Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Palin No Idiot

The video played on Countdown last night had Sarah Palin contending (transcript, here)

To reduce deficit spending and our enormous debt, you rein in spending. You cut the budget. You don‘t take more from the private sector and grow government with it. And that‘s exactly what Obama has in mind with this expiration of Bush tax cuts, proposal of his.

To that, Keith Olberman responded

This expiration of Bush tax cuts proposal of his.
That woman is an idiot.

The temptation to dismiss The Quitter is nearly irresisible, but wrong.
At one time, as late as the presidential campaign, then-Governor Palin probably was somewhat uninformed, manifested in an inability to name one newspaper she normally read. Now, very likely, the GOP's former V.P. nominee is not unlike Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who dishonestly claimed

There's no evidence whatsoever that the Bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. They increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. So I think what Senator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.

Bob Somerby observes

People! Mitch McConnell does not believe that Bush’s tax cuts increased revenues! The chance that McConnell thinks any such thing is vanishingly small. We know he doesn’t believe this dumbest idea for a perfectly obvious reason: McConnell isn’t “economically illiterate.” Neither are the other big players in his party’s caucus.

McConnell was there all through Campaign 2000, as Candidate Bush repeatedly said that his tax cuts would reduce future revenue (by $1.3 trillion over ten years). He understands where that number came from. He doesn’t think that a miracle then occurred—that Bush’s definitive statement about his own tax plan turned out to be crazily wrong.

No. He doesn’t believe that.

Republican pols almost never state the world’s dumbest idea; they leave that task to Hannity. And yes, McConnell’s recent claim is the dumbest idea in the world. When we lower tax rates, we get higher revenues? No major politician thinks that.

And neither does Palin believe "this expiration of Bush tax cuts" is a "proposal of his" (Obama). Ezra Klein (who coincidentally was Olberman's next guest and who, Somerby observed, in an earlier post naively assumed McConnell was sincere) explains

Budget reconciliation had never been used to increase the deficit. In fact, it specifically existed to decrease the deficit. That's why one of its rules was that you couldn't use it to increase the deficit outside the budget window. Republicans realized they could take that very literally: The budget window was 10 years. So if the tax cuts expired after 10 years, they wouldn't increase the deficit outside the budget window. They'd also have the added benefit of appearing less costly in the Congressional Budget Office's estimates, as the CBO duly scored them as expiring after 10 years, which kept the long-range budget picture from exploding.

But the plan was never to have the tax cuts expire. Instead, the idea was that people would get used to the new tax rates, and no future Congress would want to allow a big tax increase, so when the time came, either Republicans in office would extend the cuts or Republicans in the minority would hammer Democrats until they extended them. And that's where we are now: Democrats control the government, so Republicans are screaming about tax increases as a way to get Democrats to extend tax cuts.

Palin is no "idiot," unaware that a GOP-controlled government worked the system by establishing tax cuts which, due to expire in 10 years, made it appear that it was fiscally responsible. Most of her supporters don't know this and if they did, most of them wouldn't care. That is in part what makes them Palin supporters.

Backfire- it's part and parcel of the conservative Republican mind. They have their preconceptions, which fit their values. They are often misinformed but, even when given accurate information, aren't likely to change their minds. It is fertile ground to plow for a demagogue like Sarah Palin.

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