Voodoo economics, again, and just in time for Halloween

In a recent post for the New Republic, Jonathan Chait lights into Pat Toomey, some fool politician from Pennsylvania, for saying something that’s popular, but demonstrably untrue.  Here’s the exchange:

Mr. Toomey says he favors making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent for all Americans — which would add $700 billion more to the deficit over 10 years than the plan advocated by President Obama to let the lower rates expire for the rich. But he also expresses a desire to reduce the deficit.At the ironworks shop, Mr. Toomey brushed aside a question from a local reporter who pointed out that real income for American workers dropped after the Bush tax cuts, saying he did not believe the data.

Are there even any rich people left in that state?  Honestly, why that’s a popular position to take in Pennsylvania is beyond me.  But then, I can’t really figure out how the vast herds of the non-rich have become convinced by republicans (and – in the interest of fairness – politicians dumb enough to be republicans ) to champion that cause for their social and economic betters, in any state.  Well, actually, I can – I teach, after all, so I see what’s become of education in this country.  Our long national assault on intellectualism and education has been bearing fruit for us for some time, and we seem to be reaching some kind of high-point in our national quest for willful ignorance.  And of course, at some point, it’s no longer going to be willful; it’s just going to be what we’re left with.


I done graduated from Oxford!


There was a time when disbelieving reality w0uld be considered an impediment to getting elected to the US Senate, but those times are not now.  Clearly.  In fact, as Chait goes on to point out, disbelieving reality seems to have become something of a requirement for office.  Now, no one in elected office seems to have the balls to tell their constituents the truth about how our most sacred myths of prosperity and wealth are based upon the confused ramblings of a bad actor who was only pretending to know something about economics.


Well, he's still better than Bush.


Here’s Chait, again, with the unpleasant facts about our recent tax history:

In 1993, conservatives unanimously predicted that Bill Clinton’s tax increase on incomes over $200,000 would slow growth, reduce tax revenues, and likely cause a recession. Instead, of course, the economy boomed and revenue skyrocketed. Then George W. Bush cut upper-bracket tax rates, and conservatives predicted that this would cause the economy to grow even faster. Instead, the economy experienced the first business cycle where income was lower at the peak of the business cycle than it had been at the peak of the previous business cycle. It is rare that events so utterly repudiate an economic theory.

None of this evidence has penetrated the conservative mind to the slightest degree. Reading the right-wing press, it is exactly as true today as it was 18 years ago that reducing Clinton-era upper-bracket tax rates holds the key to economic growth.

That’s not some secret conspiracy, either – all of that is obvious.

Actually, maybe that’s the problem.  When a majority of the voting public will only believe something that (1) clearly defies reality, and (2) appears nowhere but on Glenn Beck’s blackboard, I suppose it should come as no surprise when that same sort of idiocy is reflected back at us in our elected representatives.


It's only a matter of time...


That gives me an idea: I wonder if I could convince people that there’s a secret conspiracy where the obscenely wealthy conspire year after year to keep the vast majority of Americans poor, dumb and compliant?  Nah, I guess they’d never fall for that – it’s not unbelievable enough.


2 Responses to “Voodoo economics, again, and just in time for Halloween”

  1. October 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Right on!

    I like what you do with the photos. PhotoShop? Other program?

    Palin on Mt Rushmore reflects the alternate universe as defined by conservative wacks and hacks with no sense of reality – but they do have a good handle on rhetoric.

  2. October 13, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I would actually feel somewhat comforted if I thought the rhetoric was good, because that would suggest that there’s something intelligent hidden behind all of the nonsense. As much as I disliked what Reagan did to the country, I’ll grant you that he was smart enough to speak well, to hold an intelligent conversation. He had, in his adult lifetime, read books (plural). He had some rhetorical skills. But this new crowd? Nah. What they’re spewing isn’t even good rhetoric. It’s just loud, uncomplicated, and then repeated over and over, big brother style, by the villains at Fox. These guys aren’t in the same league. I believe that Sarah Palin couldn’t tell Katie Couric the name a newspaper she reads because she doesn’t read newspapers. I believe that Christine O’Donnell couldn’t name a supreme court case she disagrees with in tonight’s debate in Delaware because she doesn’t know any. I believe that David Harmer – who has a good shot to replace Rep. Jerry McNerney in the 11th district – doesn’t see any downside to eliminating all public education in the country because he’s just that dumb. I wish I could believe that most of the republicans who say they don’t believe in evolution or climate change were just saying that to please their dumb-as-rocks voters, as a rhetorical strategy. Or even as part of an evil plot to destroy the planet. But I’ve come to believe that’s simply beyond their capabilities. I really do believe they believe what they say.

    By the way, the clever photo was courtesy of Google’s new time machine function. I don’t know how they’ve managed to remain solvent during the Palin presidency of 2012-2024, but I bet she made them change their motto.

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