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The GOP Don't Want Spending Cuts Either

By Peter Suderman, Hit & Run - December 12, 2012

Supported by:

If you want to know why it's so hard for elected officials to make a deal that begins to close the federal budget gap, look no further than a new poll by McClatchy-Marist. The results of the poll show that while many respondents say they would like to see a budget deal, there's little support for any of the specific measures included in the survey. A majority of respondents opposed cuts to Medicare, changes to the program's eligibility age,  cuts to Social Security, letting the current payroll tax cut expire, letting the Bush tax cuts expire on everyone, eliminating the tax deduction for charitable contributions, cutting spending on Medicaid, reducing the home mortgage interest tax deduction. The only proposal supported by a majority is raising taxes on the wealthy. This tells you a lot about why the fiscal cliff negotiations are moving so slowly, and why it's so difficult to for Congress come to agreement on a budget deal. 

What's particularly revealing, though, is what you see when you single out the poll's self-identified Republicans. Unlike the overall polling sample, a majority of the poll's Republicans do not support raising taxes on the wealthy. But they don't support any of the  spending cuts mentioned in the poll either. Not to Medicare or Medicaid, and not to the tax loopholes surveyed either. Republicans, in other words, don't support much of anything except leaving things the way they are now. Which is exactly what we can't do.

Might there be some spending cuts that Republicans do support that just didn't get included in this poll? Probably. Polls suggest that most voters are open to cuts in foreign aid. Cutting subsidies for public broadcasting usually plays well with the GOP base. But polls also tell us that voters consistently overestimate how much of the budget is spent on those sorts of things by a large margin: Surveys have shown that respondents estimate that 10-25 percent of the federal budget goes to funding foreign aid, and about 5 percent goes to public broadcasting. The reality is that only about 1 percent funds foreign aid, and only about 0.1 percent is used to subsidize public broadcasting.

This confusion, and the unwillingness to face up to our actual long-term budgetary challenges, explains a lot about why the GOP's last presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, talked a big game about cutting deficits and reducing the debt, but when asked for specifics focused heavily on small-ball spending cuts. It also helps explain why Republicans now are so often wary of talking about overhauling the entitlement system. And it also speaks to a larger confusion within the party about what government should do and be: In theory, the GOP is the party of small government. But polls like this one suggest that it's really the party of the status quo.

Peter Suderman is a senior editor at Reason magazine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time.

| 12.12.12 @ 12:32PM |#

Damn orange-line cosmos, always in the tank for the dumbocrats!

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Can we cut funding for JJ?

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:39PM |#

Without comment funding, how would JJ afford a new monocle and top hat every year? Do you want him to die in the streets, cold, blind, and ungentlemanly?

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If I say yes, am I a bad person?

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:43PM |#

Yes, but that's regardless of your answer.

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The sad thing is that I knew that already.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:46PM |#

Ha, of course not! Duh, you're an ancap, which is way past "bad person" on the relevant epithet spectrum.

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I AM NOT AN ANCAP. I am an individualist anarchist.

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Kaptious Kristen| 12.12.12 @ 12:54PM |#

I need to find the introductory post by one of Balko's guest bloggers from this past summer. His attempt to label himself wound up in an indecipherable mess of a description.

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Kaptious Kristen| 12.12.12 @ 1:08PM |#

See if you can make sense of this, because when I read it, my brain went to mush:

I am a Hayekian thick libertarian who is increasingly agnostic on the question of philosophical anarchism reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:17PM |#

Well, I get the "Hayekian" and "thick libertarian" part at least.

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Heroic Mulatto| 12.12.12 @ 1:30PM |#

By "thick libertarian", she means she got a fine badonkadonk.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:39PM |#

OMG I can be two kinds of thick libertarian AT THE SAME TIME. Sweet, HM.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

An INARCHIE.

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tarran| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

I AM NOT AN ANCAP. I am an individualist anarchist.

Oh geez. You make it sound like she called you an Emacs user.

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You make it sound like she called you an Emacs user. I lol'd.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:58PM |#

Seriously, don't get smart with me. LIKE I DON'T ALREADY KNOW THAT.

