Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paying for Government Mistakes

And so I'm reading about how Illinois is passing a temporary tax hike and how Republicans are insisting that this is the end of the world and lots of businesses will pack up and move.  As if we're to imagine that a tax increase from 4.8% to 7% would somehow justify the cost of moving your entire business to another state...especially when that other state still has higher taxes.

And then I read this oddity:
"We're saying to the people of Illinois, `For eight years we've overspent, now we're going to make it your problem,'" said Rep. Roger Eddy. "We're making up for our mistakes on your back."
It's as if this money just up and vanished.  No roads were built.  No children were educated.  It didn't pay a retired firefighter's pension.  It all went to waste.  Just a mistake, really.  Nobody but the politicians wanted this spending.  It just happened...for eight years.

But of course, government spending doesn't just disappear.  Sure, some of it gets siphoned off due to corruption and waste; particularly in Illinois.  But the vast majority of it goes towards the very people who paid for it.*  Even the funds that are paid to employees get spent, the same as a paycheck from any other employer.  And seeing as how the main areas Republicans want to cut go towards healthcare for the poor and elderly, as well as other aid programs; I'm a bit confused as to how these are mistakes.

But that's just par for the course with Republicans.  It's all about rallying against unnamed government expenses, because if you name them, you start to get unpopular.  That's why Republicans are so insistent upon getting Democrats to agree with them on spending cuts, because they wouldn't dare touch this money otherwise.

*Post updated to mention government corruption.


mahakal said...

It's like you don't actually know anything about Illinois, but it sounds like a good argument in theory.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yeah, because I pretended to know something about Illinois. And I see I was educated by one nothing article that explained nothing from two years ago. And now I understand how Illinois wasted billions and that Republicans are right for wanting to curtail spending rather than raising taxes.

And seriously, you could have posted that link without sounding snotty about it.

mahakal said...

Perhaps you wouldn't think I was being snotty if you weren't so glib. "But of course, government spending doesn't just disappear." It's like you live in a fantasy world where government spending is always good. Of course, Republicans are always wrong. But God forbid that government tax the rich and help the poor, because that would be socialism or something!

John of the Dead said...

The thing that really bugs me about this is the news coverage. They're going from a tax rate of 3% to 5%. I'm an engineer, not an accountant, but by my arithmetic, that's a 2% increase. But all the news outlets, including the "liberal" NPR, are calling it a 67% tax increase. I suppose that's technically true, as 2% is 67% of 3%, but it's still just 2% of income. Are they all trying to be deliberately misleading? Are they trying to make it sound far worse than it is to gin up controversy? Percentages of percentages just seem like bad practice, and I've found myself yelling at the radio more than once this week.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Yes, Mike. I actually believe that government spending is always good. You nailed me there. As usual, I'm a complete idiot.

But just so you know, the real problem here is that I wrote a post that was over twice this long, decided it was too long, and just snipped off a big chunk at the beginning. And I was tired of looking at it, so I just posted it; even though the problem of government corruption had occured to me. Frankly, this is the reason I've stopped posting: Because it takes so fucking long to say everything that needs to be said so that somebody doesn't come along and attack me for failing to say something.

But just so it's clear: The deficit they're trying to make up is in the BILLIONS. I seriously doubt you're referring to billions in corrupt spending. So it's really a moot point. Especially as I'm quite sure you're in agreement with me on this issue and believe that Illinois should raise their taxes and not cut spending. So you're once again attacking someone who agrees with you.

And btw, as I'll say once again, I completely support taxing the rich and helping the poor. The only place I said anything differently was in your mind. Our discussion centered on whether it was ok to tax the rich for the purpose of taking their money away from them. I still don't agree with that. But if the purpose is to fund government spending, then I agree with that. Why is that so confusing for you?

Doctor Biobrain said...

John, yeah, that's been bugging the hell out of me too. I saw repeated headlines about the 66% increase, and when I finally decided to read a story about it, had to read well into the article to see how small the increase was. The article also failed to say what the new corporate tax rate was, which was important, because it showed that their new rate was still below neighboring states. And that's a damn important piece of information too. Frankly, I was surprised to see that their taxes had been so low.

And yeah, I'm quite sure that much of that is for shock value. Unfortunately, news is in the entertainment industry, and it's all about getting eyes to look at advertising.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Ok, Mike. I went ahead and added two sentences to this post in order to mention government corruption, as it was never my intention to imply that it doesn't exist.

But I'm still left flabbergasted as to how you can read a post that supports a tax increase and defends government spending on the grounds that it helps people; yet attack me for opposing taxes that help people. It's like you're so busy trying to figure out how I'm wrong that you fail to notice that we're in agreement.

Steve D said...

@Doctor B: I don't know if you have some kinda history of Snark Wars with the poster, but I have to say that acknowledging that corruption exists makes this a much stronger argument.

One of the strongest arguments Republicans have towards "austerity" are anecdotal evidence of govt. waste / fraud, but it's interesting to put that in perspective... that those incidents are probably a relatively tiny percentage of overall waste.

Steve D said...

And by "overall waste," I meant "overall spending". Oops.

mahakal said...

Steve, Dr B is a narcissist who does not like being corrected on anything. Thus he must attack anyone who tries to help him understand what he does not recognize. It is unfortunate, and of course he likes to personalize his responses even using my name while hiding his own, because he is a coward. Other than that, he's right, we mostly agree, when he is talking about Republicans. He just has no concept of reality, and thinks we should support conservatives and conservative policies as long as they aren't called Republicans.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Mahakal - I have absolutely no problem with being corrected, which is why I correct my posts when I think I'm not being understood properly. Just as I did with this post.

