Friday, June 03, 2011

The Republican Pander

I recently made the mistake of engaging in debate with a "friend" on Facebook, after seeing his wall post of an interview with former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, writing:
I never thought I'd be saying anything like this, but it seems like the most pro-science candidate among the potential ones for the 2012 presidency is a republican!
And I thought that was a bit odd, as I couldn't see how any Republican could be more pro-science than Obama.  But apparently, he didn't include Obama in that.  In fact, he was basically only including Republicans; which means that he was expressing his surprise that the most pro-science Republican was a Republican.

I wrote a comment slightly teasing him about that, which quickly devolved into a very embarrassing debate in which the guy kept burying himself while using big words that didn't really mean anything.  But his point wasn't to express surprise that a Republican was the most pro-science, but rather, to show a little support for a pro-science Republican, in hopes that it might somehow encourage other Republicans to be pro-science; which would in turn make Obama want to be more pro-science.

And I'm sorry, but that's simply delusional thinking.  There is NOTHING that will make a Republican be pro-science.  Yeah, when being interviewed by a scientist, they might pay it lip service.  But when every Republican is forced to pretend to not understand evolution and insists that we can't afford education because the rich shouldn't pay more taxes...there is no pro-science to be had.

And there's nothing that can change that, at least not in the next ten years.  The Republican Party has lost so many moderates and realists that the loony fringe has taken over; and that means that if you want to win in the Republican Party, you have to appease that fringe.  It's a race to the bottom and no Republican is immune to it.

Lugar Sells Out

And I was thinking about this when reading that Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Panderville) has decided to throw his support to the Fair Tax; apparently in an attempt to show Republicans that he's crazy enough to deserve their support.  Sure, he's got a longtime record as a true conservative, but his Crazy Cred is fairly low, so he's suddenly finding the need to bolster it with talk of radical tax schemes that any serious person should laugh at.

And what's saddest about the Fair Tax sham is how its own supporters can't even agree as to what it does.  Two-thirds of the time, they'll insist that it's a much better way to raise revenues...while the rest of the time they're admitting that they support it because it will greatly cut government spending, which is a key goal of theirs.  Two-thirds of the time they'll insist that it'll finally make the rich pay more taxes...while the rest of the time they're admitting that it's about getting the poor to pay their fair share and remove the burden from the rich.

And really, I just wish we could get these two sides to argue amongst themselves, to finally hash out what it is they think this is going to do.  Because the third that's being honest are saying the EXACT SAME STUFF the liberals are, yet when the liberals say it, we get attacked.  If a liberal correctly states that the Fair Tax rate would have to be extremely high to be revenue neutral, or mention how it'll mean the rich pay less taxes, we're attacked for it.

We'll be told that this is all a conspiracy by elitist economists and their wealthy paymasters to keep us down.  But then on the very same message board, you'll hear about how great it'll be to use this to cut spending and finally let the poor pay their fair share, while showing everyone how much they're truly paying in taxes...which the rich pay far more of.

Seriously, here's a messageboard I happened to see that crap on, and never once did they think to argue amongst themselves.  Both sides were making mutually exclusive arguments, and they didn't even seem to notice.  Because of course, what all these people REALLY want is for their personal taxes to go down.  They've convinced themselves that they're getting screwed by the IRS, and see the Fair Tax as a way of sticking it back at them; regardless of whether they understand what this will really do to them.

Argumentem ad Idiotem

I think my two favorite comments are by guys who dispute the claim by Congress' Joint Committee of Taxation that a revenue-neutral Fair Tax might have to be 57%, by essentially arguing "Come on!"

Here they are:
We have a very hard time estimating the impact on tax revenue with a percentage change in the current system; how can we pretend to know the revenue-neutral level of a consumption tax? You have to be pretty arrogant to come out with 57%. It just shows that we'll be analyzing this for the next 100 years
Yes, how arrogant of Congress' Joint Committee of Taxation to come up with that number.  This guy geniuenly seems to be arguing that because it's too complex for us to figure out what the proper rate should be, that we should just go ahead and do it.  I mean, how dare we be so arrogant that we attempt to understand what we're doing before we do it?

And then there's this genius:
Some would have us believe that the tax would have to be 57% or higher to be revenue neutral. Perhaps 145%!!! 100% of our income would have to go to paying this tax leaving us nothing to buy food with. We would all starve!
Or just maybe if it is revenue neutral, it will be revenue neutral. And it can easily be adjusted up or down to make it revenue neutral. Good Lord, people, that is a simple, simple issue to fix. The only question is its incidence.
Somehow, for as much huff and puff this guy gives, he kinda failed to make any point at all.  It's like he doesn't even understand what revenue neutral means. He goes on to gripe that economists are "rich kids and have no direct knowledge of anyone who actually works for a living."

Because yes, the best way to understand how to structure our tax code is to know people who work for a living.  That's it.  You can study for years and years and crunch all kinds of silly numbers with the other rich kids, but unless you know a mechanic, you'll be too elitist to know that a 30% national sales tax is enough to raise as much money as all our current Federal Taxes combined; including payroll taxes.

I mean, cuz hey, if the initial 30% rate isn't neutral, we'll just adjust it up and down until it IS enough.  Surely, the rate won't be so arrogant as to be 57% or 100%; otherwise, we'd starve.  And we all know why that wouldn't happen, so it doesn't even need to be said.

As was to be expected, the people who support lamebrained tax xchemes are, in fact, lamebrained.  And somehow, the vast majority of these people are conservatives.

1 comment:

Doctor Biobrain said...

BTW, one commenter actually suggested that it'd be a fair thing that employees agree to be paid less in gross wages, in order to make sure that goods and services didn't cost too much with the 30% tax rate. He conceded that they might not COMPLETELY stay with their current net pay, like they should, but thought it could be some compromise in between. Like that's that's likely to happen.

I can imagine it now:
"Hey boss, now that everything costs more and I have to pay an extra $300 to purchase a $1000 television, I think you should pay me less."

Yeah, I'm sure THIS GUY knows some people who really work for a living.