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Killazontherun| 12.12.12 @ 1:17PM |#

He's the DJ, I'm the Ancap.

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Ted S.| 12.12.12 @ 2:05PM |#

What do you all have against Jelena Janković?

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:33PM |#

Can't cut spending, someone might not vote for you. Fucking freeloaders.

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JEP| 12.12.12 @ 12:36PM |#

But polls like this one suggest that it's really the party of the status quo.

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." - G.K. Chesterton

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sarcasmic| 12.12.12 @ 12:37PM |#

They're open to cutting anything, just not that.

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The Heresiarch| 12.12.12 @ 1:31PM |#

Isn't this a Meatloaf song?

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Romulus Augustus| 12.12.12 @ 12:40PM |#

Why not, instead of some grand compromise, have the GOP pass a bill extending the Bush/Obama tax rates for everyone? Let the Dems be the ones to refuse to continue the middle class rates. Then introduce a series of bills cutting specific items of spending. That will smoke out both sides and, if no specific cuts get passed, then let's all agree to live with huge deficits and start learning to speak Mandarin so we can communicate better with our eventual owners.

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John| 12.12.12 @ 1:11PM |#

Mandarin so we can communicate better with our eventual owners.

LOL I think I would rather owe 20 trillion dollars than be owed 20 trillion dollars. You know that old saying about owe a little and the bank owns you but owe enough and you own the bank.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:40PM |#

Of course they don't want to cut anything. What did they do the last time they ran the government?

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The Late P Brooks| 12.12.12 @ 12:48PM |#

This comes as a complete surprise to me.

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Death Rock and Skull| 12.12.12 @ 12:49PM |#

"Republicans Don't Want to Cut Spending Either"

The sky is blue today. Michael Jackson is dead.

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:59PM |#

I saw Elvis and Spiderman outside of Bally's last week though.

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Yes. Duh. Exactly why the cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust can't come soon enough. A little reality goes a long ways.

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Anonymous Coward| 12.12.12 @ 12:52PM |#

I think I need someone to explain the differences between TEAM Red and TEAM Blue to me because I seem to have forgotten already.

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:53PM |#

Difference?

You seem to be mistaken.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

The difference is that one is red on the left side, the other red on the right side.

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"You're BLUE on one side and RED on the other."

"I am BLUE on the right side."

"I fail to see the significant difference."

"Lokai is RED on the right side. All of his people are RED on the right side."

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

Stop copying me!

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We all make jokes about this, but you know there are some who say (yuk yuk) that since the Pauls are on Team Red, that means we should all support republicans.

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 1:12PM |#

Well then obviously since I like sex, I should just sleep with every woman I see whether she's willing or not.

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rac3rx| 12.12.12 @ 1:14PM |#

How else are you gonna get laid?

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 1:15PM |#

Or, how about we support, I dunno, the Pauls and reject most of the rest as venal statists?

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Emmerson Biggins| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

I don't want to predict that we have reached peak stupid, we probably haven't. But I think we may have reached the point where every extra unit of stupid hurts us very little (more). So I guess that's like the silver lining or something, right?

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:58PM |#

Once you've filled up the inflatable life raft with enough boxes of rusty nails and sharp metal screws, one more box doesn't much matter.

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The Late P Brooks| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

The only proposal supported by a majority is raising taxes on the wealthy.

This brings me back to my rant from yesterday. If government programs were accounted for honestly, it would be impossible for anybody with an IQ over 40 to delude themselves into thinking we just need to rob the rich to give to the poor HARDER.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:57PM |#

Instead of picking on the wealthy, some of whom think mutually, why not simply enslave a subset of the population that the majority really doesn't like? In other words, a 100% tax on the disliked minority?

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:59PM |#

I'm all for that, as long as the disliked minority is politicians.

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NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:00PM |#

I think we would be that disliked minority.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 1:01PM |#

Probably. Certainly among the disliked minority.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:03PM |#

I thought we already were.

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John| 12.12.12 @ 1:07PM |#

In other words, a 100% tax on the disliked minority?

