Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Collateral Damage

These people have no heart.

Matthew Yglesias discusses tax versus spending to reduce the deficit and points out that spending cuts would have to be so big that they would inflict great harm on a lot of people. Megan McArdle's response? Raising taxes isn't popular either.

It's not about how people feel, it's about how many people will suffer and die if draconian spending cuts are made. McArdle shrugs and says tough, some programs will just have to be cut to reduce the deficit. And it's not like Social Security really exists anyway!

God save us from these people who really, truly want us dead. We're in the way of infinite profits, both personal and corporate. They'd kill us dead without a second thought, as long as they didn't actually have to do any of the work themselves


Anonymous said...

You don't know what suffering is until you run into a few homebuying snafus.

frankensue said...

So where will all the profits come from if a bunch of people die? Aren't people the source of profits? Shouldn't capitalists want to keep them healthy enough to purchase stuff? Let all the seniors die and who's going to buy all the stuff from Big Pharma? What Megan and people like her refuse to accept is that they are in this with everyone else. They don't make money unless they get it from us. Who's the leech here? I think it's Megan and her sort of people. It should be a symbiotic relationshipk, but these days, they are working really hard to destroy the host, which is the middle class.

Kathy said...

ArgleBarlge's reply is Classic Strawman.

Yglesias is talking about the harm spending cuts might do,

Argly's reply is about "popularity".

Memo to Ms. Meg: Taxes are NEVER popular, with anyone.

Batocchio said...

KWillow is spot on, but additionally, the obvious reply is that a majority of Americans support letting taxes on the richest 2% go back to Clinton levels – which still leaves that 2% obscenely rich. I'd go further and say hike up taxes on the rich fuckers back to pre-Reagan levels. Also, let's cut waste at the Pentagon, which should free up at least 100 billion per year. After we do those things, if we're still in trouble, we can look at cutting back on some of the useful stuff. Like all conservative hacks, McBargle pretends that all tax cuts and increases are the same. Raising taxes on McBargle and her hubby are in fact very popular with the American public. It's both responsible (hell, necessary) policy and good politics, and the fact that it'll piss her off is just gravy.

Batocchio said...

Another McBargle Alert! Awooga!

McMegan asks, "Why are the Rich so Rich?"

Gosh, if only someone had written something about this... If only Slate could run a much-discussed series on income inequity... Or if only the media ever, at any point whatsoever, reported on the economic and fiscal consequences of Bush administration policies... Maybe funneling two-thirds of tax cuts to the richest 10%, and declaring "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" had something to do with it? Maybe lowering capital gains taxes and the estate tax affected things? If only the "business and economics editor" for the Atlantic could bother to know anything about her field and discuss it honestly...

She's dumb, but she's not that dumb. And she's a really crappy propagandist. Alas, the commenters weren't pushing back much this time, at least not the early ones...

Anonymous said...

The basic problem here seems to be this: the folks on the right feel that any sort of social program is a terrible horrible thing, because everybody will immediately jump on that gravy train & live life high on the hog forever after. They prattle on about "small government" and "socialism." But they do not offer solutions to their agenda. For instance, what would happen to the people who are disabled & living on SSDI? Are they to be quietly written off as collateral damage in the fight against socialism & big government?

It's true that nobody likes taxes. But it's also true that taxes serve their purpose. On the local level, for instance, they give us our roads & our schools & our fire departments. At the national level, they should provide a means for the country to maintain its infrastructure & solvency. It's not rocket science. We're a very big country and we require a boatload of money to properly run it. Tax cuts starve our nation of its lifeblood. & since no one on the left in elected office has the balls to cut military spending (now that's entitlement spending, as anyone who has ever worked out a defense contract knows) or take a good look at the chronic malfeasance of the rich & connected; or, for that matter, to even TAX BUSINESSES properly, we just face a steady decline into stupidity & mediocrity, eventually stunting the nation of its ability to function on any level whatever.

And all in the name of their grand conservative agenda.

The truth is we've tried their grand conservative agenda. In many ways, we've been trying it since Eisenhower left office. It doesn't work. And so they keep on pushing it further to extremism with the confidence that the reason it has failed is because they weren't extreme enough with their policies.

The part that I don't understand in all this is why the Democrats don't realize this is a slow suicide for a once-great nation? I know they're weak & venal & many are corrupt, but they're also short-sighted.

You help the people, you carry the day.


Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, did anyone ever run the numbers on so-called welfare queens in '94?

Anonymous said...


StringonaStick said...

And our feckless democrats in the senate just took letting the Bush tax cuts expire for ANY group off the table, to be dealt with AFTER the midterm election. Smart more, that. Argh.

Megan and her fellow propagandists have just made the next intellectual leap: with limited energy resources it is no longer a matter of continually expanding the economy and therefore the fortunes of those below the riches classes; now we are edging into the phase where it truly is a zero sum game and they frankly need to be rid of the less productive of us in order to keep rolling in pink salt. I read this today, and it hit me like a large rock:

Larkspur said...

Oh, my. Yes, capitalists need people to buy stuff. But now there are too many people who used to be dependably spendy, spendy, spendy, but now they aren't. Like that Patricia Reid person, who lost her job at Boeing and instead of heading straight to WalMart for a greeter position, took trips to Turkey and Thailand and now it's four years later and she can't find a job. What's worse, her story got printed up in the NYTimes as a hit piece wrapped in a faux sympathetic wrapper, accompanied by the most unflattering photo ever, to maximize the always-amusing Taunting possibilities.

So she could die. (Me too, for slightly different reasons, but it comes down to the fact that I am not spendy enough to justify my existence.) You take out a bunch of late middle-aged losers, along with the permanently useless, like heroin addicts and career criminals of the blue- or no-collar type, and there you have them: DEAD. But as Scully and Mulder once wisely observed, nothing disappears without a trace.

The trace-tastic upside? The shovel industry skyrockets. Super-efficient "green" crematoria flourish. The permanent underclass can be bullied into wielding shovels, and everyone else who isn't rich can be employed in sorting through the estates of the deceased (my sorting would take ten minutes and a blowtorch), repurposing their belongings, parceling out their dwellings at low low prices (after working class people fix the maintenance-deferred properties), and entering data for reasons which may be unclear, but hey, it's a job.

So then, yes, you have fewer people to buy stuff, but the survivors will have some sort of income that they can be bullied into spending, and god knows they will need to spend some of it on pharmaceuticals, because that shoveling is hard work.

The whole thing could be transformed into a sort of regional theme park experience. Wealthy people from other countries can get spendy while touring our land, and any post-indigenous person who doesn't want to shovel can dress up in authentic costumes and serve them overpriced refreshments while speaking in quaint vernacular.

See? Fewer people, but spendier people.