My problem is that you continually make this personal by attacking me. All you had to do was point out that not all government spending is good, particularly not in a corrupt state like Illinois and I would have realized that I should amend my post to take this into account. Which I did. Why you had to attack me under the assumption that I'm an idiot and didn't know about corruption is beyond me.

You, on the other hand, call me a narcissist and a coward, have told me repeatedly to fuck myself, and believe me to be an imbecile who doesn't know the most basic things of life. I've never done these things to you, yet you continually insult me for reasons I don't understand.

As for using your name, I'm honestly sorry as I didn't realize you were trying to hide that. I just thought you were using that name because it was your login name and it didn't occur to me you didn't want your first name exposed. That wasn't an attempt by me to personalize this. I just prefer your first name over your blogger name. I won't make this mistake again and always try to use whatever name people want me to use for them. If you didn't like it, all you had to do was say something. I had no ulterior motive here and regret my mistake.

But it should be noted that you referred to me as a narcissistic coward, while I referred to you by your first name. One of these is a little more personal than the other.

And finally, could you PLEASE explain which conservative policies I support? I continue to ask you to point these out to me, and you continue to ignore this request. I've got many years of blog posts for you to choose from, so this shouldn't be difficult for you.

As I keep saying, I support taxing the rich more. I support helping the poor and middle-class. I support government regulations of business. I believe in a liberal interpretation of the Constitution. And I would like all of these policies to increase. How does this make me a conservative?

mahakal said...

The instance where I have told you to fuck yourself was a private conversation, wherein you set forth your unqualified medical opinion on my own person. So I will tell you again regarding that matter to fuck yourself, and will not engage in further pissing match with you here.

Doctor Biobrain said...

What pissing match? You keep hurling unprovoked insults at me while I keep wondering why you're hurling insults at me, as I always treat you with respect. If that's a pissing match, it's only because you keep pissing on me. I'm just trying to have a conversation.

So I guess you're once again refusing to find all these conservative positions you insist I hold? I keep asking. You keep dodging, yet continue to make the claim; all evidence to the contrary.

If I'm a conservative, I'd really like to know. Please, explain my conservativism to me. I've got over 1,600 posts for you to choose from. Please tell me where I expose my conservativism, because I'm just not seeing it.

mahakal said...

Yes you live in a history-free zone where you never explained your support for conservative Democrats like Brad Ellsworth, or defended keeping the Bush tax cuts on the highest incomes while defunding Social Security. But there's no point relitigating anything here. You only argue with your own imaginary opponents anyhow. I won't bother.

Maybe you will eventually recognize how indecent you are in your civility.

Doctor Biobrain said...

My indecent civility. That's a good one.

But hey, you actually made an argument. That's a break through. Your typical explanation-free assertions were only making things worse, as I had no idea what you were talking about.

But of course, I only "supported" Ellsworth because he was better than the alternative: A conservative Republican who was more conservative than Ellsworth. It wasn't his conservativism I supported. It was his party affiliation. And that was because party affiliation gives us control of Congress, which is more important than a single member's ideology. I explained that at the time and fail to see how this makes me a conservative. I never supported his ideology and prefer to have liberals in every political office.

And yes, I defended Obama's compromise on the Bush tax cuts only because it gave us many liberal policies, including unemployment benefits; as well as opening the way for repeal of DADT and the other liberal policies. And had we chosen your path, many people would have suffered and we would have been denied liberal policies.

So basically, you're saying I can't be a liberal because I supported a shitty compromise with conservatives in order to get good liberal policies. And you're the REAL liberal, even though your ideas would have denied us liberal policies. snd we'd still have DADT.

Really? That's it? That's the litmus test for conservativism? We're conservatives if we even compromise with conservatives? How does that make any sense?

BTW, the tax deal DIDN'T defund Social Security. Some progressives claim that it COULD defund Social Security, using a conspiracy theory which suggests that this was a trick which conservatives will use later on to defund Social Security. But at this point, Social Security is still being fully funded and there is no plan to defund it. Maybe that will happen. And I assure you, I fully oppose the defunding of Social Security, and wouldn't even accept an alternative as a compromise. Fortunately, neither did Obama. Social Security is still safe.

And who knows, maybe I'm wrong about all this and pragmatism will backfire on us, giving us more conservative policies. But in no case do these pragmatic decisions make me a conservative.

Believe it or not, but compromising with the enemy does not make one the enemy.

mahakal said...

Enjoy yourself.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Once again, you insist upon pretending as if you're taking the high road by pulling out of the debate, yet refuse to give me the last word. And it's all about insulting me for being delusional and debating myself, as if it's my fault that you won't explain yourself. And when I finally get you to engage in an actual debate by giving your first level of explanation, you bail out and refuse to defend anything you wrote, while once again blaming me because you refuse to explain yourself.

And I keep responding back, as I love hearing from people who disagree with me and want the sort of corrections you insist I avoid. But rather than engaging in a debate, you write back, unable to give me the last word you're insisting you've given me; while insulting me yet again for trying to get you to explain your point of view.

And yeah, I do enjoy this. I like hearing from people who disagree with me and want them to tell me why they think I'm wrong. I fail to see how that's a bad thing.