That is pretty much what the Nazis did. The problem is when that minority's money runs out, what then?

That is what is so funny and pathetic about the whole thing. Do university faculties and unions and liberal foundations who are now screaming to loot the rich not understand that when the "rich's" money runs out the mob will turn on them?

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No, John, they do not understand that. Class war is inevitably the upper middle class hating on the upper class, without the slightest bit of self-awareness or the realization that they are next.

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John| 12.12.12 @ 1:16PM |#

Pretty much. One of these days people are going to turn on the universities like they did on the monasteries.

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Bardas Phocas| 12.12.12 @ 1:47PM |#

I think it'll be the universities and big foundations (Pew-pew-pew, Ford, etc). NGOs with piles of money will also be targetted.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:18PM |#

And even some people who are aware that this has historically been the pattern are still un-self-aware enough to reënact it themselves.

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Ted S.| 12.12.12 @ 2:11PM |#

Ooh, a diaresis mark! The turning on the clerisy remarks remind me of the following:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law! Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that! Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake! reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 2:27PM |#

Yay, you didn't call it an umlaut!

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:55PM |#

More like the upper class conspiring with the governing class to make sure that the upper-middle class pays a heck of a lot higher tax rates than the upper class does.

Compare the top individual rates to the capital gains rates.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:59PM |#

we just need to rob the rich to give to the poor HARDER.

Oh P Brooks, you have it all wrong. We just need to ask the rich to pay more. Ask.

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NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:01PM |#

damn that "ask" nonsense is infuriating.

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:53PM |#

YEah, don't they all want to pay more already? Warren Buffet said so.

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Drake| 12.12.12 @ 1:07PM |#

It is already impossible for anyone with a trace of curiosity and an IQ over 40 to delude themselves.

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:56PM |#

Someone with an IQ under 40 doesn't have enough intellectual firepower to delude themselves. I think the IQ necessary for self-delusion is probably in the 110-150 range.

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Draft Tulpa 2016| 12.12.12 @ 1:04PM |#

Holy moley, looks like someone strapped a jetpack onto the gold price's back. Did Bernanke open his mouth again?

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NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:10PM |#

yes -- Fed pledges to keep interest rates low until unemployment falls below 6.5 percent and inflation tops 2.5 percent.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100306053

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Damn orange-line cosmos, always in the tank for the dumbocrats!

| 12.12.12 @ 12:35PM |#

Can we cut funding for JJ?

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:39PM |#

Without comment funding, how would JJ afford a new monocle and top hat every year? Do you want him to die in the streets, cold, blind, and ungentlemanly?

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If I say yes, am I a bad person?

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anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:43PM |#

Yes, but that's regardless of your answer.

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The sad thing is that I knew that already.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:46PM |#

Ha, of course not! Duh, you're an ancap, which is way past "bad person" on the relevant epithet spectrum.

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I AM NOT AN ANCAP. I am an individualist anarchist.

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Kaptious Kristen| 12.12.12 @ 12:54PM |#

I need to find the introductory post by one of Balko's guest bloggers from this past summer. His attempt to label himself wound up in an indecipherable mess of a description.

reply to this

Kaptious Kristen| 12.12.12 @ 1:08PM |#

See if you can make sense of this, because when I read it, my brain went to mush:

I am a Hayekian thick libertarian who is increasingly agnostic on the question of philosophical anarchism reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:17PM |#

Well, I get the "Hayekian" and "thick libertarian" part at least.

reply to this

Heroic Mulatto| 12.12.12 @ 1:30PM |#

By "thick libertarian", she means she got a fine badonkadonk.

reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:39PM |#

OMG I can be two kinds of thick libertarian AT THE SAME TIME. Sweet, HM.

reply to this

Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

An INARCHIE.

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tarran| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

I AM NOT AN ANCAP. I am an individualist anarchist.

Oh geez. You make it sound like she called you an Emacs user.

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You make it sound like she called you an Emacs user. I lol'd.

reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:58PM |#

Seriously, don't get smart with me. LIKE I DON'T ALREADY KNOW THAT.

