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tax cuts for the rich

You don’t – at least, I certainly don’t – see as much talk about the national debt as there was, say, back in the 1990’s. Perhaps even debt hawks among the sorriest dregs and rinsings of the contemporary human intellect – the conservative punditry – realize that the issue has lost its edge since it’s become clear that a huge federal debt doesn’t mean economic apocalypse.
 
But that’s not to suggest that a gi-normous national debt is a good thing. Especially if you consider what has really caused it. If you’re reading this you’re presumably enough into the issue to have seen graphs like the following plenty of times before.
 
US-national-debt-GDP-graph
 
Yeah, it started with Almighty Reagan’s tax cuts for the rich and military spending. And the fundamentals haven’t changed. The U.S. national debt is nothing more or less than the cost of 35+ years of aggrandizing the plutocrats and warmongers.
 
But the real cost of prioritizing that aggrandizement is even greater – indeed, far greater. It’s the cost of the lost potential inherent in a shrinking middle class, and a long-term underclass being screwed in almost every conceivable way. And so on; again, if you’ve read this far, having come to this blog, you know what I’m typing about. Fundamentally, we’re talking about constrained to virtually nonexistent access to substantial resources and opportunity for those not born to wealth, or otherwise granted ready access to it.
 
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Scott WalkerMinnesota’s legislative Republicans are keeping ideological company with the wrong kind of people.
 

Their plan will face scrutiny this week as the Legislature returns from its Easter/Passover break, but it’s already unnerved some health care advocates. They worry a $1.1 billion cut to human services could harm many needy Minnesotans at time when the state projects a $2 billion surplus…
 
Democrats say there’s no way Republicans can cut more than $1 billion from health and human services without cutting needed services for the elderly, the poor and the sick.
(MPR)

House leadership has proposed a $2.3 billion tax target, which they indicate would include about $2.0 billion for tax cuts and the impact of dedicating some existing tax revenues to transportation. This would come on top of significant tax cuts passed in 2014. That figure is simply unsustainable. Minnesota’s recent history demonstrates that when the state does too much tax cutting in good times, it makes the hard times worse when the next economic downturn comes along. This target not only makes it impossible to invest in Minnesota today, it also threatens the state’s ability to sustainably fund nursing homes, roads and bridges, and other critical services in the future.
 
Also concerning is that many of the tax cut proposals being discussed in the House would cut taxes only for the highest-income Minnesotans, reversing recent progress that has made Minnesota’s tax system more equitable.
(Minnesota Budget Project)

In other words, there’s a lot here that has failed Minnesota in the past, and that is failing Wisconsin and many other states, now. It’s things like this that point up the #1 problem with conservatives in power: they never learn. Or, they don’t want to.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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The “Cult” Of Tax Cuts For The Rich

by Dan Burns on July 27, 2011 · 0 comments

From Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), last week:

“The sad thing is America no longer has a two-party system,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said at a press conference Wednesday. “One of our two parties has morphed into kind of a cult driven by a singular fixation and obsession: preserving tax breaks for the wealthy at all costs.”

I was moved to do a little research on cults, because this is far from the first time that the word has been thrown around, in this context.  What I found, below the fold.
I’m no expert;  I’ve just seen a few documentaries, about Jonestown, Waco, and the like.  But, there are learned people that have seriously studied the phenomenon, and here’s one suggested set of criteria.

1.  A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power.

2.  A process [is in use] call[ed] coercive persuasion or thought reform.

3.  Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Note the use of “and,” rather than “or,” or “and/or” in sentence 3.

Also, I think that this definition needs another indicator, namely, that for true cultists, the cult dominates their entire lives.  In my experience, most right-wing conservative true believers display acceptable, even high, levels of independent, responsible functioning in society.  In other words, they seem pretty normal…except when it comes to politics, when they become raving zealots, impervious to reality and rationality alike.  Why?  For all I know, maybe just because they can.

(Actually, there are a whole lot of contributing factors, as to “why.”  But, that’s at least a book-length treatise, to get into all that.)

Though the essay does add:

…some commercially motivated groups stress total commitment, avoid answering critical questions and seem to employ “cult like” manipulative techniques to achieve what can be seen as undue influence.

So, I suppose, hard-core, delusional, tax cuts for the rich uber alles conservatives, don’t really make a “cult.”  But, certainly, there are cult-like characteristics.  Though that can be said of a lot of groups;  rabid sports fans, for example.

This diary isn’t meant to be definitive.  Just a little, mild, mental workout. Here’s some music.

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One good summary of modern conservatism, is that it’s a fanatical insistence on making the same idiot blunders, over and over and over again.  Like these:

But then, for about the thousandth time, my mind wanders over the past ten years. Republicans got the tax cuts they wanted. They got the financial deregulation they wanted. They got the wars they wanted. They got the unfunded spending increases they wanted. And the results were completely, unrelentingly disastrous. A decade of sluggish growth and near-zero wage increases. A massive housing bubble. Trillions of dollars in war spending and thousands of American lives lost. A financial collapse. A soaring long-term deficit. Sky-high unemployment. All on their watch and all due to policies they eagerly supported. And worse: ever since the predictable results of their recklessness came crashing down, they’ve rabidly and nearly unanimously opposed every single attempt to dig ourselves out of the hole they created for us.

But despite the fact that this is all recent history, it’s treated like some kind of dreamscape. No one talks about it. Republicans pretend it never happened. Fox News insists that what we need is an even bigger dose of the medicine we got in the aughts, and this is, inexplicably, treated seriously by the rest of the press corps instead of being laughed at.

Meanwhile, here in Minnesota, corporate media grovels to the rich man as the latter whimpers at the possibility of being made to pay back a bit of his tax cut welfare.

Then again, from its perspective, why shouldn’t corporate media take the easy road?  A big chunk of the electorate manifests a cynical, uninformed, largely apathetic, “it doesn’t matter what party is in charge, they’re all crooks” attitude toward politics.  Republicans have been able to use this to their advantage, promoting their corrupt, plutocratic “ideals” by pounding home the belief that, the above being the case, all government is intrinsically bad.  Countering that, especially in conservative regions, where conservative elected officials are continually failing, in all kinds of crude and loathsome ways, is a large and daunting task.

(image:  “Lazarus at the Rich Man’s House,” by Gustave Dore.  cf. Luke 16:19-31)

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