Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

But Republicans aren't that stupid 

Following up my last post which referenced Republican voters' general lack of intellectual depth, I'll now brin g up something that has puzzled me for weeks. McCain is asking voters not to vote for Obama claiming that Obama will raise "your" taxes. Anybody paying the slightest attention knows that a key Obama campaign promise is to lower taxes for 95% of workers.

An effective false smear has to have at least some plausibility of truth. The 2004 swift-boat smears about Kerry succeeded because Kerry himself spoke of his service in Vietnam, giving the outrageous claims some measure of believability, however slight, for those dispositioned to wish to believe them. But the claim Obama will raise "your" taxes is completely ungrounded by even the most distorted take on anything Obama has ever said or done.

Unless you're not middle or lower class. Which McCain has defined as everybody making less than $5 million a year - this a smear with the plausibility of belief because McCain actually said it, even if clearly in jest. The believability of the $5 million smear sinks in to those wishing to believe it because it's buttressed by the demonstrable fact that McCain's campaign promises would indeed favor the very rich over everybody else. McCain's lavish life has also truly and demonstrably placed him out of touch with the un-rich: reference his sincere claims that no American would pick lettuce for $50/hr and that "You could make an argument that there's been great progress economically over" the Bush years.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Krugman on Republicans 

Krugman,

[I]n the world we actually live in, pro-corporate, inequality-increasing Republicans argue that you should vote for them because they're regular guys you'd like to have a beer with, while Democrats who want to raise taxes on top earners, expand health care and raise the minimum wage are snooty elitists.

If there's anything else we need to understand about the economics of the 2004 elections, I don't know what it would be. The queer phenomenon of down-and-out social conservatives gathering at the gated communities of their corporate overlords pitchforks and torches in hand, bellowing, "We are here to lower your taxes!!" is described in detail by Thomas Frank in his phenomenal book What's the Matter with Kansas.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

American politics 

That's one of the back porches off the master bedroom in one of the mansions owned by the presidential candidate who's running a campaign highlighting the accusation that his African-American opponent is "elitist".

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Friday, October 12, 2007

The rich get richer 

This should be the third or fourth nail in the coffin for the American idea that people earn what they're worth. To me, it seems reasonable to believe the most talented among us could be 4 or five times more productive than the average worker, but government policy has allowed the upper class to be rewarded thousands of times over what they'd have earned had they not been unusually fortunate in their investment gambles or born into wealth in the first place. From the Wall Street Journal,

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004 and a bit less than their 13% share in 2000.

The top 1% "earn" almost twice that of the bottom 50% combined. In effect America is an aristocracy.

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