My old friend Tom at Mirror Of Justice
is at it again. In a discussion of how Democrats should best fight for the "common good" (by, as far as I can tell, getting rid of all that excess freedom we have), he takes writer Michael Tomasky to task for claiming Republicans are "all about" trashing "the common good."
So far, so good. Republicans believe just as passionately in the common good as Democrats, they just want to achieve it in a different way. Tom gets this--for half a sentence. Then he can't help himself and trashes them. Here's his list of things Republicans support that he believes are against the public good in a way that "seems undeniable":
lobbying corruption and rubber-stamping of business lobbies, creation of a Medicare prescription program that boosts the deficit by deferring to drug company pricing, leaving the compassionate conservatism programs underfunded while emphasizing high-income tax cuts, etc.
Let's take 'em one by one.
"--I wasn't aware this was specifically Republican. In any case, it's not an official program (of either party), so it's a weird thing to put in a list that I thought was gonna be policies the Republicans support that hurt the "common good."
"Rubber-stamping of business lobbies
"--I can name a lot of people in business who don't feel the government is rubber-stamping what they want. Anyway, the accusation is a bit general, so let me respond generally--there is too much regulation of business, so listening to businesses and sometimes passing laws that please them (and their lobbyists) by lightening the heavy hand of government is, in general, a good thing.
"Creation of a Medicare prescription program that boosts the deficit by deferring to drug company pricing
"--you had me, then you lost me. I was all ready to agree that this gargantuan new government program (wasn't it supported by Democrats?--it must have been) wasn't good for us. But then the complaint, believe it or not, is that they're actually going to pay pharmaceutical companies reasonable prices. The program is bad enough--screwing over the drug companies by officially underpaying them only makes it worse. Punishing innovation that improves our health--that isn't for the common good.
"Leaving the compassionate conservatism programs underfunded while emphasizing high-income tax cuts
"-- I wasn't aware our Republican-led government was underfunding any programs, compassionately conservative or otherwise--the problem is they're spending too much on almost everything.
As to the separate issue of high-income tax cuts, let's unpack it a bit. Cutting taxes is good for the economy. I suppose there can come a point where taxes aren't high enough, but let's not talk about fairy tales. Now the Bush tax cuts gave a higher percentage back to the lower brackets, but the well off (a group that mostly feels, and mostly is, middle class) were allowed to keep the most money because they're the ones paying almost all the federal income tax. The top 1% of earners pay over a third, the top 5% pay over half, the top quarter pay over 80%, the top half pay over 95%. (For comparison, the top 1% earn under 17% of all income, the top 5% earn a bit over 30%, the top quarter earn around 65% and the top half earn a bit over 85%.)
And what has been the result? The economy has been growing solidly for the past few years, unemployment is low, and the government is receiving higher revenues than ever. I think the tax cuts helped, and stopping them would hurt society at large.
What's "seems undeniable" to me is Tom needs a broader outlook.Columbus Guy says:
I'm always proud of my liberal friends when they see a program that is "underfunded." It shows that at least they recognize the concept of "scarcity." It's the only time that they appear to have any economic knowledge at all. But hey, that's just numbers. Let's get back to the important stuff, like social justice.