but what else can I do? It's all so depressing. What the Republican party is doing is so painfully obvious that I have to automatically question anyone's intelligence who doesn't see it and still supports these fools. THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE. Almost more upsetting than what's happening in Washington is the sheer volume of Americans that don't have the critical thinking skills necessary to see through the bullshit (but boy is their selective memory top notch). The longer they throw their collective tantrum and don't face any consequences from their constituencies, the faster and more dangerous their big ball of crazy grows. Will there ever be a Republican party run by intellectuals making logical arguments again (even if I fundamentally disagree with them, many conservatives make valid points and don't constantly contradict themselves. Once upon a time, politicians had brains.)? How far do they have to go before the base finally pushes back and refuses to tolerate their tactics? Or do they want their way badly enough that they would they encourage them to take it further? Is there a point of no return? Has the Republican party already hit it?

I'm moving to Canada. My spare bedroom is available if you want it. Bring Inara. She's pretty fucking cute.

Chez said...

Oh fucking knock it off already, Beep.

Sommer said...

haha I got a little carried away with my dream of Canadian citizenship. It's easy to do when you live in the Bible Belt surrounded by people that strongly support Palin, Bachmann, and their ilk.

terrorism- noun
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

sooo yeah. Willy nilly my ass.

beep said...

I'm way older than you, Chez, and being from flyover country I don't have as much snark left in me as you do. Not that I don't enjoy reading yours...

Every presidential election I have voted in (10 so far), I held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils--until Obama. I figured he wouldn't live up to the hype, but he seems to be smarter than me, and I like that in a president.

So next year I have to hold my nose again when I vote for him. No big deal. Elections, however, have consequences. And as for the GOP/tea party/cluster stupidity, this too shall pass...just not soon enough...

now I will go back to lurking to build up my snark quotient...

IrishGirl said...

Chez and Summer, the thought of voting Republican occurred to me too but only so we could hurry and get over the destruction it would surely bring. And also as a bit of revenge against all the idiots that thought their ideas were good ideas. The downside is that I and good people would have to suffer along with the idiots. It would be nice to be able to say "I told you so" when they totally mess up the country.

Fortunately that kind of "fuck it, let em burn the mother down" thinking is usually very, very brief. And then I recover my hope.

Sommer said...

I agree that the camps of the world are not left and right. However, our government is suffering a serious lack of moderate representatives.

"Just look to your left and see if they are any happier now that we elected a liberal president. People on the far edges who see anything toward the center of them as evil will never be placated."

I hafta disagree with ya here. We didn't elect a liberal president. We thought we did, but he turned out to be considerably more center than expected. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. As I stated above, the country could use more moderates in office. They're more likely to take a utilitarian approach and not be so swayed by the fringes.

Did I want a progressive president? Yes. Would I take a centrist president over anyone from this incarnation of the Republican party? Duh.

The problem is that the right shifted so much further to the right after Obama's election. Compromise between a centrist and the extreme right is still going to end up on the right. Being to the center of the left fringe is a far cry from being to the right of center.

Ah compromise. That old thing. Sadly, liberals still believe in it. The conservatives in power don't. Guess who gets what they want in that equation?

So no, the left isn't happy now that we've elected a 'liberal' president. But maybe that has something to do with the overgrown 4 year olds standing in his way.

Steven D Skelton said...

Hello Irishgirl. Haven't seen you since Cesca banned me. Hope all has been well.


Thank you for your thoughtful response, but I have to respectfully disagree as to the president not being liberal.

In two years, progressives got two SCOTUS justices, a trillion dollar stimulus, comprehensive health care reform, comprehensive financial regulatory reform and the end DADT.

He has certainly followed the Clinton model of swinging to the center after a disastrous mid-term, but what was he supposed to do?

I would certainly say that is the most liberal (domestic) record of any president since LBJ.

Sommer said...

I'll agree that he is more liberal than presidents past. However, I think we were sold a more progressive candidate than we actually got. I don't know how much of his move towards the center is due to political pressure, an actual change in his ideology, or just a perceived movement by folks like me who were expecting him to be as much of a leftist once in office as he was on the campaign trail. I have to remind myself that he is only a human, placed under extreme pressure from all sides of the political spectrum and I need to cut him a break.

On the other hand, I can't sit back and act like there aren't people standing in the way of all that he COULD do simply because they don't like HIM, not because of some disagreement with his ideas.

It's sad to me that universal health care, financial regulatory reforms, and ending DADT are considered progressive or liberal causes in the first place. It's 2011 and everyone doesn't consider health care a basic human right? Or think it's wrong for corporations to pay less in taxes than our poor? Or feel a soldier can't openly love whoever he/she chooses? (A freaking soldier! Do you know what those guys do for us and this is how we treat them?!)

But that's a whole other conversation. Sorry. Sometimes I get carried away.

