Sunday, December 12, 2010
Cartoonist Adam Zyglis of the Buffalo News refers above to the fact that the U.S. students lag behind in math among industrialized countries. He depicts one failing math student, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who sees no disconnect between reducing the deficit and adding billions through continuing the Bush tax cuts–most wastefully by extending them to the rich. In fact, McConnell cannot conceive of the fact that tax cuts are paid for and add to the deficit. He's joined by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) who also "disagree[s] with the premise" that we must pay for tax cuts.
The Republicans are playing a neat trick, seeking to make the Bush tax cuts permanent while posing as deficit hawks. Paul Krugman correctly points out that there are no deficit hawks in Congress–and that those who claim the title do so for purely ideological reasons:
It’s a point barely worth making, but the tax cut deal demonstrates, for the umpteenth time, that self-proclaimed deficit hawks are frauds. We can’t afford unemployment benefits or public investment, the fake hawks say — but when it come to cutting taxes on the rich, money is literally no object.
It’s just possible, as Atrios says, that some journalists don’t understand this; if you do up-close-and-personal reporting, judging politicians by what they say and how they come across rather than by the content of their proposals, you might actually be snookered. But again: none of the people who claim about the deficit actually view it as anything more than a stick with which to beat down progressive ideas.