February 28, 2009
I’ve never listened to Limbaugh’s show, so I thought I’d check out his CPAC keynote to see what he’s peddling first hand.
The main theme seems to be that Obama is punishing excellence and achievement by taxing the wealthy more. This is pretty standard GOP meme and it is wrong in several ways:
- We are basically going back to the old rate under Clinton, after having had a huge tax break on upper incomes which did not help the economy, and produced huge deficits under Bush (something conservatives conveniently have no problem with).
- I don’t buy that a successful individual will decide to work any less hard because his total tax bill is between 0% and 11% higher (due to a top marginal rate of 39.6% instead of 35% above 250k only).
- We are still nowhere near the 70-91% top tax rate we had much of the 20th century.
He supports this with the usual argument that the top 5% income bracket pays over 50% of all taxes (citing NY numbers specifically). This is so deeply flawed it really needs to die: It hides the fact that those 5% top earners have increased their income thousands percent in the last decade while the lower 50%’s wages have remained stagnant. So if anything the statistics illustrate just how grave the income equality gap has become (in fact I think Democrats should confront this head on and own this argument).
Another recurring claim is that liberals just want control. This is just thinly-veiled fear mongering and conveniently hides that it goes both ways: Conservatives are constantly intruding in people’s lifes: Their phone conversations, their reproductive choices, their sexual choices (e.g. gay marriage or gays in the military), their choice to have or not have a cross at their courthouse, their choice not to pray at school, their choice to die in their own terms, their choice to use recreational drugs. Let’s be real here, both sides want control: Liberals want control to allow everyone to do whatever they want, conservatives want control to ensure everyone lives by their Christian code of values.
Some other statements (paraphrasing):
- More Americans live as conservatives than any other way, even if they don’t vote that way: Very comforting to your base, but impossible to support, and in fact very wrong if you believe the polls these days. He could point to party id polls (more people consider themselves conservative than liberal), but I believe the third of the population that are independents these days just want pragmatism over inptitude, and right now choose Democrats. Also after 8 years of the word ‘liberal’ getting a bad name I think it will come back.
- The media (i.e. the drive-by media) is against you: So don’t listen to any of them and only listen to me instead. Enough said.
- Obama is busy fomenting anger and fear: I think Obama is definitely challenging the populist anger simmering across the country, which is brilliant; better to let us know he’s on our side and get us behind him in effecting the change we want (and voted for overwhelmingly). I understand Rush would have a problem with this since many of the pitchforks are pointed at him.
- We (conservatives) don’t hate anyone: Hahaha. Empty words. I’ve read the quotes (from his show, Michael Savage, etc.). I actually put myself through Hannity every now and then. The hate oozes. Every second is filled with fear and hate. Mr. Limbaugh, you can’t tell me that up is down or day is night.
- Barney Frank and Chris Dodd caused the financial crisis: I don’t even need to refute this ridiculous claim. Rush, stop covering Phil Gramm’s ass. Can anyone in your movement ever accept responsibility for anything?
Then it got more tactical… conservatism doesn’t need to change, we don’t need to be going after the Walmart vote or the Hispanic vote or whatever. So that was it for me… things to do.
February 7, 2009
I’ve been listening to KNX 1070 radio (CBS affiliate in Los Angeles) for years.
But these last 2 weeks their coverage of the recovery bill has been so slanted and superficial, I barely recognize them. It’s almost as if they are trying to do their part to obstruct it, or to help Republicans convert it into all tax-cuts.
Night after night I’ve been treated to Mitch McConnell or John McCain saying some nonsense (e.g. “… this is not a stimulus bill, it’s a spending bill”), with no Democrat clips to counter them. Not Schumer’s excellent
…we tried tax cuts last year.. it was a dud!
The largest spending bill in history is going to turn out to be the war in Iraq … And I don’t understand why, from some of my conservative friends, building a road, building a school, helping somebody get health care, that’s — that’s wasteful spending, but that war in Iraq, which is going to cost us over $1 trillion before we’re through — yes, I wish we hadn’t have done that. We’d have been in a lot better shape fiscally.
No tax cut builds a road. No tax cut puts a cop on the street. No tax cut educates a child
or any of the other great quotes from Dems on news shows or during deliberations.
Then Friday on my way home they had that radical Tom McClintock attacking Obama and the bill for two or three minutes, unchallenged. Some of the misconceptions he was peddling:
- FDR’s infrastructure spending didn’t help end the Depression. That has been refuted over and over.
- Japan’s stimulus package didn’t help them in the nineties: Sure they made mistakes we can learn from when implementing our plan, but it still saved them from an outright depression, and ultimately their biggest problem was their ‘zombie’ banks not being properly capitalized (which we can also learn from).
- Deficit spending crowds out private investment and accomplishes nothing: Under normal circumstances, but in a downturn, without confidence, private capital will not be put to work to an extent sufficient to stop the downward spiral of reduced spending > employment > spending.
- Government doesn’t create jobs: Apparently he hasn’t heard of NASA or the NSF or the Department of Energy. Anyways, Obama’s approach is to funnel most of the bill’s money through private contracts.