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Killazontherun| 12.12.12 @ 1:17PM |#

He's the DJ, I'm the Ancap.

reply to this

Ted S.| 12.12.12 @ 2:05PM |#

What do you all have against Jelena Janković?

reply to this

anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:33PM |#

Can't cut spending, someone might not vote for you. Fucking freeloaders.

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JEP| 12.12.12 @ 12:36PM |#

But polls like this one suggest that it's really the party of the status quo.

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." - G.K. Chesterton

reply to this

sarcasmic| 12.12.12 @ 12:37PM |#

They're open to cutting anything, just not that.

reply to this

The Heresiarch| 12.12.12 @ 1:31PM |#

Isn't this a Meatloaf song?

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Romulus Augustus| 12.12.12 @ 12:40PM |#

Why not, instead of some grand compromise, have the GOP pass a bill extending the Bush/Obama tax rates for everyone? Let the Dems be the ones to refuse to continue the middle class rates. Then introduce a series of bills cutting specific items of spending. That will smoke out both sides and, if no specific cuts get passed, then let's all agree to live with huge deficits and start learning to speak Mandarin so we can communicate better with our eventual owners.

reply to this

John| 12.12.12 @ 1:11PM |#

Mandarin so we can communicate better with our eventual owners.

LOL I think I would rather owe 20 trillion dollars than be owed 20 trillion dollars. You know that old saying about owe a little and the bank owns you but owe enough and you own the bank.

reply to this

Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:40PM |#

Of course they don't want to cut anything. What did they do the last time they ran the government?

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The Late P Brooks| 12.12.12 @ 12:48PM |#

This comes as a complete surprise to me.

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Death Rock and Skull| 12.12.12 @ 12:49PM |#

"Republicans Don't Want to Cut Spending Either"

The sky is blue today. Michael Jackson is dead.

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CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:59PM |#

I saw Elvis and Spiderman outside of Bally's last week though.

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Yes. Duh. Exactly why the cliffpocalypsemageddonacaust can't come soon enough. A little reality goes a long ways.

reply to this

Anonymous Coward| 12.12.12 @ 12:52PM |#

I think I need someone to explain the differences between TEAM Red and TEAM Blue to me because I seem to have forgotten already.

reply to this

anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:53PM |#

Difference?

You seem to be mistaken.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

The difference is that one is red on the left side, the other red on the right side.

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"You're BLUE on one side and RED on the other."

"I am BLUE on the right side."

"I fail to see the significant difference."

"Lokai is RED on the right side. All of his people are RED on the right side."

reply to this

Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:56PM |#

Stop copying me!

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We all make jokes about this, but you know there are some who say (yuk yuk) that since the Pauls are on Team Red, that means we should all support republicans.

reply to this

anon| 12.12.12 @ 1:12PM |#

Well then obviously since I like sex, I should just sleep with every woman I see whether she's willing or not.

reply to this

rac3rx| 12.12.12 @ 1:14PM |#

How else are you gonna get laid?

reply to this

Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 1:15PM |#

Or, how about we support, I dunno, the Pauls and reject most of the rest as venal statists?

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Emmerson Biggins| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

I don't want to predict that we have reached peak stupid, we probably haven't. But I think we may have reached the point where every extra unit of stupid hurts us very little (more). So I guess that's like the silver lining or something, right?

reply to this

CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:58PM |#

Once you've filled up the inflatable life raft with enough boxes of rusty nails and sharp metal screws, one more box doesn't much matter.

reply to this

The Late P Brooks| 12.12.12 @ 12:55PM |#

The only proposal supported by a majority is raising taxes on the wealthy.

This brings me back to my rant from yesterday. If government programs were accounted for honestly, it would be impossible for anybody with an IQ over 40 to delude themselves into thinking we just need to rob the rich to give to the poor HARDER.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 12:57PM |#

Instead of picking on the wealthy, some of whom think mutually, why not simply enslave a subset of the population that the majority really doesn't like? In other words, a 100% tax on the disliked minority?

reply to this

anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:59PM |#

I'm all for that, as long as the disliked minority is politicians.

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NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:00PM |#

I think we would be that disliked minority.

