Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tossing Words Around

Mediaite's Jon Bershad is right:     "While it’s only natural for words to change meanings over time, I hate it when people try to force new definitions for their own selfish gain."

Bershad notes that Mitt Romney has accused Rick Santorum of being, at least on economic issues, insufficiently conservative (insert joke here: _____________) , "thus signaling that he would like to change the definition of conservative from meaning a bunch of stuff that Santorum clearly is, to meaning 'super awesome dude.'"

And you may have thought calling a president who has cut the income tax bill for roughly 90% of American families a "socialist" was a little silly or reckless.       But along comes the voice of the 19th century, Rick Santorum, telling right-wing Republican talks-show host Mark Levin

When Mitt Romney's solution to a healthcare problem is to take over one-sixth of the economy, you can't call yourself a "conservative."        You can call yourself a "socialist," but can't call yourself a "conservative."

Journalist David Cay Johnston has analyzed the economic proposal announced by Mitt Romney last September.      He finds some of it commendable and notes that the frontrunner's income tax scheme would cut income taxes for the former governor far less than would that of Newt Gingrich.      Nevertheless, Johnston explained

President George W. Bush cut taxes for almost everyone who paid income taxes. Romney would make the Bush tax cuts permanent. But that’s only a first step.

He would also raise taxes on poor families with children at home and those going to college. Romney does this by reducing benefits from the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit and by ending the American Opportunity tax credit for college education.

Without these tax breaks, the poorest fifth of taxpayers would pay $157 more in taxes in 2015 than under current policy, the Tax Policy Center says in its analysis of Romney’s plan. The second poorest group would pay $82 more, according to the center, whose past work has been praised by Republicans and Democrats alike.

While Romney would make these two groups — the poorest 125 million Americans — pay higher taxes, the top 60 percent all would get tax cuts. The top tenth of one percent would save, on average, $464,000 a year, the Tax Policy Center’s analysis says.

His plan gives one third of his tax cuts to the top tenth of one percent of taxpayers. By comparison, Bush gave this group only one eighth of his cuts.

Romney would also eliminate estate and gift taxes, a policy that I believe would damage the spirit of striving that has served us so well until now, replacing it with a new era of dynastic wealth.

The following graph, borrowed by Johnston from Reuters, illustrates the likely impact:

The word "socialist," Bershad observes, now means simply "a guy I don't like."     In the alternate reality that is the GOP universe, facts are shunned and labels are king.

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