Debt ceiling minutiae

Something is going to happen with the debt ceiling, and I just can’t get myself too worked up chewing over all the possibilities.  I’m glad there’s people, like Ezra, to obsessively follow every negotiation and permutation, but I’m much more interested in analyzing the deal (or bad consequences) we actually get than endlessly speculating on what the deal might be.  Drum’s post from yesterday sums up my view pretty well:

Frankly, though, the endless “inside” reporting of offers and counteroffers isn’t very interesting any more. I think we’ve seen pretty much every permutation possible. Details aside, what’s obvious is that Obama is willing to concede a helluva lot while a big chunk of Republicans are not only unwilling to concede anything, but think it would be great to just go ahead and default. So what if the economy goes kablooey? It’ll help defeat Obama! And anyway, it’s only a bunch of long-haired economists saying so, and they’re probably just making stuff up, the same as the long-haired climate scientists and the long-haired biologists.

I think that pretty accurately gets at the intellectual level of the Republicans in the House and suggests why it’s so hard to actually get a deal.  I’m all for the 14th Amendment option.  (Already my favorite amendment, the 14th just keeps getting better).

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Lies, damn lies, and tax statistics

Reading through the Sunday letters to the N&O today, it seems that all the Republican letters were on the same talking points.  I can only assume that it’s what Fox or Rush has been pushing.  Short version: poor rich people paying such a high proportion of the nation’s taxes.  Of course, not a single letter writer is honest enough or smart enough to put this in the context of the high proportion of wealth the richest Americans account for.  Simpy saying that the top 10% pay 90% of the taxes means almost nothing without knowing what proportion of the income they generate.  One letter mentions that the top 1% paid a higher share under GWB than under Clinton.  Note to conservative everyhhere: the richest 1% pulled in a higher share of our national income under GWB than Clinton.

Now, of course Democrats are not immune from mis-using statistics to strengthen their argument, but the pervasiveness and fundamental dishonesty of this common conservative trope on taxes is especially annoying and surely not matched by anything from the left side of the political spectrum.

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