Semantics Vs. Reality

I was watching a viddy on youtube (it is below if you want to watch it before reading this).  I heard the following said about the Bush tax  cuts, which were signed by The President. “Only if you consider the failure to raise taxes as increasing the deficit, would you argue this is a deficit enhancing bill.”  Just a simple note to the man who said this(pictured here).  The failure to raise taxes DOES increase the deficit, precisely because it guarantees $858,000,000,000 worth of tax money won’t be coming into government coffers to pay the high cost of governing.  Hence an increase in the deficit, by that amount exactly.

The next sentence. “Republicans do not believe that the failure to raise taxes on the American people increases the deficit.”  The deficit spoken of, the massive amount of money this government owes, to businesses, to the fed, to everyone who buys American debt, will increase the amount this country owes by an estimated $858,000,000,000 over the next 2 years. 

The next three sentences.  To have raised taxes now would have been particularly bad. We’ve got 9.8% unemployment.  I don’t know anybody that thinks raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a good idea.  Three statements, in need of three responses.  First statement is semantically null, means nothing, unprovable, therefore meaningless.  Second statement.  True.

Third statement, true, for a very specific reason, but very misleading. The person who said this was part of the party that created the myth that raising taxes during a recession is unsound fiscal policy. The quote below, from the Center of budget and policy priorities, by Stiglitz and Orszag is more in line with what actual economists thinking.  The third sentence was couched in such terms as to make it about Mitch rather than about the truth of raising taxes in a recession. 

It may be true that  Mitch doesn’t know anyone who thinks that, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a great many economists and leaders who DO think it. Mitch knows economists, knows lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, knows thinkers from think tanks who work and live in Washington.  I’ll take him at his word that he doesn’t know anyone who thinks higher taxes during a recession is a good thing. 

But actually raising taxes in a recession? On everyone? No, but on the upper class? That can be done and made to work.

5 sentences from Mitch, and as is usual for him, more stupidity than you can shake a stick at. Passed off as truth. 


If anything, tax increases on higher-income families are the least damaging mechanism for closing state fiscal deficits in the short run. Reductions in government spending on goods and services, or reductions in transfer payments to lower-income families, are likely to be more damaging to the economy in the short run than tax increases focused on higher-income families. In any case, in terms of how counter-productive they are, there is no automatic preference for spending reductions rather than tax increases.

Joseph Stiglitz and Peter Orszag


Viddy of the day: From Friday, from Fox news.  Yes, liberal ole me tossing a fox viddy on.  It IS the video from which each of the italicized quotes above is taken.  The quotes above begin at the 4:15 point in the video.


Semantics, all semantics from Mitch.  Mitch here is arguing that Republican fiscal policy is responsible fiscal policy.  I disagree.  His next statement was more like the truth, or at least stands closer to reality than the last few statements I quoted above.   “You have a Democratic President here, I think, responding to what happened November 2nd and deciding maybe he better do some business with these Republicans.” 

I don’t know that it is necessarily the President thinking maybe he better do some business with the Republicans.  He has been trying to, REPEATEDLY, letting the Republicans in on writing parts of the Health care bill, the Stimulus packages tax incentives, etc, etc,etc.  What did the President get for thanks for this largesse?   The Republicans ground a great many important pieces of legislation, and appointments to important posts to a halt because the President wouldn’t do exactly what they wanted, when they wanted it. 

Everything needs to get past cloture, everything gets filibustered.  Everything. That is not normal procedure, just in case you didn’t know that. This congress has been infested with this crap in ways no congress ever has been in the history of the Republic.  Now I cannot tell you what the President was thinking, but I cannot help but think that Mitch doesn’t either, and he’s just talking out of his neck.

And at some point, I cannot help but think, when the Political pendulum swings back the other way completely, and it will, count on that, that Payback will be one MAJOR bitch. 


That’s it from here, America.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow, by which time I will have gotten over the worst loss by the New York Giants since 1978.


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