Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nice State You Got There...

Be a shame if something were to... happen... to it.

That is the not-so-subtle meaning of this letter from The White House to the Great State of Texas.  Yes, your State received a similar one as well.  It details the specific cuts the White House will have made if Sequester goes through.  Note that all of these cuts are from actual operations.  Somehow not one mention is made of fewer vacations for the President.  Somehow not one mention is made of fewer "fact finding missions" or reduced salaries rather than cut jobs.  Not one mention is made, in short, of cutting anything that isn't useful.  No, all the cuts will be targeted specifically to make the sequester as painful as possible, just so that the Traitor in Office can blame Republicans again.

I'm not going to review all the cuts, though you should do so to see what I mean.  What I am going to do is look at the introduction to the letter, so you can see how this is operating exactly like a protection racket.  If you don't want to click over, I'll be quoting the whole thing.

Impact of March 1st Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security: Texas

Okay, let's stop there.  I know, it's just the title, but it's important.  Note the tone the letter is already taking.  "Oh, these cuts will have an 'impact' on Middle Class Families!"  No scare-mongering there.  None. At. All.

Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts -- called the sequester -- will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illnesses and our men and women in uniform.

Note the blame of congress here.  The President came up with the sequester.  He recommended the sequester.  He signed the bill that created the sequester into law.  Yet now Congress must act.  There's not a single thing he could do.  He's powerless!  Of course, he could target cuts at unnecessary expenditures.  But this is President Dumbo.  He's not going to do that.

There is no question that we need to cut the deficit, but the President believes it should be done in a balanced way that protects investments that the middle class relies on.  Already the President has worked with Congress to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion, but there's more to do.  The President has put forward a balanced plan to not only avoid the harmful effects of the sequester but also to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion in total.  The President's plan meets Republicans more than halfway and includes twice as many spending cuts as it does tax revenue from the wealthy.  For details on the President's plan click here [link not reproduced].

Note the wording here: "cut the deficit."  Democrats would have you believe, despite sixty-plus years' evidence to the contrary, that raising tax rates is a legitimate way to "cut the deficit."  It is not.  It does not work.  It has never worked.  It will not ever work.  The Government is spending more money in a year than you could get if you taxed every US Citizen into poverty and beyond.  The only thing we have not seriously tried in modern times are real spending cuts.

Note also two further obfuscations.  That "$2.5 Trillion" is partially projected savings from winding down military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and partly projected savings from ObamaCare.  However, the first is not "savings."  Not spending money you weren't planning to spend anyway is not "cutting."  The second is a lie.  It is a known lie.  Everyone who doesn't live under a rock knows it's a lie.

Then there's that last line: "The President's plan meets Republicans more than halfway and includes twice as many spending cuts as it does in tax revenue from the wealthy."  This single line is so chock-full of errors its almost deserves its own post.  I'll hit them quickly- 1) SCOAMT promised 3:1 spending cuts to tax increases during the election.  That he's now proposing 2:1 is not "meeting Republicans more than halfway," it is moving the goalposts.  2) Notice that tax rate hikes are called by their new Orwellian Name "tax revenue."  Never mind that they won't bring in any appreciable additional revenue.  3) The tax hikes the President are proposing don't hurt the wealthy.  He himself has admitted it.  His point in closing the supposed "loophole" for "corporate jets" (which is actually normal tax law anyone can use- if you buy a special uniform for work, you get exactly the same tax-cut.  It's a business expense that can be written off your taxes) is that it will prevent the rich from buying new jets.  That doesn't hurt the rich.  It does hurt the middle class workers whose livelihood depends on the rich buying those jets.

Unfortunately many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so we can protect the investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe.  By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families, and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction.  The President is determined to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, but he won't stick the middle class with the bill.  The President is willing to compromise, but on behalf of the middle class he cannot accept a deal that undercuts their economic security.

How many lies can they pack in to one paragraph?  Let's see:
1) Republicans are not refusing "to ask the wealthy to pay a little more."  The know the wealthy- the working affluent, as I like to call them, are already paying nearly (and sometimes more) than 50 cents of every dollar to various levels of government.  If you ask them to pay more, they'll either just quit making money, or move elsewhere.  Don't believe me?  Ask California and New York. 

2) "Investments" is Democrat-ese for "spending," and "helping grow our economy and keep our country safe" is Democrat-ese for "F*ck you.  Pay me."  The sequester is a drop in the bucket.  It comes out to somewhere between 1 & 2% of current spending.  You cannot convince me that needed services have to be impacted.  That is a choice Democrats are making, not one Republicans are forcing.

3) "Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families, and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction."  "Everything he just said is Bullsh!t."  I've already gone over this- this is Democrats' choices, not Republicans.  One of the proposed cuts (by Republicans) was to cut congressional salaries.  Nancy Pelosi refused those because her high station deserved the money she's making, and how dare you look at the your Betters, peasant?

4) "but [the SCOAMT] won't stick the middle class with the bill."  Once again, this is a lie.  The President has already raised tax rates on the middle class.  He wants to do worse by raising the minimum wage (which will make everything more expensive and increase unemployment further).  And, again, those "tax loopholes" he wants to close are things the middle class use every year.  Every time you take the mileage deduction for your work car, or deduct the cost of your uniform from your taxes, you're using exactly the same "loophole" the "wealthy" are using for their corporate jets.

5) "The President is willing to compromise..." once again: moving the goalposts is not "compromise."  He promised 3:1 (which Republicans said they might reluctantly support depending on the details), now he's offering 2:1.  That's not compromise.  As for "a deal that undercuts their economic security," maybe he could look at his own economic policies before he tries to blame Republicans.  He might also look at his own (well documented) roll in the Mortgage Bubble.

Our economy is continuing to strengthen but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington.  Republicans should compromise and meet the President in the middle.  We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable, cuts-only approach, Texas risks paying the price.

There we have it.  First, a couple more lies: "Our economy is continuing to strengthen..." well, maybe if you work in Government.  It's still really freaking tough for the rest of us.  "We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity,"  yes, we can.  We've done it before.  See the late 19-teens and what became known as "the roaring 20s."  That was "cutting our way to prosperity."  It wasn't the first time we did it, either, though I'm pretty sure it was the last.

But then there's the clincher: "Texas risks paying the price."  See, the SCOAMT can't allow cuts that won't hurt, because this is a scam.  He- not Republicans- is holding the middle class hostage.  He- not they- can target cuts so that they trim "fat" instead of "muscle."  He- not they- can move back toward the middle- his original proposal which had already been accepted in principle- 3:1 cuts-to-taxes.  Most Republicans would have jumped on that in a second in January.  That's what the President said in the campaign, the President was re-elected, obviously the people supported that.  But now he has moved the goalposts to 2:1 cuts-to-taxes.  That's after we've already increased taxes on everyone who makes a paycheck, and already increased the top marginal tax rate.  The President would like you not to remember that those things happened at his insistence.

This is no different from a Mob Boss saying that if you don't pay your protection money, he "can't be held responsible for any damages," while his enforcers are right there ready to knock your display cases over and start a fire in your shop.  This is all the President's doing.  For him to attempt to blackmail Republicans this way is beyond outrageous. 

Don't lean on the Republicans.  Support them.  Tell them "more please."

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