Saturday, November 10, 2012

The great Lord Steyn

Just how racist is the "Obama Phone" video? From Atlantic Wire.
Mark, Marquis of Steyne, Lord of the Powder Closet, on Fox News (via Media Matters):
The U.S. “adopt(ed) the policies that have brought the rest of the western world to ruin. When the takers are able to outvote the makers, you are a nation in steep decline. In this case, it’s one thing to talk about redistribution of wealth but we’re actually redistributing from the future to the present. We are borrowing money that is yet to be earned by generations yet to be born, in order to bribe people with the Obama phones and all the rest right here and now in the present tense. That’s very immoral apart from anything else.
…There’s nothing compassionate and communitarian about saying, as they do in Greece, ‘I got mine and I don’t care if it bankrupts the state.’ Just keep the checks coming until I’m dead. And basically, on Tuesday, we had a U.S. electorate that voted for pretty much the same thing… In the end, you’ll pay for that Obamaphone, either by paying off (each person’s) share of the debt or by total societal collapse.”
That "Just keep the checks coming till I'm dead" got to me, because that's precisely what Romney and Ryan tried to sell the public on the Medicare question: "If you're over 55," they said again and again, "you will get traditional Medicare." Meaning they were going to destroy it only for those 55 and under. It was pretty insulting to seniors, I thought. And no, the U.S. electorate didn't vote for it. I'll get back to that in a moment.

The Obamaphone nonsense, if anything, quite a bit less insulting. Among people who sell their votes, who's more to be respected, the one who sells it for a cell phone in good working order, or the one who sells it for a tax cut that will remain imaginary until he sells his screenplays or strikes the MegaMillions, i.e., forever for virtually all of us, and which you only get under the condition of not needing it? No, Obama did not buy votes with cell phones, but if that's how Republicans see it, shouldn't it be how they see themselves? And as for the one-percenters for whom the tax cut would be real, and hefty, vote-selling is exactly what they are doing.

W. M. Thackeray, The great Lord Steyne, Vanity Fair  (1848), chapter 37.
Reproduced by permission of Garland Publishing, Inc.
"When the takers outvote the makers"—are "takers" the proverbial 47% who don't pay federal income tax (but do pay FICA, state taxes, sales taxes, possibly property tax, etc., etc.)? Because plenty of them vote Republican. If Americans voted according to class interests the Republican vote would be less than 10%, and there would be an invincible majority for a party that doesn't quite exist.

"Borrowing money that is yet to be earned by generations yet to be born." Oh sweet Jesus, our constitution was not founded on the Ten Commandments, nor yet on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but on the establishment of a national debt. There was nothing wrong with having a national debt in 1790 and there is nothing wrong with it now. It will never be paid, nor does it need to be paid. All that must be paid is the interest, which is why we are right to be "refinancing" and borrowing more now, with rates near zero, and need to cut deficits in the not-too-distant future, when rates start going up again.

But we are not borrowing from our unborn descendants; we are investing in them. You can't grow economically if you're poor, unless you have credit. We don't wait to plant fields until we can pay for the seed in cash—we'll never have the cash as long as the fields are fallow: we buy the seed on credit so we can plant in the spring. We don't tell our kids that our being poor means they can't go to college: we tell them we'll have to borrow the money and they'll still have to wait tables or tutor obnoxious children. And in the same way we cannot just tell our kids, as a nation, that they'll have to study fifty to a classroom in prison-like buildings with outdated textbooks and exhausted, underpaid teachers, because otherwise their taxes might go up one day. We want them in a position where they can afford higher taxes. (And it was Europe that adopted the centuries-old American policy in this respect, until Germany pulled back, not on her own account, but on the Greeks and others.)
Diner Waitress. Photo by Boo Ritson (Ritson's technique is to paint subjects before photographing them). From Weird News.

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