Mart said...

I hope the Repubs get their way on the payroll tax, the lost revenues are accelerating the day when the SS benefits will have to be reduced. As it is de-funded, the Disaster Capitalists will get their way and gut a perfectly good program.

Mr. Skelton a liberal response to Obama's liberal domestic record -

What is the point about two Scotus' - that is what Presidents get when folks retire. The court is still an activist court for the right.

Trillion dollar stimulus that was mostly geared towards non-job generating tax-cuts, that de-funds nation, and hurries the fiscal disaster the Disaster Capitalists crave. Compare to news (nobody covered) that the fed secretly loaned banks $16 trillion BEFORE the trillion dollar Bush bail-out, along with secretly loaning foreign banks trillions more.

The Nixon/Romney/Obama health care plan that provides millions more federally funded patients to private health insurance is not what liberals were hoping for. Given the four years to implement, it will likely be blown up by the radical SCOTUS before it does any good.

Comprehensive financial reform? You are joking, right? Did you miss what has happened since Clinton repealed the Glass–Steagall Act. Was Glass–Steagall reinstated? Reforms are toothless, still have too big to fail, reckless trading and none of the crooks have gone to jail.

End of DADT. My hope is that our President would not be bigoted.

Nixon - OSHA, EPA, Clean Air and Water Acts, cut and run from Vietnam was more progressive than Obama. I'll vote for Obama, but our discourse has fallen off a cliff to the right.

Sommer said...

I clicked through to your blog, and was especially intrigued by your post from January of this year:

"........happened because of the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. The Civil War happened because the Southern states, particularly the slave-holding states, didn't want to see a president who was opposed to slavery. In this case a lot of people in this country, I believe, don't want to be governed by an African American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society. That's a basic philosophical clash."

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.)

----Congressman Moran's take on why Democrats were ousted from power in 2010----

A good scolding is needed by the citizens in Congressman Moran's district. Although they certainly aren't alone in sending morons to congress; they sent this guy.

I ask the good people of his district to look around at your neighbors. Do they look like a bunch of unreconstructed yokels hell bent on succession over having a black president? Do they? Are we as passionately divided over the president's skin color as the nation was over slavery and the power struggle between the federal and state government?

The answer to both questions is an obvious and resounding no."

Once again, I'm gonna disagree.

See, I was born in Rep. Moran's district. As a matter of fact, my dad still lives there in the same house in which I was born. I currently live just under 2 hours away in the Shenandoah Valley (gorgeous as all get out, but there is some seriously backwards thinking here).

I do know the neighbors. Very well actually. They're racist as fuck. Excuse my language, but I'll say it again. They're racist as fuck.

"Do they look like a bunch of unreconstructed yokels hell bent on succession over having a black president? Do they? "

You didn't need to ask me twice, but yes, they do. Also, I think the word you were going for there was 'secession'.

"Are we as passionately divided over the president's skin color as the nation was over slavery and the power struggle between the federal and state government?"

Much more so than you might imagine. I'm not sure where you're from, but down here below the Mason Dixon line racism is a very real thing. The rednecks scream about that nigger from the rooftops. The nice, polite genteels would never say so outright, but you hear enough "Bless his heart"s and their point is made loud and clear.

Of course, not everyone in the south is racist. That should go without saying. But there are way more of them here than you seem to think.

Lainie said...

I am baffled by my own family's devotion to the Republican party. Parents, siblings, cousins--they are all diehard Republicans, except me. And yet most of them are far less comfortable than I am financially. Some of the most vociferous right-wingers of the bunch are the poorest. What do they think the Republicans are doing for them? It is mainly about social issues as they are all also fundamentalist Christians but they also harp on about economic issues like the Right is all about protecting their pocketbook. It's just bizarre and as it's also a Jesus issue with them (Jesus is apparently a Republican to them) you can't argue with them. Baffling.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that Jesus the biblical figure was undeniably a bleeding-heart, far-left liberal.

Lainie said...

Anonymous, exactly! It was practically a pinko commie bastard yet they think he's their homeboy.

Todd Dunning said...

I'm a Tea Partier (Agnostic) and would like to explain our side of the story to you rather mystified folks.

One common thread seen in liberal blogs is confusion and rage. I felt that way too in my twenties when I had no idea how the world worked and was pissed I wasn't being handed out free money.

And in this liberal blog like all the rest we see that same rage reflected, and understandably.

Since few of the commenters here - and certainly not the writer - are interested in free market economics, it follows that you're not interested in what screws up free market economics, are you?

Instead you rail against those of us who pay your bills under that system, and that we're not paying you enough.

We on the right were all just like you once, and are happy to pay your bills only to the point that you learn how to do it yourself.

You can even call us greedy when we keep a little of our earnings for ourselves.

Chez said...

See the main page of the blog, Todd.