Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Doofus Dissent of the Day

A Sullivan reader illustrates perfectly what's wrong with "true conservatism" today. Money quote from the reader:
The brazen abuse of a crisis to pursue an ideological agenda instead of resolving the deep fiscal crisis faced by this government is what has caused the severe reaction against Obama. You should be ashamed of yourself for not screaming STOP to this madness.

Oh, you mean the deep fiscal crisis inherited by Obama, but brought about by an utter lack of appreciation for sensible government regulation in the financial sector at the hands of the Bush administration? And, of course, you couldn't be talking about how Bush and Cheney used the crisis of a terrorist attack on American soil, at the hands of Islamist extremists operating in Afghanistan and financed by Saudis, to implement regime change in Iraq, to perform wholesale sweeps of any swarthy male under 30 only to torture hundreds to death in exchange for no material intelligence, to conduct unprecedented searches of private citizens without warrant, and to proclaim that the president is a proto-fascist dictator who can decide for himself when he and all he commands is above the rule of law, could you?

Sullivan's retort:
It is as if the right has become so ideologically calcified they cannot see what is in front of their noses. And so they concoct a fantasy world in which Obama is the leftist spender - rather than what he is, a pragmatic reformer in a desperate situation caused in part by conservatism's ideological over-reach.

Look, the fact is very simple: you cannot cut your way to balance a $1.3 trillion budget deficit when defense and Medicare, the budget's two most sacrosanct elements, are off limits. When we were at war in WWII, FDR and the government got buy-in from all Americans to cut back on essentials and buy war bonds. In other words, they financed the war from taxpayers. Since income taxes were in infancy at the time and since they are now too high as it is, it makes sense to borrow to finance our shortfall at this time. But, as Barlett repeatedly says, at some point we'll have to raise revenue, and the most conservative way to do that is a Value-Added Tax (VAT). Funny that the biggest objections to a VAT are being voiced by Republicans.

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