Thursday, November 10, 2005

Après Moi, le Déluge

Before the last election, President Bush said that the average tax cut was $1,586. That’s true if you look at the mean tax cut, which is to say you average the huge tax give-aways to the multi-millionaires in the top 2 per cent with the relatively meager relief given to the rest of us. Look at the median, and it comes out that half of all individuals and families got less than $470, and half got more. Even allowing for the fact that 25% of taxpayers got zip, zero, nada, that’s still a lot of free dead presidents that W gave away.

Originally, tax cuts were sold on the basis that the government was running a surplus, and that therefore, taxpayers deserved a refund. Well, in W’s own words, he hit the trifecta: national disaster, war and recession, and thus he no longer feels bound by his election year promise not to have deficit spending.

Look, this is no time for the blame game, but some have pointed out that the disaster (9/11) could have been foreseen by the simple expedient of reading the Presidential Daily Briefing. These same critics would like to accuse the President of waging a war that was not, strictly speaking, necessary to neutralize Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Anyway, when it comes to the recession which started on Bush’s watch, you know what they say: “The buck stops with the previous administration.”

What we do know is this: the budget surplus/taxpayer refund rationale basically was, to borrow a phrase, “no longer operative.” Those who say that the war in Iraq was a big waste of blood and treasure fail to take into account the lessons that the White House learned.

The White House had learned that they could switch rationales faster than a three-card monte dealer makes the ace disappear, and people wouldn’t seem to notice. And so it was that the President announced the new, improved rationale for the tax giveaways to his billionaire buddies: Americans know how to spend their money better than the government does!

Those nattering nabobs of negativity who criticize everything the President says and does leaped on this. Why, they asked, if Americans are so smart, didn’t those folks in New Orleans do the reasonable thing and invest their tax refunds in fixing up the levies? Surely they could have done this better than the Government what with all the bureaucracy and such.

But these critics of President Bush don’t know the things he knows. For instance, who knew that, as W informed us, “no one could have anticipated the breach of the levies”?

A lot of those nay-saying nudnicks thought that just because we had created a Department of Homeland Security we would be made more secure. Some of those knuckle-heads thought that in the brain-storming about terror scenarios, someone would have thunk about sabotaging the levies.

These critics were so intent on finding fault with our President, that they failed to notice that the government had turned FEMA into a horse-and pony show, even though the head of FEMA had been replaced by the commissioner of judges at Arabian horse-and-pony shows.

The Republicans used to criticize the Democrats for "tax and spend" policies. This crop of crooks has a new policy: "steal and spend." I call it "stealing" because they are borrowing the money from the next generation, and have no intention of repaying it.

There is another big difference between the "tax and spend" policies of yesteryear, and the current legislative larceny. In the by-gone era, there was the idea that the spending was for the benefit of citizens. The Radical Republicans believe, as we have seen, that government has no role to play in helping, or even protecting, the citizenry.

... and tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!

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