(By NCrissie B)
This week I’ve been considering the curious conservative belief that the solution to many problems is more of the same problem. First, I looked at their view on mass shootings. Yesterday I examined the Wall Street crisis and financial regulation. Today I conclude with deficits and tax cuts.
Yelling about the debt …
If you watched the London Olympics Opening Ceremony last night, you may have learned a few things: Mary Poppins can chase Voldemort out of childrens’ dreams, Rowan Atkinson may get bored if asked to play music, and Queen Elizabeth II has enough spunk and good humor to join Daniel Craig in a James Bond-themed royal entry.
If you watched the ads, you also learned that the ‘New Majority Agenda’ are concerned about our national debt….
“Why isn’t the economy stronger? In the seconds it takes to watch this, our national debt will increase $1.4 million,” the narrator ominously intones. “He’s adding $4 billion in debt every day.”
Note: I’m not certain this is the same ad that ran last night, but it’s by the same group, looks the same, and is the most recent such ad about which I could find information.
Who are the ‘New Majority Agenda?’ That’s at the end of the ad, in the small print: Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Super-PAC. Who are they? Apart from the usual “grassroots” claims, Karl Rove won’t say. He says the group should be exempt from FEC rules that require disclosure of political donations, claiming the Super-PAC is a “social welfare organization” that talks about issues rather than candidates. That claim is as laughable as the argument in the ad itself, which Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave two Pinocchios last month:
As with a previous Crossroad GPS ad, this ad exaggerates Obama’s impact on the rise of the debt, as it was not just spending, but a decline in revenue that is responsible for the sharp rise in federal budget deficits. Obama has proposed policies to help reduce the deficit – which Crossroads opposes. That’s their right, but it seems strange to suggest he has done nothing about it.
… and whispering about race.
Why claim President Obama has done nothing to reduce the deficit, when he offered a comprehensive deficit-reduction package that Republicans rejected last summer? Perhaps because the truth wouldn’t fit the emerging Republican narrative of President Obama working to undermine the U.S. as claimed in Dinesh D’Souza’s new ‘documentary’ film:
The film argues that this explains all of the actions of the current administration, from the frosty relations with Israel and outreach to Muslim world, to the refusal to intervene in Syria, to the resistance to offshore drilling and the running up of the national debt. Obama wants to knock America down a peg or two to put it in parity with the Third World. Indeed, the film concludes by arguing that Obama is running up the national debt in a deliberate effort to bankrupt the nation in the name of anti-colonialism.
As D’Souza told ABC News: “Obama wants to shrink America’s footprint in the world because he thinks we’ve been stepping on the world. And that is directly related to the ideology espoused by his father.”
Linking race and the federal budget is hardly new, as Sanford Schram, Joe Soss, and Richard Fording explained in their book Race and the Politics of Welfare Reform. Ronald Reagan’s mythical ‘welfare queen’ reinforced rather than created a conservative meme that we could easily balance our federal budget if we stopped giving money to Those People. D’Souza takes it to the next level, claiming that President Obama is intentionally running up the debt to weaken the United States … because his father was a black man from Kenya who hated the West.
More tax cuts … for some
President Obama’s ‘Grand Bargain’ proposal collapsed on the issue of tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, and D’Souza’s distorted racial lens helps clarify the two very different tax cut proposals considered by the Senate this week. Senate Democrats pushed and ultimately passed their plan to extend the 2001 tax cuts for incomes up to $250,000, as well as 2009 tax cuts that targeted working families. Senate Republicans had proposed a plan to extend all of the 2001 tax cuts – including tax cuts for incomes over $250,000 – but to eliminate most of the 2009 tax cuts for working families.
As polls show most Americans support tax increases for the wealthy, how did Republicans hope to sell their plan of more tax cuts for the rich and while raising taxes for working families? It helps if, like House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), you argue that it’s unfair for half of Americans to pay no income taxes. Never mind the fact that the working poor pay state sales taxes and other taxes and fees, or that the federal tax code is set up to exclude the working poor with programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit … a program that was created in the 1970s to subsidize low-income jobs.
It’s still unfair for those “lucky duckies” to skate by without paying taxes. Republicans are trying to paint the working poor as the new welfare queens … driving up the debt by soaking up entitlement programs while paying no taxes, protected by a president who wants to undermine America because his father was Kenyan. You don’t need canine hearing to translate that Republicans hope to sell tax increases for the working poor by telling white working class voters those tax increases will stop Those People from busting the budget … and sell tax cuts for the rich by talking about “job creators.”
When it comes to tax cuts, Republicans always want more, more, more … but only for some.