It’s the tax cuts

I know I’ve made the point recently that all this anti-deficit posturing, is just that, and that conservatives really don’t care about reducing the deficit.  They’re just using it strategically (and quite effectively) to make political points.  Kevin Drum highlights some very dramatic evidence that it is truly tax cuts that drive the conservative mind:

There’s a mountain of evidence to support this view, but it would be tedious to go through it. Instead, here are the results of a New York Times poll of self-identified tea partiers from April. Remember: these are the most militant deficit obsessives out there. Their entire movement revolves around small government and deficit reduction. 91% say they’ve followed news about the deficit closely.  In the middle of a massive recession with a sky-high unemployment rate, 76% say they’d rather cut the deficit than spend money to create jobs. They are the farthest right of the right wing.

But guess what? The deficit still takes a clear back seat to tax cutting: by a margin of 49% to 42% they say they prefer cutting taxes to reducing the deficit. These are the people the Republican leadership answers to these days, and they’ve made their choice.

I think a big part of the story here is just how effective all the deficit talk has been.  For this, I blame the media for letting the RNC so successfully set their agenda.  And, the fact that the American public is so ignorant as to believe cutting the deficit is more important than getting people working again.  Hello– when people are working, they are paying taxes and buying things, not withdrawing unemployment benefits.  It’s not rocket science.

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Chart of the day

Via Ezra, again, who is just chock full of cool charts lately:

071410-snapshot.jpg

Source.

No commentary required.

Profiles in cowardice

Via Annie Lowery (Ezra Klein’s girlfriend, by the way.  DC’s wonkiest couple?):

Recognizing that Democrats would be reluctant to record “yes” votes for a budget that would augment the deficit, the House leadership opted to deem as passed a “budget enforcement resolution” instead, just before the July 4 recess. While the distinction between an enforcement resolution and a full budget is largely technical, there is one crucial difference: Under the enforcement resolution, Democrats can no longer use a parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation next year — a process Democrats had hoped might allow them to pass key pieces of legislation, such as a jobs bill, with 51 votes in the Senate, as opposed to the usual 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.Under the arcane rules of the Senate, budget reconciliation can only be used if it was written into the budget rules passed the previous year. With no full budget, there can be no reconciliation. As a consequence, Democrats lose a valuable tool for passing budget-related items on a majority-rules vote. Stimulus and jobs measures, if they combined short-term spending with longer-term deficit reduction, would have qualified for reconciliation.

Got that, knowing full well they will likely have  a majority of the Senate next session, but far short of 60, the Democrats have now forsaken the possibility of reconciliation.  Ouch, ouch, ouch!!  This is just painfully shortsighted and stupid.

A small, but notable point in a big story

You may have heard, Argentina of all places, passed a gay marriage law.  Especially surprising, when you consider attittudes in Argentina like this:

From the story:

After 14 hours of sometimes heated debate that lasted nearly until dawn, the Senate voted 33 to 27 to approve the Marriage for People of the Same Sex bill, which had been approved by the lower house in May and was strongly supported by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Argentina becomes the second country in the Americas, after Canada, to approve marriages for gays and lesbians.

What’s so notable?  How about that, the Argentine Senate approved a law with only  55% of their Senators voting in favor.  Imagine, an upper chamber in a national legislature governing my majority, rather than a 60% super-majority.  What a crazy idea!  When was the last time you saw a headline about the us passing something where the winning margin was 51-59.  Something’s nuts here, and it’s not Diego Maradona (okay, maybe he is, too).

Public Opinion is neither public nor opinion: discuss

Actually, I suppose it is both, but damn is it frustratingly ill-informed and counter-productive at times.  Keeping with the chart theme of late, this one from Ezra Klein really says it all:

spending_versus_public_desire_to_cut_spending.png

Source here.

To slightly modify what I said from my last post…

If you ever come across people suggesting the key to our budget woes by cutting back on foreign aid or unemployment benefits (or plain-old welfare, though it’s not in this chart), you might, in as polite a way as possible (especially if they are a Republican Senator), let them know that they are a political moron.

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