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Pro Libertate| 12.12.12 @ 1:01PM |#

Probably. Certainly among the disliked minority.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:03PM |#

I thought we already were.

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John| 12.12.12 @ 1:07PM |#

In other words, a 100% tax on the disliked minority?

That is pretty much what the Nazis did. The problem is when that minority's money runs out, what then?

That is what is so funny and pathetic about the whole thing. Do university faculties and unions and liberal foundations who are now screaming to loot the rich not understand that when the "rich's" money runs out the mob will turn on them?

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No, John, they do not understand that. Class war is inevitably the upper middle class hating on the upper class, without the slightest bit of self-awareness or the realization that they are next.

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John| 12.12.12 @ 1:16PM |#

Pretty much. One of these days people are going to turn on the universities like they did on the monasteries.

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Bardas Phocas| 12.12.12 @ 1:47PM |#

I think it'll be the universities and big foundations (Pew-pew-pew, Ford, etc). NGOs with piles of money will also be targetted.

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nicole| 12.12.12 @ 1:18PM |#

And even some people who are aware that this has historically been the pattern are still un-self-aware enough to reënact it themselves.

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Ted S.| 12.12.12 @ 2:11PM |#

Ooh, a diaresis mark! The turning on the clerisy remarks remind me of the following:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law! Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that! Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake! reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 2:27PM |#

Yay, you didn't call it an umlaut!

reply to this

CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:55PM |#

More like the upper class conspiring with the governing class to make sure that the upper-middle class pays a heck of a lot higher tax rates than the upper class does.

Compare the top individual rates to the capital gains rates.

reply to this

nicole| 12.12.12 @ 12:59PM |#

we just need to rob the rich to give to the poor HARDER.

Oh P Brooks, you have it all wrong. We just need to ask the rich to pay more. Ask.

reply to this

NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:01PM |#

damn that "ask" nonsense is infuriating.

reply to this

CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:53PM |#

YEah, don't they all want to pay more already? Warren Buffet said so.

reply to this

Drake| 12.12.12 @ 1:07PM |#

It is already impossible for anyone with a trace of curiosity and an IQ over 40 to delude themselves.

reply to this

CE| 12.12.12 @ 1:56PM |#

Someone with an IQ under 40 doesn't have enough intellectual firepower to delude themselves. I think the IQ necessary for self-delusion is probably in the 110-150 range.

reply to this

Draft Tulpa 2016| 12.12.12 @ 1:04PM |#

Holy moley, looks like someone strapped a jetpack onto the gold price's back. Did Bernanke open his mouth again?

reply to this

NoVAHockey| 12.12.12 @ 1:10PM |#

yes -- Fed pledges to keep interest rates low until unemployment falls below 6.5 percent and inflation tops 2.5 percent.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100306053

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I like the AND in that. So when inflation goes to 14% and unemployment is 6.7%, we'll still be printing cheap money. Fuckers. If they would've raised the rates in '05, half our financial crisis would never have existed.

Sometimes I optimistically think of this time as the end of the unsuccessful century long experiment in central banking. (No, I have no evidence to support the "end" part, but that which can't go on forever must end.)

reply to this

Mike M.| 12.12.12 @ 1:46PM |#

I keep trying to explain to Shrieking Idiot that gold will never collapse as long as Easy Money Forever is going on, but I think he's far too stupid to even understand the correlation there.

reply to this

Killazontherun| 12.12.12 @ 1:50PM |#

He's a sock puppet. He understands what you are saying but so long as you are willing to play his game, he won't stop contradicting you.

reply to this

John| 12.12.12 @ 1:04PM |#

I understand that both parties and the media lie. But Jesus H. Christ people do bear some responsibility for their ignorance. There is no excuse for being so stupid that you think cutting foreign aid and PBS will balance the budget anymore than taxing the 1% will. The country really does get the government it deserves.

reply to this

Joe M| 12.12.12 @ 1:05PM |#

Get what we deserve, good and hard.

reply to this

anon| 12.12.12 @ 12:43PM |#

Yes, but that's regardless of your answer.

reply to this

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